These are social bees that establish small colonies, using many kinds of available cavities. Nests may be in the ground, in hollow logs or trees, in walls or structures, or in other cavities they can find. Nests do not survive the winter months. Colonies grow to a few hundred workers, sometimes more, by the end of the summer. The nest consists of wax “honey pots” that are filled with nectar, and adjacent cells that contain the eggs and larvae. The nest is often lined with grass or other dried plant material. The workers generally are not aggressive unless their colony is threatened.
Identification: Bumblebees can usually be separated from other bees by their large size and densely hairy bodies, as well as by the compound eyes that are not hairy. Coloring is normally black with patches of yellow or orange hairs.
Characteristics Important in Control: These are beneficial bees that normally do not warrant control. However, if their nest is in a sensitive location it can be treated with a residual dust product, and the nest and cells removed and disposed of.
Honeybees are social bees, with colonies composed of a single Queen and many hundreds of workers. New colonies are begun when additional Queens are produced in a colony and all but one leave, each newly fertilized Queen taking a consort of workers with her. Honeybees can sting humans only once, losing their stinger in the process. Honeybee hives remain active year-round, and often will be located within structures. Queens may live as long as 5 years while workers live less than 2 months in the active summer months.
Identification: The workers are about a half inch long and are various shades of brown and black colors, with very dark head, legs, and antennae. They are densely covered with short, pale hairs. The antennae are bent at their middle, or “elbowed”. The mouth is an elongate tongue formed by several parts, and enables the bees to reach into fairly deep flowers to take up the nectar there. .
Characteristics Important in Control: Bee activity may be reduced around eating areas with good sanitation, by keeping food spills cleaned up and keeping trash receptacles closed. Colonies located within walls or other voids may be removed by professional beekeepers if possible. If necessary they may be treated with a dust insecticide to kill the bees, and the hive should then be removed. If the hive is left, future problems will occur from melting wax and honey, as well as the attraction of the materials to ants and carpet beetles.