The Bee Identification Guide

bee on flowerThere are 20,000 different species of bees in the world, but they all have some similar characteristics. They live in colonies that contain the queen bee, the drone, and the worker bee. A worker bee and a queen bee are female, but only the queen bee can reproduce while worker bees collect nectar and clean the hive. The drone’s job is to mate with the queen. All in all, each bee has differences in its behavior and appearance that are both extreme and slight. Here are the three main species of bees we deal with in our area and tips on how to identify each one.

Carpenter Bees

These large bees are distributed worldwide and they alone count 500 species. Their name is common because nearly all species build their nests in dead wood structures. They are usually categorized in two species, within the United States: large and small carpenter bees. These insects can be black, metallic blue, greenish black, or purplish blue in color, but males usually have yellow sections of the face. These bees don’t eat wood, rather they excavate dry and unpainted wooden objects.

Carpenter bees go through four life stages, including egg, larval, pupal, and adult. They feed on nectar and pollen and can overwinter in their nest and emerge again in the spring. They make nests by tunneling into the wood and each nest has only one entrance. Male carpenter bees can’t sting, only females sting, but usually in self-defense or when someone is trying to provoke her.

Bumble Bees

Bumble bees are large and very hairy insects that are black and yellow in color, or in some species red or orange. They have a large structure on their hind leg know as a pollen basket. The usual location for their nest is below ground or on the ground under piles of wood and leaves.

These bees also go through four life stages, just like carpenter bees. A fertile queen starts a new nest in the early spring. Their colonies are not that large and are growing to as few as 50 individuals. Unlike hornets, bumble bees are not overly aggressive and they sting only if their nest is disturbed.

Honey Bees

A honey bee is distinguished from her other relatives by the production of honey and the construction of impressive large nests from wax. They are usually around 15 mm long and light brown or golden-yellow in color. Honey bees are oval-shaped creatures and they can be easily recognized due to the light and dark stripes.

Honey bees are social and they live in colonies numbering in the thousands. Their hive is made from wax, which workers mold and use in making cells for the hive. Their nests are often located in holes of trees and on rock crevices. They feed on nectar and pollen. A honey bee is able to sting a human or a predator, but it only uses it stinger as a form of defense of themselves and their colony.

Proudly serving the greater Chicagoland area in Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, the professional exterminators at Aerex Pest Control understand the habits of the different species of bees and use that knowledge when developing a bee control program that is best suited to your home and your particular problem. Our technicians are professional, state certified, licensed applicators. Call today for your free consultation 847-255-8888 or click here for a free quick quote.

Now hiring experienced, licensed, pest control technicians! To apply, please call 847-255-8888.