A Bee sting is not only irritating and painful but is can also be dangerous and can cause death to those who are allergic. When a bee stings it releases a pheromone the chemically communicates to the remainder of the hive or colony that there is reason to be alerted to a potential danger. That pheromone lets the other bees know where to go to assist in protection of the colony. If an individual or an animal is unfortunate enough to find themselves in a situation like this where there is a large hive or colony close to them, especially an Africanized bee colony they could find themselves getting stung hundreds or thousands of times very quickly. This is an extremely dangerous situation that has been known to kill humans and large animals.
Honeybees can produce a painful sting and usually do so in defense or if one of their nests has been disturbed. However, unlike wasps, hornets, or the increasingly problematic Africanized Honeybee, honeybees do not attack in swarms and are not easily provoked.
Bees will die after they sting, leaving their stinger and venom sacs attached, which continue to release venom until the sac is emptied or the stinger is removed.
A beehive functions as a miniature society; they contain three specialized groups or castes. The castes consist of workers, drones and queens, and each has their own specialized function. There is only one queen per hive, which is the largest bee, and her main function is laying eggs. A hive may contain as many as 40,000 worker bees, which are all sterile females, and tend to be the smallest. The males, or drones, can number up to 2,000, and make up the remainder of the hive.
The queen lays her eggs in a cell in a wax honeycomb, produced and shaped by the workers, which hatch into larvae. The worker bees feed pollen and honey to the newborn larva, which undergo several moltings before spinning a cocoon within the cell and pupating. After 16-24 days a full-grown bee emerges from the cell.
Besides nurturing and feeding the larvae, young worker bees also make wax, build the honeycomb, and clean and guard the hive. They also collect the nectar and pollen, which they store in “pollen baskets”, or cubicula, that grow on their hind legs for this purpose. After this, they begin building comb cells. They progress to other within-colony tasks as they become older, such as receiving nectar and pollen from foragers. Eventually a worker will leave the hive and typically spend the remainder of its life as a forager. Workers tend to have short life spans, usually several weeks, but a queen can live for several years.
Most bee species have historically been cultivated for honey and beeswax by humans; of the two species that have been domesticated, the honeybee has been used for its natural resources since the time of the building of the Egyptian pyramids. Worker bees cooperate to find food and incorporate a pattern of ‘dancing’ (known as the bee dance or waggle dance) to communicate with each other; this dance varies from species to species, but all living species of this unique Florida bug exhibit some form of this behavior.
Honeybees are primarily floral visitors, and pollinate a large variety of plants. Bees are basically the most important pollinators of native plants in Florida. Other insects such as butterflies, moths, beetles, as well as birds, contribute to plant pollination as well, ensuring the reproductive success of native plants. Of all the honeybee species, the aforementioned apis mellifera has been used extensively for commercial pollination of crops and other plants; the value of these pollination services is commonly measured in the billions of dollars.
Africanized honey bees (killer bees) have a variety of colors from yellow to black. They are identical to common honeybees in size and coloration. In fact, the only way to distinguish between the two is through DNA testing or microscopic laboratory analysis.
Africanized honey bees are more aggressive than most bees, hence the name “killer bees.” They attack in larger groups, make less honey, and less wax than Honey bees. They hate high pitched sounds and swarm more often than their European cousins (European Honey bees).
In 1957 twenty-six Africanized honey bee queens escaped from an experimental apiary in Brazil, and since have gradually spread northward into the southern US. They are progressing some 100 to 200 miles per year, and have been found in many locations in Florida. Wild nests are found inside hollow trees and occasionally in caves or cracks in rock formations. In some cases a colony will decide to nest inside an attic, a crawl space, or a wall void in a home.
Africanized honey bees are dangerous because they attack intruders in such large numbers. Since their introduction into Brazil, they have killed some 1,000 humans. They react to disturbances ten times faster than European Honey Bees, and will chase a person a quarter of a mile.
Carpenter bees generally resemble bumble bees in size and color. They are black with some yellow. Most carpenter bees have yellow hairs on their thorax, but their abdomens are all black and shiny with few hairs. There are two small species and two large species found in Florida. Females do have the ability to sting.
Carpenter bees rarely attack painted or varnished wood, while natural wood may be attractive. These bees often cause problems for structures by boring into the surface of the wood that is the back face of the trim under the eaves. A buzzing or drilling sound is heard when the bee is boring into the wood. If the hole is not visible, the bee is boring into the backside of the trim, and sawdust can be seen underneath that area.
Carpenter bees are solitary bees, and build nests in structural coniferous wood. Galleries are made by the female who chews into the wood, hollowing out a chamber. The female then deposits a mass of pollen and nectar in the chamber and lays an egg there. She then plugs the chamber with chewed wood pulp, and continues excavating until she has laid six to eight eggs. Nest galleries are reused for generations.
Four types of damage can be caused by carpenter bees: weakening of structural timbers, destruction of wooden water tanks, defecation streaking on houses or painted structures, and human annoyance.
Honey Bees have a variety of colors from yellow to black and will have a solid or striped abdomen that is often encircled with opposing color bands. They will frequently be seen carrying pollen on their hind legs. They can sting, and will leave the stinger behind pulsing as it empties its venom into the unlucky victim.
Honey bees are highly social, usually consisting of a single queen, between 6,000 and 60,000 workers, and a few hundred to a few thousand drones. Colonies are perennial, usually surviving for several years. Colonies reproduce by swarming, which typically occurs in May or June. A swarm consists of the original queen and several thousand workers. A swarm will cluster on a branch near the original nest while scouts seek a new permanent location.
Wild nests are found inside hollow trees and occasionally in caves or cracks in rock formations. In some cases a colony will decide to nest inside an attic, a crawl space, or a wall void in a home. Honey Bees are commonly seen in flowering gardens.
Honey bees provide over 200 million pounds of honey a year.
If you hear buzzing or see above normal be activity near you home or yard, schedule a thorough inspection from Tomasello Pest Control and we will protect your home and family from Bees!
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