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Bees: the complete guide

Bees are beneficial for our environment. They pollinate many crops that humans consume daily and help our ecosystem flourish. However, having bees on your property can be a nuisance and can pose potential health risks if you or a family member is allergic to bees. Knowing the different bee species and understanding their behaviors is critical in developing the proper bee control strategy.

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Bee control and removal

Protect yourself from bees


What does a bee look like?

  • Size: .08” - 1.5”
  • Color: Black or brown with golden yellow stripes
  • Body: Oval-shaped



What you need to know about bees

Though some characteristics and habits of bees vary from species to species, like pollination, there are a few things that are consistent across all species, like their lifecycle stages.


Every bee colony contains a queen bee and worker bees, and sometimes drone bees. Bees are classified as either solitary or social. Solitary bees live in small colonies and are very independent. They prefer to fly alone and have just enough resources for themselves. Social bees, on the other hand, form large colonies, and their hives contain many bees.


The bee development process can vary between bee species and each species develops at a different pace. However, all bees go through three stages before becoming an adult. Every bee begins as an egg. After an egg hatches, it turns into larvae, then pupae, then into an adult.


Most of the fruit crops that we eat require pollination from bees for growth. When a bee lands on a flower, it transfers pollen from the male parts of a flower to the female parts of the flower, resulting in the plant's fertilization.

Types of bees on west coast

There are over 20,000 bee species in the world. Below are the most common bee species that homeowners come in contact with in the Western United States.

Africanized honey bees

These bees are an aggressive hybrid bee species that attack anything that threatens them.

Bumble bees

Bumble bees are one of the smaller bee species. They have little interest in stinging people unless they feel threatened.

Carpenter bees

Carpenter bees are the least aggressive when it comes to stinging, but they can cause the most damage to your home.

Honey bees

Honey bees are the most common bee species. They are essential to the environment and help our ecosystem flourish.

Why are bees important

Pollination is the main reason bees are so important to our ecosystem. Pollination is extremely valuable to crop growth, quality, and quantity. Without bees, many of the crops in this world would not flourish and we would miss out on nutritious foods like apples, berries, and broccoli.

Are bees endangered?

Climate change and various human activities are causing some bee species to become endangered. Harsh winters, rising temperatures, floods, and droughts all affect bees’ ecosystems, slowly destroying their habitats and resources.

Are bees endangered?

Frequently asked questions

Do all bees sting?

No. Many bee species have stingers and will sting if they feel threatened, but not all bees sting.

How do bees make honey?

Before nectar becomes honey, it enters a bee's stomach. Glucose oxidase, an enzyme in a bee’s stomach, breaks down the nectar and helps produce the honey.
The honeybee regurgitates the nectar from the stomach and passes it mouth–to–mouth between the hive's bees to reduce its moisture content. Each bee will chew on the nectar for about 30 minutes.
When the nectar's moisture content has been reduced from around 70% to about 20%, it has reached the state that it becomes the honey we consume. The honey is stored in cells within the hive and covered with a wax seal.

What’s the difference between bees and wasps?

The main difference between bees and wasps is their body shape and characteristics. Bees have hair on their bodies and flat legs whereas wasps have smooth bodies and narrow legs.

Do all bees pollinate?

All bees pollinate, but not all bee species pollinate the food that we eat. Research has shown that 80% of pollination is done by commercial honeybees while the remaining is done by various wild bee species. The list of pollinators includes hummingbirds, flies, moths, wasps, beetles, bats, and butterflies among many others

Read more about bees

It's important to have the proper information about bees before taking action. Read some of our blog posts for localized information about bees along with other tips on how to identify different kinds of bees.

How to keep bees away from the pool

5 most common bees in the Pacific Northwest

A wasp, a bee, or a hornet? It makes a difference.

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