Bees in Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington, VA

Bees in Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington, VA

WHAT ARE BEES?

Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. There are many bee species that build their nests in a wide range of areas that are inconvenient for us.

Bees live in colonies that consist of the queen, worker bees, and drones. Worker bees clean the hive, collecting pollen and nectar to feed the colony and they take care of the offspring. The drone’s only job is to mate with the queen and the queen’s only job is to lay eggs. There are about 20,000 different species of bees in the world, the most commonly known are the honey bee, mason bees, the bumblebee, and the carpenter bee.

BEE REMOVAL: HOW WE GET RID OF BEES?

Never try to remove a swarm or hive yourself. You will need a removal service or pest control for integrated pest management. Swarms are dangerous and require proper equipment.

If you have a non-aggressive swarm and they are easily accessible, a live removal, changing nesting sites, might be the best way to handle the problem, however, not all bees can be saved or relocated. Assuming the bees are not aggressive we can relocate the swarm by smoking them and putting them in a box.

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Not only do the bees get to live happily in a new home, there are no pesticides involved and it’s environmentally friendly. The goal is to get them to a beekeeper that will re-queen the colony and help preserve the bee population

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON DISEASES SPREAD BY BEES?

Bee stings can cause very serious symptoms and illness associated with allergic reactions and hypersensitivity to bee venom. Perhaps the most recognized reactions are seen when a bee stings a person, particularly children, who are hypersensitive to the bee’s venom.

This may result in serious, maybe even life-threatening conditions. These stings generally create lesions and may also involve intense pain, swelling, itching, and potential of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that causes shock. Secondary infections in stings can occur if the bites and stings are not kept clean and properly disinfected.

INSECT CONTROL: WHAT ARE SOME PREVENTATIVE MEASURES I CAN TAKE?

The most effective prevention is not trying to attract bees.

Avoid fragrances like perfume or hairspray, which will attract bees. Be careful around flowers.

Do not wear bright color clothing, especially clothing with floral patterns

Be careful with foods, especially soda cans

WHAT ARE THE FEES ASSOCIATED WITH BEES?

The fees associated with live bee removals is variable, depending on the size and location of the hive. If you want a honey bee removal, this needs to be handled with extreme care as they are protected.

SES will not destroy a bumblebee nest or a honey bee nest. You should slowly remove yourself from a honey bee swarm. If you leave them alone, they will not be a threat. Call us for a free, no-obligation quote.

WHY SHOULD I ADDRESS THE PROBLEM?

Bees will become aggressive if they feel threatened. While one bee sting may not be life-threatening, multiple stings can send your body into a state of shock and cause an extreme, often life-threatening allergic reaction to an antigen to which the body has become hypersensitive to. This is called an anaphylactic shock.

WHY BEES ARE DYING OFF:

The truth is Scientists know that bees are dying due to a variety of reasons, global warming, pollution, and drought being just a few. Most of these causes, however, are interrelated and result in what is now being called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). This disorder is not a mystery as the chemical industry would like to have us to believe. The bottom line is that humans are largely responsible for the two most prominent causes of Colony Collapse: habitat loss and pesticides.

HABITAT LOSS:

With more and more houses being built, the beehive, nature where bees eat, live and thrive is being taken away. Many plants that people tend to think of as weeds are being destroyed simply because people consider them a nuisance. When they are destroyed, it is taking away the very things that the bees need to survive.

PESTICIDES:

In our grandparents day when weeds overtook your garden or yard, the answer was a hoe and elbow grease. Today the all too often method of choice for weed control comes in the form of a spray bottle. True this may seem like a quick fix to a beautiful yard and garden, but it’s a death sentence for bees.

Pesticides and insecticides are being sprayed, powdered, and genetically engineered into our plants and seeds. If you have pest problems, try a more natural approach. Bee species depend on us to protect their living space.

Insecticides called neonicotinoids are another quick fix in the fight against insects when it comes to gardening. The problem is insecticides often kill everything both good and bad.

Neonicotinoids are a fairly new class of insecticides that are related to nicotine. Neonicotinoids are much more toxic to insects, than they are to mammals or birds, and are water soluble, both of which may seem to be beneficial qualities. However, the impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on insect pollinators is a highly controversial topic when it comes to CCD. I recall that not so long ago the effects of nicotine on humans was also a highly controversial topic, but not anymore.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO NOT KILL BEES:

Don’t kill bees! Increase bee-friendly habitats. When your neighbors look at your yard and ask about your unsightly weeds, tell them you’re eco-friendly. Not only will you look like you’re in with green, but you will save you lots of time and money, and the bees will thank you!

Plant Bee-Friendly Flowers and Shrubs there’s nothing better than the beautiful aroma of fresh seasonal flowers and herbs. If you lack garden space, try container planting on your balcony, window boxes or hanging baskets.

Support local and organic farmers, there is nothing like a farmers market for finding fresh fruits and veggies when you can not grow your own. To find your local farmers market, check out http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets.

You should only use organically certified weed-killers, insect repellents, seeds. If you can’t find organic or it is out of your budget, try making/saving your own.

Buy local organic honey. Local beekeepers care about the health of their bees, they don’t just focus on their bottom line. Besides, when you eat honey that is local, it is said to help fight off seasonal allergies.

Set up a bee refreshment station. It doesn’t have to be fancy a simple bowl of water with marbles in a pie pan or a self-filling pet-bowl full of rocks is a welcome resting place for weary bees. Some people even add a little organic sugar to the water to provide an added energy boost. Never give bees artificial sweeteners. If you don’t want them to be around you, place your station away from where you hang out.

Last but by no means least, consider becoming a beekeeper unless your allergic to bees. You can find great beekeeper supplies on a place like Amazon.

If you enjoyed this post on Why You Should Not Kill Bees, you may want to check out my post on Bee Pollen Benefits.

CARPENTER BEES: HABITS

Unlike bumble bees, carpenter bees are solitary insects. The adult carpenter bees hibernate over winter, typically in abandoned nest tunnels and emerge in the spring to feed on nectar.

HABITAT:

Carpenter bees do not live in nests or colonies. Instead, female carpenter bees bore circular holes through a soft wood to lay eggs and protect their larvae as they develop.

THREATS:

Carpenter bees are a serious property threat, as they can cause structural damage over time if left untreated. Male carpenter bees can be territorial and may hover in front of one’s face aggressively, but they have no stinger and these actions are merely for show. Female carpenter bees do have a potent stinger, but it’s rarely used.

CARPENTER BEE PREVENTION:

Looking to get rid of carpenter bees? Carpenter bees prefer bare wood, so painting and staining wood can sometimes help deter them. However, they will sometimes attack stained or painted wood, so contact a pest control professional for proper carpenter bee control.

Homeowners should also routinely inspect wood on the property for signs of a carpenter bee infestation, including round, smooth holes.

People who complain about bumblebees flying about under the eaves of their homes are probably being annoyed by carpenter bees. Bumblebees are large social bees 1/2 to 1 inch long, with black and yellow or, rarely, black and orange body markings. Their nests are underground and they spend most of their time traveling between the nest and the flowers from which they obtain food.

Carpenter bees resemble bumblebees in both size and appearance but are not social insects. They construct their nests in trees or in frame buildings. Most of the top of the abdomen of carpenter bees are without hairs and is shiny black in color.

By contrast, the abdomen of bumblebees is fully clothed with hairs, many of them yellow in color. If you see a number of large bees hovering near the eaves of the house or drilling in wood, you have carpenter bees. There is only one species of the large carpenter bees, Xylocopa virginica, which is encountered in Pennsylvania.

The male bee is unable to sting. It is the male carpenter bee, which is most often noticed. They hover in the vicinity of the nest and will dart after any other flying insect that ventures into their territory. A common behavior of the males is to approach people if they move quickly or wave a hand in the air. The males may even hover a short distance from people causing unnecessary panic. The female, however, is capable of stinging but seldom does. She must be extremely provoked (i.e. handled) before she will sting.

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE:

While the damage to wood from the drilling activities of a single bee is slight, the subsequent year’s broods will expand the tunnel through branching activities and may cause considerable structural damage. Additionally, they will commonly defecate on the wall or other items directly below the opening causing stains.

Carpenter bees do not eat wood. They excavate the tunnels for shelter and make chambers in which to rear their young. They usually attack unpainted objects such as doors, window sills, roof eaves, shingles, railings, telephone poles, and sometimes wooden lawn furniture.

A carpenter bee begins her nest by drilling a nearly perfectly round entrance hole (about 1/2 inch diameter) into the wood. This hole is usually against the grain of the wood. When the tunnel is about 1 inch deep, the bee turns at right angles to the initial hole and tunnels with the grain of the wood. Bees prefer to attack wood that is greater than two inches thick.

LIFE CYCLE:

Young adult male and female bees hibernate in the tunnels during the winter. They mate in the spring and set about to clean out and enlarge the old tunnels or to excavate new ones as brood chambers for their young. Each chamber is provisioned with a portion of “bee bread”, a mixture of pollen and regurgitated nectar, which serves as food for the larvae.

An egg is deposited on the food supply and each chamber is sealed off. There are typically 6 to 8 chambers created by the female. The larvae that hatch from the eggs complete their development and pupate. Newly developed adult carpenter bees emerge in August, feed on nectar and return to the tunnels to over-winter.

MANAGEMENT:

Locate the wood in which the bees are active and apply an insecticidal dust directly into nest openings. This is best accomplished by using a duster that will puff the dust up into the tunnel and coat the sides. To avoid possible stings, treat the area at night.

Use a flashlight, over which a piece of red cellophane has been taped. The bees cannot see the red light, but you should be able to see the openings. If you must treat during the daytime, use a pyrethrum spray or wasp and hornet spray to knock down any bees flying about.

It is advisable to wear protective clothing, gloves, goggles and a respirator or dust mask because the insecticidal dust will frequently become airborne and may drop down onto you as you dust the tunnel. Launder any contaminated clothing immediately (do not mix with other household laundry items) and take a shower to remove and insecticidal dust.

Because of the obvious risks associated with treating carpenter bee holes in eaves or soffits, many homeowners will contract with a licensed pest control company to provide this service.

Do not plug the holes immediately! The bees should be able to pass freely through the nest entrance where they will contact the dust and distribute it inside the tunnels.

Also, any new matured bees will emerge through the openings and contact the dust placed there. It is a good idea to treat in the spring, when bees are first observed, again in mid-summer to kill any bees which may not have acquired a sufficient treatment when they emerged, and a third time in early fall to contact any over-wintering bees occupying the tunnels.

In the fall, the holes should be filled with wood putty or wooden dowels and the entire wood surface painted or varnished. Stained wood is not usually protected from attack.

WARNING:

Pesticides are poisonous. Read and follow directions and safety precautions on labels. Handle carefully and store in original labeled containers out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock. Dispose of empty containers right away, in a safe manner and place. Do not contaminate forage, streams, or ponds.

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