Types of Bees in Your Yard and How to Prevent Them

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There are 3 major bees that we deal with in the Western New York region. Those are the carpenter bee, the bumblebee, and the honey bee. These are all insects we have come in contact with whether we are aware of it or not. The identification between these pests can be difficult, but knowing the difference can be very important as one does structural damage while the other is very aggressive by nature. 

Characteristics of Carpenter Bees

  • Carpenter bees are large robust insects that look a lot like bumblebees.
  • The adult body length is about ½” to 1”. 
  • The top surface of the carpenter bee's abdomen (back) is shiny and black. If you notice a furry/hairy back, this is the bumblebee and you should maintain caution. They can become very aggressive if agitated or near their nest.
  • Male carpenter bees have a yellow spot on their heads and are aggressive but lack stingers.
  • Female carpenter bees have a black head and tend to the tunnels they have built for their young. The holes chewed are the size of the female bee’s body and can be used for entry and exit by the bees. It is common for the female carpenter bees to chew into the wood on our homes including fascia boards, soffits, decking, and fencing. 
  • The tunnels are usually shallow but can cause extensive damage. Untreated, the bees can and will reuse previously chewed tunnels from past seasons.

Characteristics of Bumblebees

  • Bumblebee nests are made new each spring by solitary queens who hibernate through the winter.
  • The large bumblebees seen in the spring are the queens looking for food and a place to start a new colony. 
  • They normally will nest in the ground and commonly find unused rodent burrowing.  Their nests have also been found in the insulation along the sill plates in basements and crawl spaces. When this is found, it is common to see the bumblebees entering into the ground at the outside of the foundation of the home. 
  • Adult bumblebees are slightly smaller, averaging about 1/2” in length. 
  • Bumblebees are hairy with yellow markings. 

Characteristics of Honeybees

Honeybees are another common bee that we get many calls for.

  • The adult bee is about ½” in length.
  • They have brown-tan coloring with alternating bands along the abdomen. 
  • Bees live on stored honey and pollen all winter, and cluster into a ball to conserve warmth. Larvae are fed from the stores during this season. 
  • Worker honeybees are all females and are the only bees most people ever see. They forage for food and build and protect the hive; among many other societal functions. 
  • Male bees (drones) generally stay in the colony for the spring and summer but are then kicked out for the winter. 
  • This social inset in most cases will be nested in a tree or some other non-threatening area. 
  • Occasionally, the hive of bees will attempt to transfer their queen and create a “swarm”.  These swarms are found in different areas but are commonly seen on a tree limb, rooftop, fence, or deck posts. Rarely, the swarms have been seen actually flying through the air. If you see a swarm, a beekeeper can safely remove it, or often times the swarm will go on its way within 24 hours. 

In an effort to join in the fight against Colony Collapse Disorder, Eco Serve Pest Services does not provide treatment for honey bees. In the event a honey bee nest is located within a wall void, is best to contact a local beekeeper to come out and carefully extract the honey bees to be relocated. Bees are very beneficial to our environment as they provide a majority of the pollination required for plants and crops to thrive. 

Contact Your Local Stinging Insect Control Team

Bees that are found on your flowers and in your gardens are great to have however sometimes these bees can chew through the wood on your home and burrow into your insulation which can pose health risks to you and your family, especially if allergy concerns are involved. If you are seeing damaged wood from carpenter bees or bees congregating around one area of your home, give Eco Serve Pest Services a call at [phone-number] for a free inspection and proper identification of what may be going on. We always offer a free second set of eyes on what is going on at your home and provide options to help reduce or eliminate these concerns.

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