People usually think of honey when they think of honey bees, but did you know that honey bees are also responsible for around 80% of all plant pollination? Around 1/3 of the human diet comes either directly or indirectly from insect-pollinated plants, thus conservation of honeybees is vital to our way of life. Interaction with bees is a necessary part of human life, so understanding what they are doing will go a long way towards helping us all get along! Below are answers to a few of the questions our clients most often ask about bees.
Where did all these bees come from?
This is a common question during early spring, like right now, or late fall. There are very few available sources of nectar for bees during these times, so their foraging may be ultra-concentrated on the few flowering plants or sometimes even soda cans. Fortunately, foraging bees are rarely a threat, they are simply gathering nectar or pollen to take back to their colony, which could be miles away. If bees are frequent visitors to your garden, use these helpful tips to avoid being stung.
Wear protective clothing when working in your garden and flowerbeds – long-sleeve shirts, gloves, long pants, closed-toed shoes, and hats.
- Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing and using sweet smelling perfumes.
- Do not leave sugary drinks unattended outside.
- Securely close the lid on your trash can, honey bees can be attracted to sugary residues in the container.
When should I worry about bees?
If you notice bees entering or and exiting a hole into your house or other structure, there may be a colony in that structure. Honey bees will aggresively defend their colonies. With as many as 50,000 bees in a colony and Africanized bees in our area (aka Killer Bees), it is best to contact a pest management professional and avoid the area.
Another time to be concerned is if you see a swarm on your property. A swarm is easily noticeable by the large number of bees stuck together in a tight ball. Swarms most often occur in late spring and can be found anywhere from on the ground to in a tree. Bees swarm to establish a new colony when their old colony becomes too large, or the queen’s health or reproductive ability begins to deteriorate. The bees are non aggressive during a swarm, which lasts one to two days until they find a suitable place to build their hive.
You don’t want a swarm to build a hive on your house, so it’s best to contact a pest management professional. Venus Pest Company will usually re-locate swarms if possible. Unfortunately, swarms must sometimes be destroyed.
What if I am attacked by bees?
Although you are more likely to be killed by lightning than by honeybees, knowing what to do if attacked can greately reduce the number of stings.
- Protect your face with your hands, bee stings may cause swelling around your eyes and impede your vision
- Quickly get away from the colony to a safe, enclosed space. This can be inside a house or a vehicle.
- Seek immediate medical attention if:
o You are allergic to bee venom
o You are experiencing difficulty breathing
o You have been stung repeatedly
- Do not wave your hands around. Bees are attracted to motion and will sting you more!
- Do not jump in water. Bees will wait for up to an hour to sting you!
- Do not go near the colony after being stung. Bees tag you with a sting scent and will attack clothes marked with this scent hours or days later.
Remember, if you are unsure of what you are dealing with, always call a professional that has the knowledge and training to keep everybody safe.