Honeybee Identification

Before contacting us please try to determine if you have honeybees or other similar insects.
We can only help with honeybees, not any other insects.

Honeybees

honeybee

  • Color varies but is generally amber to brown alternating with darker stripes; some are mostly black
  • They are furry, with short hair especially over the thorax (the body part that supports the wings)
  • They are gentle, unless hive or queen is threatened. Domesticated bees have been selected over time for gentleness
  • The stinger is barbed so it is pulled out of the bee when it flies away, which will lead to the bee’s death
  • Feeds exclusively on honey made from collected flower nectar, and on pollen
  • They live in large colonies of flat wax-based honeycomb hanging vertically. Most times the colony is in a cavity above ground.

 

Wasps and Other Similar Insects

 

Yellow Jacket

yellowjacket

  • They are black and opaque bright yellow stripes, they appear shiny because they are less furry
  • Yellow Jackets are aggressive, with a smooth stinger that can be used indefinitely
  • Two long legs are visible hanging down during flight. but unlike honeybees have no pollen baskets
  • They eat other insects, overripe fruit, sugary drinks, human food and food waste, particularly meat
  • They live in small umbrella-shaped papery combs hanging horizontally in protected spaces such as attics, eaves or soil cavities

Bumblebee

bumblebee

  • Color is yellow with black stripes, sometimes with red tail
  • They are furry, with long hair, and large (approximately 1 inch in length)
  • Bumblebees are gentle, however they do have a stinger that is smooth and can be used indefinitely
  • They live in small cavities in the ground

 

Paper Wasp

paperwasp

  • They are dusty yellow to dark brown or black, smooth bodied (very little hair)
  • They are gentle but have stingers that can be used indefinitely
  • They eat mostly other insects
  • They live in small umbrella-shaped papery combs hanging horizontally in protected spaces such as attics, eaves or soil cavities

Bald Faced Hornet

baldfacedhornet

  • They are black with ivory white markings, smooth bodied (very little hair)
  • They are aggressive and have stingers that can be used indefinitely
  • They feed mostly on other insects
  • They live in large paper nests shaped like upside-down pears usually hanging from branches or eaves

Signs of a Honeybee Swarm

A new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees, a process called swarming. This swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees. Swarming is mainly a spring phenomenon, usually within a two- or three-week period depending on the locale, but occasional swarms can happen throughout the producing season. Swarming is the natural means of reproduction of honey bee colonies.
A swarm of bees sometimes frightens people, though the bees are usually not aggressive at this stage of their life cycle. This is principally due to the swarming bees’ lack of brood (developing bees) to defend and their interest in finding a new nesting location for their queen. This does not mean that bees from a swarm will not attack if they perceive a threat; however, most bees only attack in response to intrusions against their colony.

Signs of an Established Colony

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Bee Removal

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