Honey Bees, Wasps and More
As people become more active out in the yard and garden later
this spring and summer, bees and hornets can become a nuisance.
However, remember that many of
these insects are beneficial and care should be used before destroying them. “Especially
in the spring and early summer”, says John Church, University of Illinois
Extension Educator, Natural Resources, Rockford, “honey bees tend to
swarm in large groups and can look threatening to homeowners, but in reality,
bees are just searching for a new home.
Honeybees are amber or brown and black banded, hairy and about
1/2 inch long. They nest in hollow tree trunks and build colonies
that may contain tens of
thousands of individuals, according to U. of I. entomologists. When nests
some of the bees will leave in swarms of several hundred looking for new
nesting sites, usually in the spring. The bees often form a mass
on a tree branch or
other support for a few days until a permanent site is found. Control is
usually not recommended or necessary, since most of these swarms
leave on their own
within a few days. Honeybees in swarms are usually docile and those with
trees rarely attack unless provoked.
Swarms that remain after a week may need to be removed by a beekeeper
or professional pest control operator or sprayed with an insecticide
as a last
swarms that start to invade structures may need to be controlled or removed,
since the honey and wax can become a serious problem within walls or other
void areas. Local University of Illinois Extension and USDA Farm Service
often have lists of local beekeepers for public information. However, many
beekeepers no longer want to harvest such wild swarms due to recent pest
hives. Some may be willing to simply move the swarm, but there may be a
charge for the service.
Other types of bees and hornets also become more prevalent throughout
the summer, such as the bald-faced hornets, which build football-sized
nests in trees and shrubs. Again, unless the nest is in a “high-traffic” area
for humans, it is best to just leave it alone.
Yellowjackets are 1/2-inch-long, black-and-yellow-banded wasps
that many people call "bees.” They live in underground nests, woodpiles, pile of
brush, hollow tree or a hole in the wall of a house. Late in the summer, nests
several thousand wasps. Of the Illinois bees and wasps, this is probably the
most likely to sting. They build up in population throughout the summer and
are attracted to food and drinks, which brings them into more contact with
Bumblebees are 1/2-to one-inch-long, yellow and black, hairy,
stout-bodied insects that nest underground. There are usually fewer
than 60 individuals
which is usually built in an old rodent burrow or similar opening.
Unless they present a problem, the nest should be left undisturbed.
June-July 2003: Herbs | "Pretty" Purple
Plants Can be Pesky Plants | Long
Term Planning Leads to Successful Gardening | Honey
Bees, Wasps and More | Rust Diseases
on Home Lawns