Honey Bee

Actual Size: 1/2″

Characteristics: Golden brown and black with pale orange or yellow bands on their abdomen.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Social insects that live in hives with 20,000 to 80,000 individuals

Habits:

  • During the winter, honey bee populations lay dormant
  • In the summertime, worker honey bees live for only about 5-7 weeks
  • Their stings can hurt and cause swelling at the sting site, followed by itching sensations

Honey Bees in El Paso TX and Anthony NM

Honey bees are social bees that are most known for their ability to produce honey. Female worker honey bees are typically the only ones ever seen; they are the ones that forage for good, build and protect the hive, clean, etc. Male honey bees are drones and live in the hive until wintertime. Colonies can survive for years and are known to pollinate over 100 types of crops. The two main types are Africanized honey bees and European honey bees. The latter is much more aggressive than the former. Honey bees will swarm when the colony becomes too large for its hive, which is when people see anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 honey bees at once!

Honey Bee Nests

Honey bees construct their nests or hives in tree crevices, but will occasionally build nests in attics or chimneys. Inside their hives, honey bees live on stored honey and pollen. Honey bees are most visible in summer and late spring when new queens leave their old colonies along with thousands of workers to build new nests in tree hollows or crevices. At this time, large groups of bees can be seen swarming together to find a new nesting place. It takes a swarm approximately 24 hours to locate a new nesting site. While most swarms are harmless, certain species of bees, like the Africanized honey bee, are extremely aggressive and may attack unprovoked.

Honey Bee Habits & Dangers

Honey bees are unique from other stinging insects in that their barbed stinger allows them to only sting one time. Only female workers are capable of stinging and are not likely to sting when foraging for nectar and pollen in the backyard. Bee stings generally happen when these docile bees are provoked or accidentally crushed. The stinger of the honey bee, having barbs, will remain in the skin unless physically removed. The method of removing the stinger, either grasping with fingers, tweezers, or scraping from the skin, is not as important as removing the stinger as quickly as possible. Honey bee stings are quite painful and even life-threatening to a small percentage of people who are allergic to the venom.

If you notice honey bees swarming, it’s best to stay away. Always contact your local bee control experts when you need help with nest removal.