Protect Your Home or Business From Bees
The United States offers a variety of regional environments conducive to the survival and development of the pollinating insects, including roughly 4,000 different species of bees. Approximately 400 different bee species are found within the New England region alone. Bees have a major impact on the agricultural economic output of the region, as the insects serve as primary pollinators of local cash crops such as blueberries and cranberries.
While the term “bees” often conjures images of swarming, stinging insects living together in hives and producing honey, the various bee species found in New England actually exhibit a wide range of physical characteristics and behavioral traits. Loosely classified as either solitary or social, bees typically become a problem only when the social species of the insects establish nests in residential areas or other locations where people pass through regularly.
Types of Bees in New England
Of the roughly 400 bee species found in the New England area, many are encountered only locally and/or rarely. Honey bees, bumble bees, carpenter bees, mining bees, and sweat bees all rank among the most common bee types in the region.
While honey bees and bumble bees are social insects that live in colonies of various sizes, carpenter bees prefer to remain solitary. Depending on the particular species, mining bees and sweat bees may inhabit nests either solitary or communally.
In addition to maintaining different living arrangements, common New England bee species vary in appearance. Honey bees primarily feature tan and yellow colors, while bumble bees are slightly larger and rounder with black and yellow stripes.
Carpenter bees strongly resemble bumble bees but with a completely black abdomen. Mining bees are usually black and sometimes boast stripes around the abdomen, while sweat bees sometimes feature a metallic green color but are typically brown or black.
Unlike certain species of wasps, bees rarely display aggression and only sting when provoked. The lack of aggression combined with the ability to pollinate plants makes bees highly productive and valuable members of the natural environment. However, when social varieties of bees build nests on or near houses or other sites close to people, the risk of being stung increases enough to warrant control or removal of the insects.
Insecticides in dust or liquid form often prove effective in managing ground-nesting species, such as bumble bees and mining bees. Other bees, however, sometimes construct nests in trickier places, like in attics, crawlspaces, vents, and walls of houses.
Honey bees in particular require special handling because the entire hive must be removed to ensure the hive will not be re-used/re-built. To mitigate the threat of stinging and eliminate the additional challenges that come with attempted DIY nest removal, residents living in close proximity to social New England bee species should employ the services of an experienced pest control specialist.