Can anyone identify these bees/wasps?

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Old 04-18-08, 07:20 PM
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Can anyone identify these bees/wasps?



 

Last edited by jbsjbs; 04-18-08 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 04-18-08, 07:34 PM
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what do you think?

 
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Old 04-18-08, 07:43 PM
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Looks like honey bees.



Photo Credit: Texas A&M Dept. of Entomology

Males (drones) are 5/8" long; females (workers) are 3/8-5/8" long; and the queen is 3/4" long.

African honey bees are a bit smaller than the regular honey bee. They look so much alike that it takes a lab test to tell them apart.
 
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Old 04-18-08, 07:45 PM
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or this:
 
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Old 04-18-08, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by nap View Post
what do you think?
Well, I spoke with a pest control guy who we've used before (he's not yet seen the pics) and he said timing wise in our area they're likely carpenter bees. I'm still waiting for him to see the pics. I have read that carpenter bees are quite large, but also that they are unique for having a shiny black abdomen, which I think these have . . . so I was hoping someone on here might have some ideas . . .
 
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Old 04-18-08, 07:48 PM
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Apis mellifera

looks specifically to be a worker bee
 
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Old 04-18-08, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jbsjbs View Post
Not sure I understand. Were you answering my question? Or posting one of your own?

Just so you know, mine was not a trivia question, I'm actually interested in finding out what kind of bees we have!
I was asking you if you believed the one I posted was the same as the ones you posted.
 
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Old 04-18-08, 07:55 PM
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a carpenter bee



eastern carpenter bee



you have honeybees. Depending on where you live, you should have no problem with them. They are not aggressive. There is a huge problem with the honeybee population being decimated so if you can simply leave them be, it would be the best for everybody.
 
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Old 04-18-08, 08:04 PM
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Capenter bees are 1/2" to 1" and drill round holes in wood siding, trim, decks, especially if not painted. Males have yellow face and females black. Many confuse with bumble bees, but the carpenter bees upper abdomen is shiny black (no peach fuzz), whereas bumble bees have a fuzzy abdomen. Bumble bees nest in ground and not in wood like the carpenter bee.


Photo Credit: Kansas State University Research and Extension
Carpenter Bee
 
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Old 04-18-08, 08:16 PM
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Jbsjbs, see if these sites help you.
http://www.bumblebee.org/
http://www.bumblebee.org/NorthAmerica.htm

Newt
 
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Old 04-18-08, 08:32 PM
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those links are to info about Bombus, not apis.
 
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Old 04-18-08, 09:08 PM
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Are the bees presenting a problem for you? If honey bees in the landscape, they are important in pollinating flowers. Plus, they manufacture delicious honey.


Photo Credit: walmart.triaddigital

Honey bees suddenly appear in the spring along with lots of other bugs. If you have done much driving lately, you will quickly see that bugs abound on the windshield.

Occasionally honey bees may establish a colony in attic or wall void. These must be removed.

For more info on honey bees: http://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheets/hgic2507.htm

Sometimes honey bees swarm in late spring to early summer when a colony becomes overcrowded. Should you discover a mass of bees in your landscape, call a local beekeeper or Cooperative Extension Agent who likely knows a beekeeper who will come collect the bees.


Photo Credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Department of Entomology
 
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Old 04-19-08, 07:21 AM
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Thanks for all the information, folks. Very interesting. I am certainly aware of the various ecological issues surrounding honeybees. Here's the situation, I'm open to other ideas:

The rear stairs to our house, which my family (including a 5-week old infant) walks up and down several times each day, have railings made of composite material. The pickets of those railings have an interior structure that looks like this:


The handrails at the top of those pickets have very small gaps where they connect, and apparently the bees have decided they like the interior structure of the pickets and in the last week or so we've seen them flying in and out of the pickets. Currently it's a few at a time, but there are more than a hundred of these pickets so if they like it I'm guessing it could support quite a large bee population.

Even useful insects become pests when they are defending a nest that exists 6 inches from the entrance to my house, and the ecological concerns are not enough to convince me to let my 5-week old infant be stung, or to let my three-year old fall down the stairs because she gets scared when five bees start after her at the top of the steps.

So, one way or another I will be eliminating the bees and then caulking the gaps at the top of these pickets to prevent new bees from entering.

If there's an ecologically friendly way of doing so, such as a one-way trap that can draw them in and let me release them after I've sealed the pickets, I'm fine with that. But leaving them and allowing the population to expand is not something I'm willing to consider in their current location. I can certainly appreciate how some might consider this to be a selfish choice, but I'm guessing that someone who does is probably not the parent of an infant.

By the way, we live in a wooded area, and the wildlife that exists beyond the house is a big part of why we like living here. It's just when that wildlife starts inhabiting the house itself that I become concerned. The bees in the photographs are, I believe, part of the same colony but in this case they found a small passage through the hardware of some French doors and I discovered more than a dozen of them in my kid's playroom.

So, aside from advice to live and let live, which I understand but can't utilize, are there any other recommendations folks have before I start filling the pickets with dessicant dust?

--Jason
 
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Old 04-19-08, 07:56 AM
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Sounds like you know what you have to do. Puff some insecticide dust inside the gaps in railings. Wait 2-3 days and seal the gaps. The bees will travel out and in and carry the insecticide to the nest.
 
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Old 04-19-08, 09:46 AM
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So, is this normal behavior that there would be a few of these bees in this one location, but that the nest is somewhere else? I don't particularly want to do anything to bees in some distant nest, I just want to keep them from nesting in this railing.

If the bees die inside the railing and then I seal it, is there much of an issue with smell or decomposition? The way the railing is put together will make it impossible for me to access the inside of it to clean it out. If there is a way to get them out and then seal it with them outside, preferably without having to kill them, I'd be all in favor of it, both for their sake (environment) and for mine (decomposition).

If not, then is there a particular insecticide dust you would recommend? Thanks again for the help.

--Jason
 
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Old 04-19-08, 09:58 AM
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Jason, have you considered contacting a beekeeper to come and remove them? If they area honeybees, they might want them.

There shouldn't be any issue with odor with a small colony, but I do understand your concern about them. You need to protect your family, so no need to apologize.

Newt
 
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Old 04-19-08, 11:01 AM
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the only reason the bees would go into the stile is to establsih a colony and the only place they establish a colony is where there is a queen. The queen rarely leaves the nest so waiting her out isn;t going to be successful.

Given the situation, I really don;t see much alternative other than a bit of insecticide and some caulk. They will protect their nest, to their death.

a few bits of bee trivia:


a honeybee will die after stinging.

Only the females have stingers.

All the males are good for is sex

honeybees are our greatest pollinator and the decimation currently happening may cause a serious problem for us.
 
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Old 04-19-08, 12:40 PM
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While we generally think of a queen bee relocating with a cluster of bees. It is my possible that these may be some disoriented worker bees. Bees can get disoriented due to wind/weather, insecticides, disappearance of colony due to disease, malnutrition, mites or other reason. There is some research that supports cell phones can disorient bees.

Scout bees are sent out in search of a new nesting site that must accommodate about 6 1/2 gallons. If the posts are large enough, it is possible for the bees to choose such a site no matter how strange it may seem. Otherwise, I am at a loss.

The gaps should be sealed to keep out bees, spiders, and other potentially harmful insects to little hands when travelling up and down the steps. Dead bees should pose no odor problem. Insecticide dust like Sevin can be puffed in openings. Gaps can be sealed with silicone caulk. If post is paintable, use paintable silicone caulk.
 
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Old 04-19-08, 01:46 PM
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So one thing that's odd about their choice of location is that the ballusters (the vertical posts with the interior comb picture that I posted above) are not connected to one another:

To get from one to another the bees need to fly out and to the next one. From my limited understanding of how they nest, I thought it was in more of a collective network, so it seems like this would not be a particularly suitable place.

I've seen them going in and out of maybe 20 different spots along the rails . . . maybe I've attracted the first set of *anti*social bees.

So it sounds like there's not a good trapping option for these guys then . . .
 
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Old 04-19-08, 06:18 PM
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Most peculiar, indeed! Bee condo not colony. Female worker bees with anti-social bee-havior rebels against queen bee. Coup leads to condo bee colony in colonial casing where conked by caulk.

A bee colony works as one for the interests of the colony. It is run like a police state by the Queen Bee. Much like Communism, but not corrupted because bees can't be corrupted. Female worker bees are not allowed to reproduce. If they lay eggs, they are destroyed by fellow workers or Queen Bee.
 
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