DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEES AND HOW TO TELL THEM APART

04/20/2015

The different types of bees around your home matter. Why? Because some species of bees present stinging dangers while others can cause damage to your property. It’s important for pest management professionals to determine which species of bee you are dealing with in order to provide the most effective bee control methods. Here’s a simple checklist with information compiled from the Department of Entomology at Ohio State University. This will help you learn the differences between the most common bee types that might be nesting around your home.

What similarities do all types of bees have?

Every bee has three separate body segments: a head, thorax and abdomen. On the head you will find long antennae, mouth parts used for cutting and multifaceted eyes. Their two sets of wings and six legs attach to the middle segment, the thorax. A stinger is found only on the female bee’s abdomen for most species of bees. No male bees have stingers.

What do honey bees look like?

Honey bees are typically between 0.5 and 0.75 inches in length. They have a brown body (ranging from light to dark) and pale-yellow and black hairs running in circular bands around their barrel-shaped abdomens. Honey bee heads are distinctly shaped like hearts and their eyes are hairy. You can typically find honey bees nesting in hives constructed by humans (for harvesting honey and other pollination benefits) out in the open or in tree hollows and other cavities found in nature.

What do bumble bees look like?

Bumble bees vary in length from 0.3 inches to 0.9 inches, though queen bumble bees can grow up to 1.2 inches. Bumble bees look fuzzy since their banded black and yellow hairs completely cover their burly, black bodies. Other distinct features of this extremely social bee include a long face that is narrower than the thorax, pollen baskets on the hind legs and the ability to sting multiple times, unlike the honey bee which dies after just one sting. Look for underground nesting colonies, especially in old rodent burrows.

What do mason bees look like?

Another bee with two forms, the mason bee can have a pale-haired black body or less hair with a metallic, dull blue-green hue. The hairs under the abdomen on both variations of the mason bee carry pollen, and both are rather burly, measuring between 0.3 and 0.4 inches in length. Mason bees have a head that is the same width as their thorax and are solitary bees that nest above ground in groups. They prefer holes that are already dug out, which they then line with mud.

What do squash bees look like?

One of the more distinct bee types, the squash bee appears to have a nose that protrudes from its face. Its brown body is densely covered in light hair, which is banded on the abdomen. True to its name, you can find this 0.4 to 0.5 inch-long bee nesting in the ground around pumpkins and squash, which are the only two plants it gathers pollen from.

What about other different types of bees?

The fact is, there are simply too many different bee species to list. Depending on where you live, the bees in your area might be species like the mining bee, which looks like it carries pollen underneath its armpits, or the long-horned bee, which is distinguished by its abnormally long antennae. You might not even be dealing with bees, but rather wasps or hornets.

No matter what kinds of bees (or any flying insects, for that matter) are around your home and family, you don’t want them there if they present a danger. Call Terminix® for a free pest evaluation and a Service Technician will help you determine what types of bees you’re dealing with and figure out the best solution to your problem.

 

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