Nobody likes having a bee or stinging insects flying near their face. However, many bees are beneficial to our environment and even protected by law due to their vital role. As a result, it’s critical that you identify what kind of bees you have and if they are a threat to you. For example, bumblebees are great for the outdoors, but if they find their way into your home, something will need to be done to protect you and your family. Other bee species, like carpenter bees, are highly destructive and will damage wood structures on your property, so they also must be taken care of quickly. 

Professional pest control companies like Terminix or Orkin can quickly identify if you have harmful or beneficial bees on your property. Once they’ve identified the bee species, they can make plans to eliminate them or relocate them safely. If you’re struggling with bee infestation, we recommend contacting a pest control company because you don’t want to hurt beneficial bees accidentally. 

    Identifying Types of Bees

    Bees may not be your favorite insect. However, they help to pollinate flowers, plants, and crops all around the world. While it’s understandable that you don’t want to risk being stung, especially if you or a loved one are allergic, it’s also essential that you leave beneficial bees alone. 

    Certain bee species, like carpenter bees, are destructive because they drill holes into wood to create their nest, damaging your home and other wooden structures. These bees should be dealt with immediately. 

    To help you assess your bee problem, we’ve created the following guide to help you identify the types of bees you’re dealing with. However, keep in mind that bee identification can be tricky, so a professional opinion is always helpful. Certain bee species are also legally protected depending on the state, so always check with your local laws before treating for any type of bee. 

    Bumble Bees 

    When we think about bees, most of us think about large bumblebees with black and white stripes and fuzzy bodies. Most bumblebees are a little longer than one inch in length and have stubby wings. Due to their larger size, bumblebees generate more heat and can actually work during cooler weather, unlike some bee species. Their nests are built near the ground, often hidden under compost piles, wood, or abandoned animal burrows or tunnels. The typical bumblebee hive has several hundred bees and should not be approached for this reason, even if you are not allergic to bees. Bumblebee stingers do not come off if they sting, so they are able to sting an opponent multiple times.

    Honey bees 

    Honey bees are about half the size of a bumblebee and are only active during warmer months. Typically, they create nests in hollowed-out trees, logs, and fence posts. Their colonies are significantly larger than other bee colonies and can contain 10,000 to 80,000 bees in a single hive. Honey bees may sting if they feel threatened. Unlike bumblebees, they can only sting humans once because their barbed stinger gets stuck under the skin, forcing the honey bee to die because they cannot free themselves.  

    Western Honey Bee

    Western Honey Bees are similar to ants and other social insect species. They have a queen that only leaves the nest to mate with male bees, often during swarms. Then, the queen bee will lay eggs in individual cells of the hive. Worker bees are the most prevalent type of Western Honey Bee, and they are in charge of cleaning the hive, foraging for food, and pollination. 

    Carpenter Bees 

    Carpenter bees are larger bees with a shiny black abdomen and minimal fuzziness. Generally, carpenter bees can be found anywhere with access to wood, such as fields, parks, or properties with wooden houses, gardens, or sheds. Instead of creating hives, carpenter bees drill holes into wood and create tunnels where they make nests and lay eggs. Unlike most bee species, carpenter bees are loners and do not live in colonies. 

    Mining Bee 

    Mining bees are similar in appearance to honey bees but are even smaller and primarily have black bodies. They are usually non-aggressive and very rarely sting or bite. Mining bees are essential to flower pollination, especially on the East coast of the United States. Unlike many bee species, mining bees are solitary. They also have unique nesting behavior and build burrows between old stones and logs. Female mining bees will dig tunnels in soil and cluster their nests together, although only the mother bee is responsible for her individual nest. Interestingly, mining bees will often nest in the same location for many years. 

    Killer Bee  

    Killer bees, or Africanised honeybees, are a human-bred bee species first created by scientists in Brazil to create honey in warmer climates. Despite their name, these bees are no deadlier than other honey bee species. Their name probably comes from their more aggressive nature, as these bees will boldly defend their hive and chase down threats. Killer bees actually carry less venom than honeybees. However, they are deemed more of a danger because swarms of hundreds of thousands of bees have been reported to chase humans that threaten their nest, which can result in human death because of the sheer number of bee stings.

    European Dark Bee

    European dark bees are a subspecies of the western honey bee. They are known for being more aggressive than honey bees and more likely to chase enemies. European dark bees also swarm to reproduce. 

    How Bee Exterminators Work

    An exterminator will start by assessing your home for bee damage, signs of bees, and active hives or nests and they will estimate how much bee removal will cost. If they suspect you have carpenter bees, they will closely examine wooden surfaces for damage, pollen near drill holes, and stains. 

    If an exterminator determines you have carpenter bees, they may take several steps to eliminate them. Firstly they may start by changing the structure that carpenter bees are nesting in. This may look like replacing materials or layering a material that the bees can’t drill through on top of the wood to protect it. Some may paint or stain the wood since carpenter bees don’t typically drill through treated wood. 

    Another common bee treatment is spaying or dusting chemicals into holes in your home’s wood or access points. This will slowly kill the adult bees over time but won’t hurt the eggs, so you may need several treatments to get rid of the larvae as they grow. In most cases, your pest control professional will need to retreat and monitor your home to ensure the bees are entirely eradicated. 

    Depending on the company, you may go through multiple treatments or need a monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly plan for effective bee control. After your inspection, the company will advise you on the recommended treatment plan they have for your specific bee infestation. 

    How to Remove Honeybees and Bumblebees

    Honey bees and bumblebees rarely need to be exterminated and in some states, cannot be exterminated due to legal protection. As a result, an exterminator or local beekeeper is a good choice for having the bee colony relocated safely. Typically, this is done by tempting the bees to leave their colony and enter a box hive. After this, the beekeeper can safely complete the honey bee removal so that they can continue pollinating the environment. 

    Do not attempt this on your own. Even if you are not allergic to bee stings, enough bee stings can hurt or even kill you. Without proper experience, knowledge, and tools, you will upset the hive, and the bees may come after you. 

    What You Should NOT Do

    Do not try to exterminate bees on your own without the proper experience, knowledge, or equipment. Trying to kill bees yourself can result in putting yourself in harm’s way and harmless bees that pollinate plants dying for no reason. Even if you think you have carpenter bees, you should not engage them and should call a professional to take care of them. 

    Do not attempt the following: 

    • Do not spray pesticides yourself
    • Do not close the exit hole of a beehive off or cover it with a tarp to try and starve the bees
    • Don’t pour boiling water into the hive
    • Do not use Diatomaceous Earth to kill the bees

    How to Prevent Bees

    Typically, there is no reason to try and prevent bees, like honey bees or bumblebees, from creating a nearby hive and pollinating your garden. However, carpenter bees are hazardous to your home, so preventative measures should be taken to avoid them. 

    Start by painting and staining your wood to prevent carpenter bees from nesting. Carpenter bees typically don’t drill through treated wood, resulting in them moving on and laying eggs elsewhere. You can also frequently check wooden structures on your property for wood damage to ensure that no wood-destroying pests, like carpenter bees, carpenter ants, or termites, are present. 

    Bumblebees and honey bees love sweet foods. If you have a trash can outside, make sure that it is covered to ensure that bees are not attracted to leftover sweets, soda cans, bottles of juice, and more. Routinely empty your outdoor trash cans and clean the inside of your trash can to keep the trash can free of stickiness and food residue that may attract pests. 

    Other options for repelling bees include citronella candles and planting red geraniums and marigolds to encourage bees to stop by other gardens. 

    Best Professional Pest Control Companies For Bee Control

    Bee removal services should always be performed by a pest control professional. A local pest control professional will know about any local laws regarding bee extermination in your area and has the expertise and equipment to handle all types of bees properly. 

    Orkin and Terminix are great options for bee control and extermination services because they have strong reviews, a long, positive history in the pest control industry, and licensed professionals trained to control bees effectively. In most cases, a pest control specialist will eliminate carpenter bees by using dust or spraying pesticides into drilled holes in the wooden structure that carpenter bees have infiltrated. 

    Before you decide which company is best for you, gather multiple free quotes to see what each company will offer you regarding pricing and what they propose for treatment. 

    Final Thoughts

    Bee control is a job best left to professionals. Not only can a professional correctly identify the type of bee you have and the extent of the infestation, but they’ll be able to assess whether your bee infestation requires extermination or relocation. Most bee species should be safely relocated so that they can continue their important work pollinating the environment. Other bee species, like carpenter bees or killer bees, may need a more aggressive approach by a professional due to their aggressive or destructive nature. Regardless of what kind of bee species you have, contact a pest control company today to have your problem efficiently handled. 

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Sam Wasson

    Sam Wasson

    Staff Writer

    Sam Wasson graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Film and Media Arts with an Emphasis in Entertainment Arts and Engineering. Sam brings over four years of content writing and media production experience to the Today’s Homeowner content team. He specializes in the pest control, landscaping, and moving categories. Sam aims to answer homeowners’ difficult questions by providing well-researched, accurate, transparent, and entertaining content to Today’s Homeowner readers.

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    Lora Novak

    Senior Editor

    Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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