Honey bees are an incredibly important part of our ecosystem, performing vital functions in crops such as pollination and producing honey; so, it is essential that we protect them where possible. Sadly, honey bee populations have been declining alarmingly since records began, so generally I would strongly recommend against using any form of insecticide in and around honey bees. If you are lucky enough to have honey bees on your property, commemorating that accomplishment is not only rewarding but can also contribute to larger scale conservation efforts. After all, caring for honey bees at a micro level helps to conserve their numbers on a global scale.
Wild Honey Bee Habitat
Honey bees are an incredible species that thrive in the wild. Honey bee hives consist of thousands of bees living together in wax honeycombs, with a single queen bee laying eggs while the workers tend to the young. Honey bee colonies often live in wooded areas and every year, a new queen will either replace her mother or establish her own colony elsewhere. Honey bees have unique nesting behaviours since they typically prefer to nest in a sheltered area or cavity that has an access hole no larger than a pencil eraser, but if this isn’t available, honey bees are also known for constructing comb out in the open on thicker tree branches or rocky environments. This is a remarkable example of honey bee adaptation and resilience.
Do Honey Bees Sting?
The honey bee is such a small organism yet it can deliver an incredibly painful sting! Honey bee stings create an instant burning sensation that can be felt for days on end. Although the majority of people can withstand a honey bee sting without serious consequences, there is a small percentage of people who are allergic and may suffer life-threatening reactions to its venom. Honey bees typically utilise their stingers as a form of defence, either to defend themselves or their colony from predators.
How Honey Bees Pollinate
While sweet treats may smell delectable to these hardworking honey bees, they primarily collect pollen and nectar from flowers for fuel. Nectar is a sugary liquid secreted by flowers to attract certain animals and honey bees will gather this sweet substance to bring back to their hive. Once at the colony, worker bees process the nectar into honey and feed it to other members of the community.
What To Do With Honey Bee Hives
Honey bee colonies require extra protection and provide special challenges when they need to be removed from residential or public areas. Fortunately, there are options available for individuals who discover honey bee hives on their property and wish to have them safely removed.
In the meantime, if honey bees start to gain entry into your property and become aggressive, please ensure you immediately attempt to seal any entry points. It’s best to keep a safe distance and fence off the area to ensure no one is stung. Honey bees don’t attack if unprovoked; however, the risk of being stung is greater when people and animals get too close. Enjoying the honey bee from a distance can be a great educational experience for young children. Honey bee watching allows us to observe and appreciate their behaviour safely, while also learning more about their importance in our environment.