Bees - Wasps



Honey Bee: Apis mellifera
Appearance: Up to 5/8 inch long; reddish-brown and black with paler, orange-yellow rings on abdomen; two pairs of wings.
Habits: Very social; hive in hollow trees and in hives kept by beekeepers; pollinate crops and produce honey.
Diet: Adults drink nectar and eat honey.
Reproduction: Queen lays eggs at intervals, producing colonies of 60,000 to 80,000 members; life span is usually two to three years for the queen; drones die after mating.
Other Information: Workers have a stinger that is used when colony is threatened; members of hive pass food to one another mixed with saliva to form a chemical bond.



Carpenter Bee: Genus Xylocopa
Appearance: Large, about one inch, resemble bumble-bees; some species may have a blue-black, green or purple metallic sheen; no hair on abdomen.
Habits: Often burrow into the exposed, unfinished dry wood of buildings, telephone poles, fence posts and bridges; prefer softer woods for nesting; not social insects, although individuals may establish burrows close to each other.
Diet: Pollen and nectar.
Reproduction: Complete one generation per year in most of the U.S.; mature from egg to adult in from 84 to 99 days; female furnishes nest with "bee bread," a mixture of pollen and regurgitated nectar, and lays an egg on top of it.
Other Information: Damage to wood from a pair of bees is slight, but a larger number can, over a period of time, cause considerable damage; do not sting; make loud buzzing noise when flying.



Wasps: Order Hymenoptera
Appearance: Variety of shapes and colors; can be distinguished form bees by their smooth, rather than hairy, bodies; 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch long.
Habits: Exhibit predatory and scavenging behavior; some species are solitary, while others live in colonies which may number thousands of individuals.
Diet: Primarily protein such as spiders and soft-bodied insects, and small animals.
Reproduction: Social wasps begin a nest with one queen laying all eggs for colony; if a queen dies, a worker can take over egg-laying function until colony produces new queen.
Other Information: Very protective of their nests; will defend against invaders with painful stings.



Bee: Order Hymenoptera
Appearance: Most species of concern to man have yellow and black coloring; seven-sixteenths to five-eighths inch long; appear to have hairy bodies.
Habits: Live in colonies of 20,000 to 80,000 individuals; will leave humans alone if not provoked.
Diet: Nectar and pollen.
Reproduction: Only one egg-laying queen in a hive; queen may live as long as five years and lay as many as 1,500 to 2,000 eggs per day; worker females protect eggs and the young; drones' only duty is to mate with queen, after which they die.
Other Information: Stings can be painful, but are harmless to most people; however, dangerous allergic reactions can occur.

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