Bumble Bees, Honey Bees, and Solitary Ground Bees

Since bees are beneficial control should only be done where there is an immediate threat to people or their pets, or when peace-of-mind is required.

Bumble bees defend themselves by using their relatively smooth stingers which can be used over and over. Some species will spray feces, and some cover the intruder with regurgitated honey. People sensitive to insect venom should exercise care around bumble bee nests. Because bumble bees sometimes locate their nest close to an occupied structure or recreational area and control is often warranted.

Bumble bee control: During the day find the location of each nest by observing where the bees disappear into the ground, grass clump, or structure. At night using background light and while wearing a bee veil, apply an appropriately labeled pyrthroid pesticide. Dusts work best when applied to an area 6 (15 cm) around the nest entrance. For structural nests, treat with dust or aeresol but do not seal the entrance. Structural nests should be either retreated with a long-lasting repellent material or the void opened up and cleaned out with 1-2 days to prevent future problems with dermestid beetles, spider beetles and/or psocids.

Honey bees are not aggressive, and do not search for something to attack. Instead they are defensive and will attack only whatever seems to threaten the colony. The guard or worker honey bees have a barbed stinger that is left behind in the victim. While stinging, a honey bee rips a portion of her abdomen away with the stinger, and the bee dies soon afterward. The stinger should be removed immediately from the victim to reduce the amount of venom entering the sting site. Often Honey bees are seen in swarms on tree branches. The swarm will usually remain for about 24-48 hours until permanent quarters are located, and then moves on to some place protected from the weather.

Honey bee control: See the Ohio Fact sheet at http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2079.html

Solitary Ground Bees have a habit of nesting in large numbers in the limited bare areas found around the foundation or in the yard. Some members of this group are called sweat bees because they are attracted to perspiring skin. Although they are usually just a nuisiance, they can give a sharp mild sting especially when brushed away.

Solitary Ground Bee control: These are beneficial insects and control should be avoided if possible. If control is required dusting the bare nesting area with an appropriate labeled pesticide is effective. Pyrethroids and some carbamates are particularly effective. Eliminating all bare-ground nesting areas as a long term solution to discourage these bees.

Categories: Bumble Bees, Honey Bees, Solitary Ground Bees

Date: 6/17/2007