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Africanized ("Killer") Bees

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Africanized ("Killer") Bees

Apis mellifera scutellata
Color: Golden-yellow with darker bands of brown.
Legs: 6
Shape: Oval; bee shape
Size: 1/2
Antennae: True
Region: Arizona, California, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico

Africanized "killer" bees looks so much like a regular honeybee that the only way to tell the two apart is by measuring their bodies. Africanized bees have different wing measurements than honeybees.

Habits

These bees defend their colony and attack when threatened.

Habitat

Africanized bees have small colonies, so they can build nests in unique places. They have been known to live in tires, crates, boxes, and empty cars.

Threats

Their venom is no more dangerous than regular honeybees-they just tend to attack in greater numbers, which causes more danger to humans.

Prevention:

Because of the aggressive nature of these pests and the enormity of their nests, a pest control professional or beekeeper must address an infestation. If you are chased by Africanized honeybees, run in a zig zag pattern and seek shelter in a house or car.

 

Carpenter Bees

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Carpenter Bees

Xylocopa species
Color: Blue-black, green or purple metallic sheen on abdomen
Legs: 6
Shape: Oval; bee shape
Size: 1
Antennae: True
Region: Found throughout U.S.

Carpenter bees look like typical bumblebees but often lack yellow stripes. They are solitary bees.

Habits

Unlike bumble bees, carpenter bees are solitary insects. Female carpenter bees will chew a tunnel into a piece of wood to build a nest gallery. The bits of wood she chews and deposits outside the nest are called frass. The male carpenter bee guards the outside of the nest. He does not have a stinger, but his constant buzzing causes concern for some.

Habitat

Carpenter bees bore through soft woods to lay eggs and protect their larvae as they develop.

Threats

Carpenter bees do not pose a public health threat, but they can damage wood through their nest building.

Prevention:

Carpenter bees prefer bare wood, so painting and staining wood can sometimes deter them. However, they will sometimes attack stained or painted wood, so contact a pest control professional for assistance.

 

Honeybees

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Honeybees

Apis nekkufera Linnaeus
Color: Predominantly golden-yellow with brown bands
Legs: 6
Shape: Oval; bee shape
Size: 1/2
Antennae: True
Region: Found throughout U.S.

Honey bees are social insects found all over the world. They are an extremely important beneficial insect because of their role in pollination. Honey bees pollinate more than 100 crops in the U.S.

Habits

Honeybees are active pollinators, and produce honey which feeds their young in colder months. The honeybee is the only social insect whose colony can survive many years.

Habitat

Honeybees produce honey from pollen and nectar of the plants they pollinate. They store the honey in honeycombs in their nests. They often build their nests in tree crevices, but will occasionally build nests in attics or chimneys.

Threats

Honeybees do sting, but they only sting once. The sting can be extremely painful if the stinger is not immediately removed from the sting. Persons allergic to insect stings will have a more severe reaction.

Prevention:

Honeybees should be addressed by a professional. Removal of a honeybee nest and the honey product can be very messy. Because honeybee colonies are so large, only a pest control professional or experienced beekeeper can safely remove a honeybee nest.

 

Yellowjackets

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Yellowjackets

Vespula spp.
Color: Abdomen usually black and yellow pattered similar to bands
Legs: Six
Shape: Wasp-like
Size: Workers 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch
Antennae: True
Region: Found throughout U.S.

There are several species of yellowjackets. These flying insects typically have a yellow and black head/face and patterned abdomen. Many say, the pattern resembles stripes. Signature to species, the abdomen pattern can help an entomologist or pest professional identify specific types of yellowjackets.

Habits

Yellowjackets nest in the ground or in cavernous areas such as eaves, attics, etc.... They feed on sweets and proteins and commonly invade outdoor activities.

Habitat

Yellowjackets can be found anyplace humans can be found. Check near recycling bins or other areas where sugars are common but keep in mind these pests also feed on protein. Yellowjackets become more aggressive in autumn when the colony begins to die out except for the queen.

Threats

Yellowjackets pose significant health threats to humans as they may sting repeatedly and can cause allergic reactions. Stinging insects send over 500,000 people to the emergency room each year.

Prevention:

Remain vigilant and call a pest professional if you suspect yellowjacket activity. Control requires specialized equipment and safety precautions. Do not leave sweet drinks or meats in accessible areas. For example, clean up and remove food and trash after picnics and outdoor events.

 

 

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