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With bee numbers dwindling all around the world, there’s been a lot of attention on bee preservation in recent years…but why are they important? Today, we’re going to answer some of the more common questions about bees in Arizona including why they are important, what types exist in AZ, what they eat, and what you should do if you come across a hive in your yard. There are options when you discover a bee problem, there are bee removal solutions, and beehive relocation options that can be discussed after the hive and bee type are identified.
With over 20,000 species of these flying insects (of which we’re aware), bees are found on every continent except Antarctica. While some are just 2mm long, others can reach up to 40mm and so can be mistaken for wasps and flies. While the most common bees are known for working together as a colony to build complex hives, and make honey, there are plenty of other bees that operate solo.
Arizona is home to many social bees, which is why they sting to protect their colonies. This includes mainly honey bees (sometimes solitary) and Africanized Honey Bees (AHB). In fact, one publication from the University of Arizona showed that up to 90% of all Arizona’s bees are AHBs. Africanized Honey Bees have been known to swarm, in case of a swarm, there are some ways that you can deal with them safely. In addition to honey bees, there are also yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets.
Although numerous birds and insects pollinate our food crops, bees play the largest role in this process and, without them, we wouldn’t have one-third of all the food we consume on a daily basis. Many foods require pollination including sunflowers (for oil), asparagus, cherries, broccoli, melons, and even almonds. However, it isn’t just food for our population because they pollinate alfalfa and clover (which is then fed to cattle) in addition to flax and cotton. Of course, we also skim their honey deposits and make use of beeswax for beauty and cleaning products.
In order to produce the honey we collect, bees need to consume nectar and pollen from flowers which is why they tend to gather in gardens that offer the best chance of receiving these two substances. For bees, pollen contains everything they need such as protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, enzymes, and sugar. Most of us have also witnessed bees landing on and eating meats, although this is not part of their daily diet, they will consume meat if it’s available.
While bees thrive in wild areas with an abundance of flowers, they can also live in domesticated environments. The aim for a colony of bees is to choose a spot that keeps them close to food and far away from predators. Normally, this means settling under the edges of certain objects or in the cavities of trees. Bees will nest in trees, under bridges, gutters, and attic spaces.
Having your home properly sealed to prevent bee colonies from migrating into a crawl space or attic will prevent them from making a home inside your home. Nests can be found just about anywhere on a property, under decks, in trees, interior walls, overhangs, and among clutter and accumulated junk in the yard.
If you notice a nest it’s best to contact a bee control specialist immediately, however, if you feel you need to take a closer look to try and identify the species yourself you can follow this guide on how to approach a nest safely to avoid being stung.
For the majority of cases, bee stings are noticeable as they occur and a mild reaction would include pain around the sting site, a red appearance, and slight swelling. Depending on one’s allergies, or how many times one has been stung, reactions can be more serious with extreme redness, large swelling, breathing difficulties, swelling of the tongue/throat, and even dizziness. Fortunately, bees only really sting in self-defense and, for those without allergies, a sting will only cause discomfort.
Some signs that you have been stung by a bee include the following:
Those allergic to bee stings, you will want to seek medical attention immediately.
Some signs that you may be allergic to a bee sting include the following:
If you or a loved one has a serious reaction to the bee sting, medical assistance is recommended because it could be anaphylaxis; action is required to reduce the allergic response and aid breathing. If an auto-injector is available because the person has known allergies, make sure they’re lying down with their legs elevated before injecting into the thigh.
For a simple bee sting, make sure the stinger is removed before applying ice to provide relief. To prevent itching/swelling, antihistamines can be useful while also washing the sting site. Most insect stings require no medical assistance and will heal in due time.
Although it sounds obvious, the biggest sign of nesting bees would be a large population of the insects around your home. They might start to come inside or they may stay outside, but they never really vacate the premises. If left alone, bees are generally harmless but action will be required if they get aggressive defending the colony or if you’re worried about children/pets.
There we have it, an ultimate guide to bees. Despite common belief, they generally like to keep themselves to themselves and pollinate our crops so we can eat healthily and enjoy the fruits of their labor! Honey has many health benefits and it’s a natural sweetener. Honey is one of my favorite things to eat, watch the video below to learn more about honey bees and how they make the honey we eat.
Beehives can be extremely dangerous, do not try to remove a beehive yourself. During Killer bee season it’s extremely important that you remain cautious and aware of bee swarms, they can become very aggressive around their hives. If you stumble across a hive on your property, safely return indoors and call us immediately. These bees are important to our environment, so a hive relocation effort should be considered before anything else. Having a professional come out to your property to identify the type of bees that have infested the property is the first step in the removal process. The sooner we can identify the bee species, the sooner we can relocate the hive and your property can return to a safe environment for you and your family. Never try to move the hive yourself, agitating the bees could create an aggressive environment that is harmful to you and your family.
During the removal process, one of the key aspects to properly relocating the colony is to remove the queen bee from the hive. The bees of the colony will continue to return if the queen is still located inside the hive. For agricultural reasons, the hive will need to be removed and relocated strategically to prevent the collapse of the colony. If relocation is not an option, treatments will be applied to the hive that will work to kill off the bees and allow for your bee control specialist to properly dispose of the threat.
Call Green Home Pest Control today to learn more about our bee control solutions.
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