When most people see a bee, they panic and run the other way. However, not all bees are dangerous. Most won't aggressively come after you in attempt to sting, and some species can't even sting! Furthermore, many species of bees are beneficial to the planet and are dwindling in numbers -- so your automatic reaction of killing any bee you see might not be appropriate. To figure out how to respond to some bees nesting on your property or in your home, you should start by figuring out which type of bees you're dealing with. Here are three common types.
Honeybees are the type of bee most people think of first. They are fuzzy, oval-shaped bees with distinct leaves and bold, yellow and black stripes. Honeybees are about a half inch long.
These bees love building nests in the hollows of trees, but they might also build nests in the corner of your porch or along the eave of an outbuilding. Their hives are made from wax and have the classic honeycomb-like structure you probably associate with beehives.
If the bees on your property seem to fit this description of honeybees, you don't have to worry too much. Honeybees are not overly aggressive unless you directly threaten their nest. Their species is ailing, however, so you do not want to spray the nest with insecticides or knock it down. Instead, contact a pest control company or beekeeper in your area. They can come safely remove the nest and relocate the bees to an area where they won't pester anyone.
Bumblebees are bigger than honeybees -- typically about an inch in length. Their wings are dark in color and seem to emerge from the middle of their backs. Bumblebees are yellow and dark brown (or black) and fuzzy, but their coloring occurs in much fatter stripes than that of honeybees.
Bumblebees can be aggressive, especially if their nests are threatened. They will sometimes chase people a considerable distance in an attempt to sting, and their stings cause a great deal of pain. Their nests look like honeycombs, and they might build them in a tree, on the side of your home, or even in a gap in the fence.
If you come across a small bumblebee nest and are able to safely reach it, you can spray some insecticides on it. (Wear long sleeves and pants for protection.) Larger nests should be removed or otherwise dealt with by a professional. Whether the pros remove or eradicate the bees will depend on the regulations in your area and how the bumblebee population in your area is doing.
Also known as carpenter bees, these large bees live solitary lives and build their nests within holes in wooden structures. You may see one going in and out of your fence, porch, deck, or wooden siding. At first glance, carpenter bees look a lot like bumblebees. They're fuzzy and yellow and black, and they have dark wings. However, wood bees have smooth abdomens, whereas bumblebees have fur on all surfaces.
Male wood bees don't sting, and females usually won't sting unless directly handled. Since they tend to live alone, you don't really need to worry about them taking over your space. If the wood the bee is living in is not valuable to you, then you may just want to leave the bee alone. However, if the wooden structure is valuable, you can get rid of the bee by spraying some insecticide in the hole and then plugging the hole with steel wool. There's typically no need for professional service with a wood bee.
To learn more about these types of bees, contact a bee control service such as Agricultural Pest Control Services in your area.