Bee Facts | Bee Control | Bee Removal

by 1300PestControl on February 3, 2019

Pest experts on call 1300 737 826

Bee Facts | Bees Information

Insecta Order Hymenoptera

What do Bees Look Like?

Bees belong to the same group as ants and wasps, all of which have a narrow constriction between their thorax and abdomen giving them a distinct “waist”.  Bees have a dense covering of branched hairs on their stout bodies, giving them a unique furry appearance.

 

Bees have chewing mandibles to help them break out of their cocoons, manipulate pollen and construct the nest.  They also have a long tongue to lap up nectar from flowers.  Bees have large compound eyes and highly sensitive antennae to assist in locating flowers.

 

Their hind legs are covered in modified stiff hairs forming a storage area known as a pollen basket.  The bright yellow blobs of pollen can be seen on their back legs as bees hover over flowers.

 

There are over 1500 species of native bees in Australia, as well as many species that have been introduced from other countries.  The one we are most familiar with are Honey Bees (Honeybee) , Apis mellifera. This introduced bee is around 14 millimeters in length, with a hairy brown and orange body.

 

Australia also has native stingless bees known as Trigona.  These tiny black bees nest in hollow trees and logs and as the name suggests, they do not possess a stinger.

 

How do Bees Breed? The Bee Colony

Honey bees are social insects and live in enormous bee hives or bee colonies.  These nests consist of sterile female worker bees, a reproductive queen and male drones.

 

After mating with a drone, the queen bee deposits a single egg into each wax cell within the comb.  The queen can lay fertilised eggs which will grow into female workers or unfertilised eggs which will develop into drones.  The hatching bee larvae are pale, blind and legless, relying entirely on their sisters to feed and care for them.  After several moults the larva spins a cocoon and is sealed in the cell by the nurse bees.  After 12-14 days the adult bee will emerge.

 

Worker bees make up the majority of the colony and a single hive may contain up to 80, 000 workers.  They perform almost all of the work in the hive, from collecting nectar and pollen, to feeding and caring for the queen and the young brood, as well as constructing and defending the hive.

 

Bee Hives and Bee Habitats

The honeybee is not native to Australia.  It originates from India and South East Asia and over the years has been domesticated and introduced throughout the world.  Honeybees were located to Australia from English bee colonies during the early 1800’s.

 

Most of the honey bees you see are from managed hives.  However, some bees will escape and form wild colonies in tree hollows, caves, wall cavities, roof voids and other dark cavities.

 

What do Bees Eat?

Adult bees feed on nectar they collect from flowers with their long tongues.  Bee larvae are initially fed royal jelly – a special paste made within the worker bee’s head.  They are then given “bee bread”, a protein-based mixture of pollen and honey.

 

Are Bees Dangerous?

The beneficial roles bees play in our environment far out weigh their status as a pest. Through their foraging behaviour bees facilitate pollination, a process that enables plants to produce fruiting bodies and seeds.  Bees pollinate a variety of economically important fruit and vegetable crops.  In addition to this, they produce honey, wax and honeycomb, making the humble bee a key player in multi-billion dollar industries.

Most Pest Controllers don’t like to kill off a Bee Hive.  Native Bees are protected and many are stingless and the Honey Bee is an important part of our ecology. When bees have decided to nest in a public place such as a Shopping Centre, School or Child Care yard then a Pest Controller or a Bee Catcher will need to be called.

Bees Swarming?

Bees can become dangerous in the warmer months when they swarm, leaving their overcrowded hive to find a new nesting location.  During this time bees can be spotted resting on shrubs and trees, while they wait for scouts to map out the journey to their new nesting site.

 

Unfortunately bees can build nests in trees close to our house and worse still in the wall cavities and ceiling voids within our homes.  Not only does this present the risk of being stung, but the honey-filled wax walls of a hive will attract pests such as carpet beetles, wax moths, meal moths and other scavenging insects such as cockroaches.

 

Bee Stings – The Facts About Bee Stings & How to Treat a Bee Sting

 

When stung by a bee it is important to REMOVE THE STINGER TO STOP THE VENOM FROM ENTERING YOUR BODY.

 

  • If you get stung by a bee, MOVE AWAY FROM THE AREA WHERE YOU WERE STUNG. When a bee’s stinger detaches an alarm pheromone is released, alerting any other bees in the area to come and attack as well.

 

  • DON’T grab the end of the stinger, DON’T use tweezers, DON’T squeeze the point of contact to dislodge the stinger. The stinger is attached to a venom sack and these methods will only cause the venom to enter your system.

 

  • DO try to SCRAPE THE STING AWAY. Use whatever you have handy such as a credit card, a flat knife, spatula or even your fingernail. The object is to use a scrapping or scratching motion over the sting from one side to another without pressing in on the sting itself.

 

  • APPLYING soap and water to the area and/or a topical antiseptic will reduce any chances of the wound becoming infected.

 

  • APPLYING Ice and/ or Numbing topical cream will also assist in reducing the pain that temporarily results from the Bee Sting.

 

  • Most bee stings will result in moderate pain, an itchy red lump and some localised swelling.  However if you are stung multiple times or if you are allergic to stings, the result can be life-threatening. ALLERGIC REACTIONS to bee stings may cause dizziness, shock, nausea, vomiting, loss of blood pressure and severe swelling – which can impede swallowing and breathing.  If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical assistance.
  • Bees never bite people – biting is something you do with your mouth, for example a mosquito sucking your blood.  Bees sting you with a pointed needle at the end of their abdomen.
  • In general bees are quite docile and will only sting us if we accidentally stand on or bump into one.
  • Only female bees sting – the stinger is made from a modified ovipositor, a specialised tube typically used for laying eggs.  This is bad news though, as almost all members of a bee colony are female!
  • Bees can only sting you once – the tip of their stinger is barbed, lodging in your flesh.  When the bee tries to fly away the stinger detaches, taking a sizeable chunk of the bee’s body along with it, resulting in death.
  • The stinger of a bee is a remarkable structure.  The stinger remains in your flesh and begins to pump via a series of muscles.  This will draw venom from the glands where it is stored and pump it into your skin.  The pumping action also drives the stinger further into your flesh, making it harder to dislodge.

 

BeePrevention

It can be quite difficult to prevent a bee swarm from entering your property, especially if you are in an area where hives may already be located.  If you do see bees swarming in your yard, the best idea is to keep your family and pets indoors until they move on, which usually happens within a few hours.

 

You can also discourage bees from nesting around your home by:

 

  • Sealing up access points to your roof void and wall cavities where bees may enter.
  • If you have a hive removed, clear out any remaining wax and comb.  It has a strong smell which can attract more bees into the area.
  • Eliminate clover from your lawn – the flowers attract bees which we can step on, resulting in a sting.
  • Consider the kinds of flowers that you plant in your garden – certain types are less attractive to bees.  Ask your local nursery for advice.
  • Bees collect water and carry it back to their hive to help keep it cool.  Eliminate any water sources around your yard to discourage thirsty bees.

 

Bee Removal – Bee Control

1300 Pest Control treatments are environmentally friendly, child and animal safe and can be specifically tailored to suit your needs.

Bees in Wall Cavities: Bees in Roof:

When a problem hive needs to be eliminated, a fast knockdown, professional pest control treatment may need to be used.  Generally we are only called for Bee Colony Removal if Bees have nested in-between wall cavities and in roof voids or where the situation could be a concern for public health such as in school buildings and other public places.

This will kill the bees quickly and efficiently, removing any risk to your family and pets.  We can also assess a situation and liase with bee catchers & bee keepers where possible, particularly when it comes to Australian Native Bees. In any case it is best to consult with a professional first, a Pest Controller or Beekeeper instead of trying to deal with a hive removal yourself.

 

Interesting Fact on Bees

Honeybees are often preyed upon by hornets.  Rather than wasting their stings, one species of honeybee will “microwave” their wasp enemies.  Working as a team, hundreds of bees will grasp the hornet and smother it with their bodies, forming a huge buzzing ball.  Their body movements quickly generate a lot of heat – up to 47 degrees!  But while honeybees can withstand these high temperatures, hornets can’t and will quickly die.

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