Bee Identification

Honey BeesHoney Bees

Honey bees have reddish brown and black bodies with bands of orange-yellow and transparent wings.  Their stingers are barbed and if removed from the body will result in killing the honey bee.  Honey bees live in beehives that are usually found in hollow trees but can be found in eaves of buildings or any cavity that can fit a nest.   Honey bees have developed a complex social network with the the main focus serving the queen bee.  A queen bee lays up to 2000 eggs per day and remains fertile for its whole life span.  There is only one queen bee per hive while there are several thousand worker bees.  Worker bees are always non-producing females that are responsible for the upkeep of the hive and the collection of pollen and nectar.  A worker bee can only sting once in a lifetime but are typically peaceful unless the queen or the beehive is threatened.   Drone bees are male bees who are solely used for mating with the queen.  They are not a threat as they do not have a stinger to sting with and will die after mating with the queen.  In a normal beehive there are only 300 to 3000 drones at a time. 



Bumble BeesBumble Bees

Bumble bees yellow and black and appear fuzzy because their entire body is covered with hair.  They do not have barbed stingers so they are able to sting more than once in their lifetime.  Their colonies are smaller than honey bees and can be found underground.  It is quite common to uncover a colony while mowing a lawn.  Like honey bees, bumble bees are made up of worker and drone bees who serve one queen.  They are also not aggressive but will defend their nest or sting if they are injured.  







WaspsThere are several types of wasps that come in many different sizes and colors.  They build pulp nests in trees, attics, holes in the ground or any cavity that can hold their nest.  Common types of wasps include yellow jackets and hornets.  Wasps are typically aggressive and pose a serious health risk to people who have allergies to their stings.  Some species of wasps can sting multiple times and will organize an attack of the whole colony if threatened.  







Yellow Jackets

Yellow JacketsYellow Jackets are typically black and yellow with thin waists but can be black and white.  They are in possession of  lance-like stingers that have small barbs along the length.  Yellow Jackets have the same social structure as other bees and commonly build their nests in trees, bushes and man made structures.  Due to their aggressive nature yellow jackets pose a serious health risk to anyone allergic and they do have the ability to sting several times.  At peak size a yellow jacket colony can have up to 20,000 yellow jackets in residence.  







Bald Face HornetHornets are large black and white wasps with stingers.  Because their stinger is not barbed they are able to sting many times without dying.  They share the same social structure as other bees and their beehives can often be found in trees and shrubs or in any part of a home that they can reach like eaves and attics.  They are very aggressive insects that will attack if threatened.  They can be potentially deadly to anyone allergic and have a painful sting.  Hornet colonies typically contain several hundred hornets during the peak in late summer.  



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