California has more than 1,600 native bee species and more than 650 of these are found in San Diego. If you’ve been living in San Diego for years then you know exactly how common bees are in the environment.
In fact, last January 2012, the city of San Diego released an amendment of its Municipal Code. It stipulates that residents, retail farms and community gardens are allowed to maintain two beehives.
So, think about native bees in your neighborhoods’ backyards and the possibility of some of these bees creating a hive within your property. How do you get to know what kinds of bees are in your own backyard? Do you know if they are harmless?
In this article, we will discuss the different types of bees that are common in your environment in San Diego.
1. Honey Bees
Honey bees are the most common types of bees in the world. Female honey bees are the ones you often see taking out pollen from the flowers to be delivered to their beehive.
The majority of these honey bees are more defensive than aggressive. They rarely sting and they only do so if they’re harmed, threatened or confused. Stinging is their act of defense to make a person get away and stop threatening them. Note that these honey bees are capable of attacking in large numbers.
There are also different types of honey bees. Few examples include the German bee, Italian bee, Russian bee, etc. If you’re living in San Diego, the most common type of honey bees that you will see are Africanized bees, which is an aggressive breed of Western bees.
Why are Africanized Honey Bees called Killer Bees?
Although the venom of Africanized bees are not more dangerous compared to regular honeybees, what makes the first more life-threatening than the latter is the fact that Africanized bees can follow you in multitudes. And, they can be so aggressive they can even follow you as far as a quarter of a mile.
Since they attack in greater numbers, far greater than the number of European bees that could possibly attack you, the risk of having serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries is very high.
In fact, there have already been reports of people who died due to an attack made by these Africanized bees.
2. Carpenter Bees
Carpenter bees are infamous for drilling holes into wooden structures such as houses, furniture, fences, etc. They build nests using materials they obtain from bamboo, bricks, lead-covered cables and plant stems.
Although carpenter bees are sometimes referred to as “pests” because of their tendency to damage wooden structures. But they can be master pollinators! The truth is, carpenter bees play a role in pollinating 15 percent of agricultural crops. Their hairy bodies serve as little pollen baskets which they could use for picking out pollen from flowers.
Why do carpenter bees drill holes into woods?
The female carpenter bees drill perfect round holes that are one half inch in diameter and about an inch deep. These series of holes that female carpenter bees create every 5 or 6 days serve as nests where she would raise her larvae.
This is also where she will place the nectar and pollen she gathered from plants to be able to sustain her young larvae, until they become capable of venturing out of the tunnels on their own.
The different types of carpenter bees are called Eastern Carpenter Bee, Southern Carpenter Bee, California Carpenter Bee, Valley Carpenter Bee, etc.
3. Mason Bees
Mason bees earned such a name because of their ability to use mud, and do masonry work in building nesting cavities for their young. They would either find existing holes or cavities that were abandoned by other insects or use their own mandibles to burrow an aging sandstone or a decaying mortar. The tunnels they create when burrowing are about the size of the pencil.
Are mason bees excellent pollinators?
Yes, they are. They do not make honey but they are also excellent pollinators. However, when it comes to pollinating, their process is less sophisticated compared to honey bees.
When honey bees collect pollen, they mix it with their own saliva to create a paste so they can push it down into their legs where their hairy structures serve as pollen baskets.
On the other hand, mason bees will just collect pollen in a more messy manner. The pollen will stick to the body of a mason bee as she lands from one flower to another and since she does not have pollen baskets like honey bees do, mason bees can spread pollen everywhere she goes. This makes mason bees capable of achieving a 95 percent pollination rate, as compared to honey bees’ 5 percent.
4. Bumble Bee
Bumble bees are social bees which consist of more than 250 species, with 49 of these species are found in the United States. Bumble bees rarely sting and are known for their more gentle temperament compared to other types of bees. They are less likely to sting than honeybees, hornets and yellow jackets.
How can bumble bees sting more than honey bees?
Unlike honey bees, bumble bees have the ability to sting a person multiple times or sting more than one person, in order to protect their hives. This is because the stingers of a bumble bee are smooth, so they can inject it into the person’s skin a couple of times and remove their stingers without hurting themselves.
Bumble bees have wing-vibrating tendencies, in addition to their longer tongues. Their wings can beat more than 130 times per second, which makes them known for that “buzz pollination” process that can only be expected from them and not from other types of bees.
These innate qualities of bumble bees make them more efficient in pollinating a lot of plants compared to other types of bees. As their wings beat, they also vibrate flowers to enable them to bear more fruits or flowers.
Moreover, bumble bees are better capable of foraging even during unfavorable weather conditions, unlike other bees.
These are the most common types of bees that you may find in your home or neighborhood. They can be lovely to look at buzzing over your garden of flowers.
However, in the case of bee infestation in and around your property, never make any attempts to resolve the issue on your own. Better yet, call on the professional of bee removal services to ensure that bee removal is done in a fast, efficient and safe manner.