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Understanding Bees in California

by | Mar 13, 2024 | 0 comments

For most Californians, bees aren’t a serious threat. But these tiny flying insects can be a nuisance if they start building their homes near you. Learning to recognize different types of bees can help you understand which bees to avoid, their common habits, and the vital role they play in the ecosystem.

Different Species of Bees in California

Over 20,000 bee species exist. All of them are commonly categorized into two main groups: social bees and solitary bees.

Social Bees

Social bees live in colonies with a set social structure, usually consisting of a queen, workers, and drones (males). The most common examples of social bees are honeybees (Apis mellifera) and bumblebees (Bombus spp.).

Honeybees are typically associated with honey production. They live in large colonies with tens of thousands of individuals and are known for their efficient communication and social organization.

Meanwhile, bumblebees are larger and more robust than honeybees, with fuzzy bodies and a characteristic black and yellow color pattern. Their colonies are much smaller than honeybees’, typically containing only a few hundred individuals.

Solitary Bees

On the other hand, solitary bees live on their own and do not form colonies. They are responsible for a significant portion of pollination and come in a wider variety of shapes and sizes than social bees. Some common examples include carpenter bees (Xylocopa spp.), mason bees (Osmia spp.), and leafcutting bees (Megachile spp.).

Carpenter bees are large, black bees known for drilling holes in wood to create nest cavities. They are excellent pollinators of a wide variety of flowering plants.

Meanwhile, mason bees are small, metallic-colored bees often building their nests in pre-existing holes in walls, bricks, or even empty snail shells. They are important pollinators of fruit trees and other early-blooming plants.

And lastly, leaf cutting bees get their name from their habit of cutting leaves to line their nest cavities. They are important pollinators of a wide variety of flowering plants, including roses and tomatoes.

Most Common Habits of Bees

Stinging is one of bees’ defense mechanisms to protect themselves from predators. Their sting is painful to humans and other animals. They also release pheromones, which are chemical signals that can alert other bees to danger. Additionally, some bees can bite or swarm predators in order to drive them away.

Bees are more interested in doing their bee business than stinging humans. If you leave them alone, they’ll likely leave you alone too. But it’s always good to be aware of your surroundings and avoid disturbing beehives to avoid stings or potential allergies.

Outside their defense mechanisms, bees have an important role in the ecosystem. They  are pollinators, which means they transfer pollen between flowers, helping plants reproduce. Bees are attracted to the bright colors and sweet smells of flowers, where they land and collect nectar, a sugary liquid produced by the flower. As they move from flower to flower, pollen sticks to their hairy bodies and gets transferred to the next flower they visit.

Honeybees are social insects that live in colonies with a single queen bee, male drones, and female worker bees. Worker bees are responsible for collecting nectar, making honey, cleaning the hive, and caring for the young. They turn the nectar they collect into honey by storing it in honeycomb cells and evaporating some of the water content. Honey is a food source for the bees during the winter months when flowers are scarce.

Bees are generally harmless to humans, but it’s important to understand that disturbing them or their hive is an open invitation for them to sting. Be sure to leave beehives alone when you see them or contact a bee control expert.

Call Bee Control Experts in California 

Corky’s Pest Control offers QualityPro-certified bee control treatments to eliminate bees. Learn more about our Bee Control Service in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, and Orange County.

Call Corky’s Pest Control at 800-901-1102 to request a quote or free inspection!

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