These little guys are probably one of our favorite insects. They tend to be docile and good natured. They only sting when they need to. They are phenomenal pollinators and excellent manufacturers, producing one of the best food products in the universe. They are excellent architects and overall fun to watch as they buzz around flowers searching for pollen.
Currently bee colonies are on the decline. There are three main reasons for this problem, the first being the Varroa mite. The second reason is hybrid flowers forcing the bee to work harder to even find a flower that carries pollen. The Third is “Hive Abandonment Syndrome” caused by too much disturbance to the hive. Put the three together and it spells a pretty dire situation. Things like improper use of pesticides rank pretty low on the causes and most pesticide application “Best Practices” avoid treating any area that will affect these wonderful creatures.
Unfortunately they are given a bad reputation because of their similarities to other pests like yellow jackets, wasps and certain types of hornets. In reality they are completely different - if a bee stings you it is most likely a life-ending action; all other stinging pests are equipped with multi-use weapons. Most often they are confused with Yellow Jackets because their body sizes and structure are the most similar. Bees however have hairy bodies with thicker abdomens and tend to be more orange in color. Yellow Jackets Have a more slender abdomen with bright yellow rings around it and minimal hairs. So if you see a little hairy, orange bee buzzing around your flowers let him bee. He only wants to get some pollen from your flowers.
The best solutions
Though it is pretty unlikely to happen, if you do actually find a bees’ nest in your home give us a call we work with a local bee keeper and we can transplant the colony with little effect to the hive. If you see them swarming on a tree branch outside your home and it is not allowing you to perform normal outdoor activities we again can easily remove the branch with the swarm and transplant the hive to be nurtured giving it a chance to continue to grow.
What you can do to help them
Several hybrid flowers produce little to no pollen but still they are attractive to the bee itself, yet when it arrives there is nothing there. It’s like going to the grocery store to get food and finding the shelves empty. A simple way to reverse this is to focus on planting pollen producing flowers around your house and landscaping if you can. This can at least give them some of the resources they need to survive and the added benefit for those of us without allergies is the fragrant scents that will permeate the immediate area. Another thing that could help is having a patch of clover in your yard, this is a fast growing pollen producing flower that bees are attracted to.