Bees are commercially valuable and an important part of our ecosystem, but in the wrong place at the wrong time, they can become pest. If you think you may have a bee infestation, you must first determine whether you’re actually dealing with bees and not some other stinging insect. Wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are just some of the nastier insects that sometimes are mistaken for bees.
Different bee varieties have different nesting behaviors. Honeybees and bumblebees are social creatures that create large communal hives with nesting galleries and large honeycombs. Don’t panic – most honeybee swarms are not dangerous if you leave them well alone and keep your distance. Bumblebees often nest in the ground, but can be found above ground around patio areas or decks. They will sometimes build their nests in attics or under roof beams. If disturbed, bumblebees will buzz in a loud volume, and they will aggressively defend their nests. Honeybee hives can be active for years, while bumble bee colonies die off each year.
Wood boring bees nest as individuals, with each bee boring its own egg and nectar gallery. Carpenter bees bore through soft woods to lay eggs and protect their larvae as they develop. Female carpenter bees will chew a tunnel into a piece of wood to build a nest gallery. The tunnel openings usually look about one or two inches deep, but they can be up to 10 feet long. These tunnels usually have several rooms where the bees hold their eggs and food.