Bee season begins when nature sends a friendly greeting with warmer temperatures and blooming flowers and bushes. After a long winter hibernation, the pollination process begins. Some bees are more active in the spring, preferring abundant flowering plants. Bees play an essential role in pollination and the life cycle of nature on the whole.
Did you know bees hibernate in the winter?
Where do bees go when winter approaches? According to honeybeesuite.com,
A colony of honey bees will live throughout the entire winter, actively keeping the nest warm and safe. Although a winter colony is much smaller than a summer colony, it will nevertheless contain thousands of individuals. They eat and work all winter long—activity which requires a large cache of stored food.
Bumblebees do not maintain colonies throughout the winter. Instead, the last brood of the summer colony will contain a number of queens. Each of these queens will mate and then find a safe nesting place in which to spend the winter. This is usually just a small hole in the ground or another protected spot just big enough for her. Only the queen bumblebees hibernate until spring. The rest of the colony dies.
While the bumblebee queen hibernates, she is neither eating nor working. Her depressed rate of metabolism allows her to live for long periods while burning very little fuel.
What are the most common bees you will see in bee season?
With over 225 species, bumblebees are found all over the world. Bumblebees are larger than honeybees, with fuzzy bodies and wings that defy the laws of flight. A 2005 study by the National Academy of Sciences using high-speed photography discovered that bumblebees flap their wings back and forth instead of up and down!
However, they are vital pollinators. Without them, food wouldn’t grow. While other animals pollinate, bumblebees are particularly good at it. Their wings beat 130 times or more per second, according to the National Wildlife Federation, and the beating combined with their large bodies vibrates flowers until they release pollen, which is called buzz pollination. Buzz pollination helps plants produce more fruit.
Honey bees are excellent pollinators and are generally not aggressive unless you remove the queen from the nest. They produce honey to feed themselves and their tight-knit colony. Honey bees are often confused with bumblebees. Here are some significant differences:
- Bumblebees are chubby and fuzzy. Honeybees are slight and thinner and often mistaken for wasps.
- Honeybees call a hive their home, with thousands in the colony. As their name implies, they make honey!
- Bumblebees live in a nest with a few hundred bees. They produce for self-consumption.
- Honeybees sting once before dying; bumblebees can sting multiple times.
As a homeowner, you may have seen the telltale signs of carpenter bees and not realized what you were looking at. Carpenter bees create perfectly round holes in your deck, railing, or wooden furniture. Carpenter bees are large, shiny, black, and yellow bees. You will find them flying around the outside of your home in search of wood.
These bees live up to their name. Female carpenter bees have strong, sharp teeth. They drill and bore into wood in perfectly symmetrical and tubular holes. Here they will lay their eggs. They do not build nests or hives.
Often confused with bumblebees, carpenter bees have a similar body type but are nowhere near as aggressive as bumblebees. Females can sting if threatened; males have no stinger. The male carpenter bee is most likely the bee buzzing around you, sometimes perilously close to your head and face. They are territorial, and their stings can be painful.
In the U.S., there is a movement underway to protect the bees.
The services bees provide to humans in terms of the beauty of our flowers and landscape and the pollination needed for food are immeasurable. While these bees may be annoying around picnic time, they really won’t bother you. In fact, why don’t you ask them to move in? Build or purchase a bee house! There are many options, peruse the internet. Of course, please keep it away from your outdoor living area, and everyone wins!
It is bee season. Do not attempt to exterminate bees on your own.
When dealing with any bee, the best thing to do is contact a licensed pest control company. Bees are dangerous and can be eliminated safely by a highly skilled pest control technician. Despite being a pest control service, we advocate preserving the pollinators such as honeybees or bumblebees.
Read more about our pest control services here, and contact us if you see any bee activity around your home. Inspections are free, and treating bees regularly keeps you and your family, home, or business safe and healthy. Together we can find a solution to protect both you and your family as well as the bees.