What Do Bees Look Like?
Found globally, bees are winged insects of the order Hymenoptera, super-family Apoidea. There are more than 20,000 recorded bee species. Megachile pluto, the largest of these creatures, is reported to be 3.9 cm long, while Perdita minima, the most diminutive of bees, are shorter than 2 mm long. Bees can be black or brown with red, yellow or lustrous blue stripes.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
While some bees are solitary, species such as honey bees and bumble bees are tremendously social. Bee colonies are comprised of three castes: the queen bee, infertile female worker bees and male drones. The queen mates and lays eggs for the span of her life. Honey bee queens can live up to five years, though most average a lifespan of two to three years. Male drones exist solely to fertilize the queen and die soon after having fulfilled their task. Female worker bees perform a multitude of tasks necessary to the survival of the hive. As a result of their constant laboring, their average life span is usually a mere six weeks.
All bees are hairy, a crucial trait for pollen collection. Flowers and flourishing vegetation often attract bees, and there is no insect as important as the bee when it comes to pollination. Many female bee species have rows of bristles on their hind legs which form a hollow basket. When the bee lands on a flower, pollen grains are combed into the hollow basket and bristles. Cross-pollination occurs when the displaced grains of pollen are distributed to the fertile pistils of other flowers as the bee alights upon them. Although only females are able to transfer pollen, all bees are able to sip the nectar from flowers using a tonguelike organ. This nectar is their primary source of energy. Pollen is sustenance for both adult and larval bees, as it contains protein and other nutrients necessary to their survival. Bees possess an organ that converts nectar into honey, which is collected, depending on the species, inside the hive or bee colony.
SIGNS OF A CARPENTER BEE INFESTATION
Carpenter bee infestations are easily identified by the presence of their entrance holes in wood, the presence of sawdust on the ground under where the hole is drilled, the presence of a yellowish combination of pollen and bee excrement near the entrance hole and their bothersome flight activity, especially by the males who are protective of their territory, but do not sting.
The most well-documented and encountered bee swarms are those of honey bees. Typically, honey bee swarms are not a major threat, unless when dealing with Africanized honey bees. The bees do not have a nest or young and, therefore, are less defensive. However, they will sting if provoked.
Bee swarming typically occurs in colonies that are thriving and with robust populations. Weak colonies of bees may not swarm until they become stronger and larger in population. Bee colonies may become weak due to starvation, disease or failing queens. Several factors can contribute to the occurrence of a swarm, such as seasonal changes and overcrowding.
While bees can benefit the environment in many ways, it is inconvenient and possibly dangerous to let a bee hive thrive near your home.