Learn About the Types of Honeybees with Covenant Wildlife Removal
Welcome to learning all about the types of honeybees. For more than 9,000 years, honeybees have provided humans with honey and beeswax, and they pollinate many plants too. Not only do humans enjoy the sweet taste of honey, but their wax can be harvested for candles, soap, and cosmetics such as lip balm.
Which Bee is the Honeybee?
Most people think of a bee as the round yellow and black striped bumblebee. But the honeybee is more petite and long and thin, comparatively. Roughly the size of a paper clip, honeybees are a yellowish-orange color with black stripes. Covered with pale hairs, they have six legs and a barbed stinger. These insects fly around with their transparent wings, collecting pollen and nectar for use back at the hive.
Honeybees are a vital part of horticulture because they pollinate the many fruits, vegetables, and other plants that humans and other animal species need for survival. Honeybees originally came from Europe, but the varieties in the Americas are from several types. Apis is the genus for all types of honeybees, and there are more than 44 subspecies. All types have three things in common:
- Honeybees make the wax they use to build the hive.
- They make honey.
- And they live in a colony with a queen.
Three Honeybee Categories in a Hive
Adult worker honeybees are usually ½ to 5/8 inch long, and they are the only honeybees we see out in the open. They are the females of the hive who are not fertile. The worker bees look for food, build the hive, and provide protection for the hive. Additionally, they do the cleaning and circulate the air with the beating patterns of their wings. The food they retrieve is pollen and nectar from flowers.
The Queen honeybee is a bit larger, at 5/8 to ¾ inches long. Their stinger is smooth, and their abdomens are long and pointed. The single Queen of each hive has only one job, and that is to lay eggs. Once this Queen passes on, the workers will get busy preparing a new Queen in a fascinating process. The workers will feed one larva a diet of “royal jelly” to enable the worker larvae to turn into a fertile Queen bee. Additionally, the Queen can direct the activity of the hive with chemicals she produces.
With no stinger, these male bees are called the drones of the colony. They are around 5/8 inches long and are the third class in the bee colony. And, their only job is to mate with the Queen. Drones are not capable of feeding themselves, nor are they able to come out of their pupae. Worker bees have to do the work for them. Several hundreds of drones will live in a colony in the spring and summer months. But when winter comes, these drones are put out for the winter.
Honeybees are known to be social and cooperative with one another. During the summer months, they do all their hunting and gathering of nectar and pollen. And in the winter, they live on stored honey and pollen as they gather in a ball to keep warm. Then in the spring, the hive will be swarming with new bees ready to learn the ropes of hive keeping.
The Story of the Honeybees
There are more than 20,000 various types of bees worldwide, and they have been there for millions of years. Today, there are seven living types of honeybees. You should know there’s no fixed-in-stone characteristic for a bee, but these are the most common. Indeed, they are an exciting insect worth additional study.
Black Dwarf Honeybees came out of the last Ice Age well-adjusted to a cold climate. They thrived in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Scandinavia. This honeybee has bred with the prolific Italian bee, which made it a bit aggressive. What’s more, it is rare to find a pure variety of this bee today.
Red Dwarf Honeybees have a wide distribution in South Asia. They have some unique defensive features, mainly because their nests are open and more exposed to predation than nests in tree cavities. These bees are important to local agriculture and are proactively kept in some countries.
Giant Honeybees exist in South East Asia and are a larger variety than other species. They build substantial honey hives under hanging trees and rocky cliffs. However, humans cannot domesticate these bees in hives.
Eastern Honeybees originated in South East Asia. They are small bees and produce less honey. Unfortunately, they brought varroa mites to other types of honeybees that don’t have thousands of years of experience dealing with these pathogens.
Western Honeybees are the most widely domesticated and distributed bee species in the world. Its colonies are large and were initially in hollowed-out dead trees. They have been bred for 5,000 years to be conducive to domestication. And the aggressive behavior has been bred out while honey production has remained the priority. Originally from Europe, these bees commonly undergo domestication in the USA, South East Asia, and Australia. Due to selective breeding, there are many subspecies. The Italian Bee is the most common subspecies which survived the Ice Age in the warmer climate of Italy. Indeed, even today, it does not tolerate a cold environment.
Koschevnikov’s Honeybees live in Malaysia and Indonesian Borneo. They are slender bees with a reddish color and an extra-long tongue. And, they make small hives in tree cavities in the rain forests.
Philippine Honeybees live on the island Mindanao of the Philippines and a few Indonesian islands. They prefer wet areas, and if there are other species of bees in the area, they will compete for the best locations to start a hive.
Queen Honeybees were designated Alabama’s agricultural insect in 2015. However, the official insect is the Monarch butterfly.
When and How to Remove the Honeybees Hive
When bees live in hives in a forest or are under the care of a beekeeper, they greatly benefit local agriculture. However, suppose bees build a hive in or near your home. In that case, it can become a nuisance at best and dangerous if anyone in your family is allergic to bee stings.
When locating a beehive on your property, it may be tempting to think you can spray your hive away, but this is not the recommended solution. Besides, some insecticides are illegal to use on bees. But what if you don’t know of a local beekeeper who will take the hive away? In that case, the most humane and environmentally friendly way to remove an unwanted honeybee hive is to call a professional. They will know of any local beekeepers who would be willing to adopt the hive. So, if there are none to be found in your area, the wildlife experts will remove them to a wilderness location.
Removing the hive without killing the bees is the best way to help stop the global decline of all types of honeybees and help them continue their essential agricultural work.
Also, every trace of the hive needs to go. If any honey is left behind, it could attract other unwanted wildlife or insects, depending on where you live. No one wants that!
Avoid Honeybees on Your Property
Is there a way to keep them off your home and out of your trees? Well, sure there is. In fact, there are a few things homeowners can do to keep the bees out.
- Remove access to sugars, foods, and water that may be attracting bees.
- Avoid planting flowers near areas frequently accessed by the family. Doorways, decks, mailboxes, shed doors, and sidewalks should not have flowers that would attract bees.
- Keep your lawn free of white clover and flowering seeds that would also attract the bees.
- Sprinkling cinnamon around the hive will annoy the bees, and they will look for a new place to live in a week or so.
- Mothballs are an odor the honeybees just cannot tolerate. But they are stinky for humans too. If you notice an influx of bees, you can place the mothballs in the area and see if they naturally decide to leave.
- Plant bee repelling plants like Eucalyptus, Mint, and Citronella.
Now, what if these methods have failed, and you have a growing hive and colony in a dangerous place? The best protection you can offer your family is to call Covenant Wildlife Removal.
Keep your home and family safe from the sting of a honeybee while preserving the honeybees our planet needs to survive.
Call Covenant Wildlife anytime, 24/7, so you don’t have to live with unwanted honeybees or other wildlife in or near your home. Our professionals have the training and equipment to ensure your property is safe and the bees don’t come back.