Bees are the major pollinators of flowering plants and assist in the reduction of many insect pests. This therefore makes them a very beneficial group of insects.
Bees are identified as either solitary (live independent of a colony) or social (live together in a colony). Understanding their behavior, social or otherwise, will provide us with important information which may allow us to avoid a nasty encounter.
Bees come in all shapes and sizes, from the 51 species of Bumble Bees to the Honey Bee, and as I stated earlier, they provide a valuable service. These hardworking insects are responsible for a major portion of our food supply. Therefore, as part of Catseye’s protocol when dealing with bee calls, we make sure the insects in question are not Honey Bees (most of these calls actually turn out to be for Yellow Jackets or Wasps). However, if they are in fact Honey Bees we advise the homeowner to contact a local beekeeper who will come to remove the bees with their nest, keeping everything in working order. Pest management would only be undertaken when the bees pose a threat to you or your pets.
There are times when something good goes bad, as the following information shows. Of the 54 reported deaths each year from arthropod bites or stings, bees, hornets and wasps account for about 30 percent. For example, the Africanized Honey Bee is extremely aggressive and will sting with little provocation. They have been known to pursue intruders/victims for up to 328 feet. Domestic bees on the other hand will only pursue intruders for up to 33 feet.
Another interesting point to remember is that there are several groups of insects that mimic the appearance and behavior of bees, hornets and wasps as a defensive mechanism designed to protect themselves from predators.
Am I giving bees a bad rap by providing you with this information? Hardly. I just want you to understand that at times we have to deal with something good that has gone bad.