Bees are often confused with wasps. They’re both flying insects and share similar coloring, so this confusion makes sense. You can tell them apart by remembering that wasps have narrow waists, while bees have thicker midsections. Some common types of bees you could encounter include:
- Honey bees: Honey Bees are orangish brown or black, and they’re 1⁄2 to5⁄8 inch long. As social insects, they live in large colonies with as many as 80,000 members.
- Bumble bees: These black and yellow bees are up to one inch long. Their round bodies are covered in hair, giving them an overall fuzzy appearance. They often live in abandoned mouse nests.
- Carpenter bees: Carpenter bees look like bumble bees, but they don’t have as much hair. The tops of their abdomens are shiny and bare. Unlike other bees, they don’t live in colonies or nests.
Bees are important pollinators, and many plants depend on bees to reproduce. While bees are essential to the ecosystem, they can pose threats to people.
If you get too close to a nest, bees can become defensive and attack. A single sting can be an emergency for someone who’s allergic, while a large number of bee stings can be serious for anyone. When bees are living in or around a home, it’s easy to inadvertently get too close.
Bees can pose risks to structures, too. Carpenter bees drill into wood to create galleries, and if a large number of bees is present, the damage can be serious. Honey bees may live inside buildings, and if these nests are abandoned, the honey and honeycomb will melt, causing damage to the walls.