Pest Guide for Honey Bees
Although there are around 20,000 species of bees, honey bees only represent a small fraction of the bees in the world. These bees originated in South and Southeast Asia, but the most common honey bee is the Western honey bee that has been domesticated for its honey production and crop pollination. Honey bees are an important part of the environment and the agricultural world.
Honey bees are around 15 millimeters long and are oval-shaped with golden yellow bodies that feature brown bands. They do have stingers, however, if they use it, they die afterwards. A honey bee’s stinger is barbed, which means once it pierces the skin, it stays in there. Since the stinger is attached to the bee’s abdomen, part of the abdomen will stay with the stinger, ultimately severing the bee and causing it to die. Luckily, honey bees aren’t aggressive and will only sting if they sense a threat.
Honey bees produce and store their honey in nests. Once they collect nectar from flowering plants, they return to the hive and break down the nectar into fructose and glucose. The sugary mixture then goes into a honeycomb cell where the bees beat their wings furiously over the top of it in order to remove moisture and thicken the substance. Once the mixture reaches the right consistency, the honeycomb cell is sealed with beeswax (which can be broken later for consumption).
Wild honey bee hives are often found in the holes of trees or in rock crevices, so if you live or work on a property with a lot of trees or rocks, you may find honey bees. If this is the case, we recommend not trying to address the situation yourself. Not only will you risk getting stung, but many states have a protection policy over honey bees and require a nest relocation.