The bumble bee and honey bee are often confused because they both have very similar habits. Yet these bees are identified because of their different appearances.
Biology & Reproduction
Bumble bees are known by their fuzzy “fur” that covers their body with yellow and black markings. They’re a very social insect and a colony of them will live in one nest. A nest will contain about 5-400 bees at once. The system that bees created is almost like a monarchy, with each class of bee having a specific job within the colony. The adult bees are sterile females, popularly known as “worker bees.” The workers will take care of the larvae, forage, and build and clean the nest, and only live up to 2 weeks. The drones, or males bees, will leave the nest once they’re fully grown only to mate and afterwards will die. Up to 50 can live in a colony, which can vary by season. There is only one queen bee per colony, and her only job is to reproduce. Typically only the queen bee will overwinter underground. In the spring, the queen will locate a nesting site, and begin to make a honey pot of wax scales, then will make a clump of pollen and lay 8-10 eggs on it. As the number of worker bees increase, the queen will increase the amount of eggs she lays.
Bumble bees are incredibly beneficial because they pollinate a wide variety of plants. It’s best to leave them alone if they are near you, as they can sting if they feel threatened. If a nest is located to close to a home or occupied area, and there are people with bee allergies around, then control is warranted. Bumble bees usually won’t choose a nesting site inside a structure but can be a concern if there is an abundance of them in one place. If a family member is allergic to a bee and is stung, the reaction could be serious. A bad reaction can occur even if the allergy had previously been non-existent or mild. Also, an individual’s allergy can worsen after repeated exposure to stings. Multiple stings can be quite dangerous, especially with regard to the elderly or small children. Regardless, bee stings hurt even without an adverse reaction. Taking care of the problem yourself is not worth the risk. Contact a professional if there is a serious bumble bee problem. Our technicians are trained to safely treat bumble bee infestations.