Many people think that if they fly and sting, then they are “bees” and can all be handled in the same manor. While bees and Honeybees do fly and sting, they behave very differently from wasps and yellow jackets and are treated in very different ways. Here are the top five reasons why honeybees should be respected and treated differently than wasps, yellow jackets, and other stinging, flying insects nesting on your home:
- Winter Survivors: Unlike the colonies of yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets who’s queens are the only to survive the cold winter months, honeybee colonies can stay fairly active throughout the entire year by bundling together and keeping constant motion to create the necessary heat to survive (81° F). New generations can even be bred during this during time, feeding off of the stored honey and pollen from the warm season. This ability to survive through the winter results in large populations right at the start of Summer.
- Vanishing Act: Around late May and early July, the bee and wasp season kicks off. At this time of year honeybees start looking for new places to nest. Because they are able to survive throughout the winter by huddling and shivering to keep warm, large amounts of honeybees will fly in packs in search of a new location. This can surprise many home owners who are led to believe that nesting has already begun. But just as quickly as they come, they disappear. Honeybees prefer to nest in natural settings, and if specific conditions are not met, they will continue on to new locations. Many times this can still be dangerous for people living nearby, and they should seek out the professional help of a licensed pest technician to encourage their departure.
- Power in Numbers: Honeybee colonies can reach much a much higher population size than wasps or yellow jackets. Wasp colonies typically reach a maximum size of 500-1,000 and yellow jackets a range of 5,000-10,000, but honeybee colonies far outgrow both by reaching sizes of 10,000-20,000 workers. This difference in colony size can make treatment of honeybee colonies a much more difficult and time consuming process. Many times colonies need to be treated two or even three times before complete eradication is reached.
- Honeys Not Always Sweet: While many people enjoy the sweet nectar produced by the honeybees, honey can have a devastating effect on the homes these honeybees nest on. Honey dripping inside a wall can rot out building materials, retain the moisture needed for mold to grow, and attract other pests to the affected area. This destruction by honey can cause big headaches and financial strains to home owners dealing with honeybee nests on their properties.
- Second Generation Royalty: While most bee and wasp colonies create queen bees from the start, honeybees have the unique ability to transform a regular worker bee into a queen. While all honeybee workers are female, only a select few are born with the ability to reproduce. If the only queen in the colony is killed, the workers will continuously feed a larva what is called “royal honey” throughout its development, giving it the ability to fertilize. This can greatly prolong the life of a honeybee colony which can reach upwards of 5 years old. A honeybee nest left to grow for multiple years will greatly increase the cost and time involved in eradicating it, while wasp and yellow jacket queens abandon their nests even when intact.
While vital to nature, honeybees can cause a dangerous environment to humans when they nest in residential settings. Consult with your local EnviroPest pest technician before attempting to self-treat any insect nest on your home. The wrong treatment can prove to be ineffective or make a docile situation turn dangerous in seconds.