Bees are from the Hymenoptera order and Apoidea super-family. All over the world, there are more than 20,000 species of bees. Their physical characteristics, including the size, may vary depending on the species. The smallest bee has a length of less than two millimeters while the largest is 3.9 centimeters. Their color is usually brown of black, with noticeable blue, red, or yellow stripes. There are some species that are solitary, but there are also some that are more social, such as in the case of bumblebees and honey bees. They are hairy, which is indicative of their function for pollen collection.
Various species of bees have different habitats. In the case of bumblebees, for instance, you can find them in patios, roof beams, attics, and decks. Meanwhile, carpenter bees survive in soft wood, which is where their lay their eggs and the larvae develop. For honeybees, their nests are in crevices of trees. Killer bees, on the other hand, are in empty crates, cars, and tires. In today’s time, the habitats of bees are undergoing severe threat. Aside from human destruction, climate change is also a major factor that has a negative impact on their habitats.
Identifying Bee’s Damage
Bees generally eat flowers for pollination. They suck out the nectars from these flowers. In most cases, they do not damage the plant. However, it is a different story in the case of leaf-cutting bees. This is one of the few species of bees with negative impacts in plants, such as bougainvillea, azalea, redbud, and rose.
It is seldom that bees will damage plants. In most cases, they are beneficial, especially because of their important role in pollination. With leaf-cutting bees, however, their only symptom is the cuts that they make in the leaves. They do not damage the entire leaf. They eat parts of it and use such for building their nests.
Results of Infestation
The infestation of bees does not result in significant damages in plants. Instead, they help them to pollinate. However, despite the fact that they can be beneficial in the garden, it is still important to stay away from them. A high population of bees can be annoying. They can sting or get in your ear. Especially when they are disturbed, they can be aggressive. With this, their infestation can be more of a nuisance for humans than danger for plants.
How to Get Rid of Bees
Natural and Organic Solutions
Below is a quick list of some of the solutions that can help to prevent and get rid of bees in a manner that is safe and natural:
- Trapping is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to deal with bees. For instance, for carpenter bees, you can use plastic bottles as a trap. Sticky glue traps will also be good, although it will not directly deal with the colony. Bug zappers can also be effective. Hang them in trees or places where bees are always flying around. Use a sweet scent as a bait to attract the bees.
- When talking about preventive measures, on the other hand, regular watering is a must. This is because ground bees prefer to nest in soil that is dry and sandy. When it is moist because of watering, it will be less attractive as a nesting spot.
- Instead of using pesticides with harsh chemicals, there are natural alternatives that you might want to consider. One of the perfect examples is a simple vinegar mix. In a spray bottle, fill half part with water and half part with vinegar. Look for the nesting place of bees and spray the mixture when the bees are resting. Protective clothing is necessary to prevent stings. Aside from the nests, you can also spray the mixture in places where bees are frequent.
- Cinnamon is another great alternative for natural bee deterrent. All you have to do is sprinkle ground cinnamon on the ground. It has a strong scent that will drive the bees away from your property. Peppermint, crushed garlic, and cucumber peel will also do the trick.
- Attacking the source or the nest is also possible with the use of soapy mint water. Bring water with mint and soap to a boil. Be sure to protect yourself. Also, it is best to do it at night as this is the time when bees are inside the nest and they are not aggressive. Pour the boiling water in the nest.
- There are plants that can attract bees. There are also some that can repel them. To prevent the infestation of bees, grow plants that will be repellent. Mint, wormwood, eucalyptus, and citronella are some of the classic examples of plants that will repel bees.
If the natural methods above did not work, chemical solutions can offer the next best alternative. Nonetheless, if possible, stay away from using chemicals because of the toxic ingredients that can harm not only bees, but animals and insects as well. For a safe application, follow the instructions from the manufacturer and use protective clothing. It is also best to use professional services as they have the expertise that is necessary.
Among the chemicals that you can use for bees, carbaryl is one of the most common active ingredients. A good example of a brand using the latter is Sevin. Once the poison gets in contact with the bees, they will die within two to three days. Carbofuran, an active ingredient of Furadan, is another chemical for getting rid of bees. However, keep in mind that it some countries, the use of this is not allowed in crops that are intended for human consumption because it is toxic.