If you ask a group of people what type of insect they’re most scared of, they’ll probably tell you a bee. It’s not because they’re big and ferocious creatures, but because a bee sting really hurts. Even though these little guys get a bad rep, they’re not out to sting people – unless of course, they’re threatened. In fact, some bees don’t sting at all! Before you go swatting at our honey makers, check out this guide on which types of bees sting.
Appearance: Fuzzy with black and yellow markings
Nest: Built out of pollen clumps in the ground or inside an abandoned mouse nest
Bumblebees are the fuzzy bees you see roaming around your gardens. They’re considered a beneficial insect because they contribute a lot to pollination. These little guys are pretty mellow and won’t go out of their way to sting you. As long as you aren’t bothering them, they won’t bother you. Just remember, they may be mellow, but if threatened, they aren’t afraid to fight back.
Sting: Males: No
Appearance: Resembles a bumblebee, but the top of the abdomen is bare and shiny
Nest: Colonies are bore into wood, typically decaying or weathered wood, but sometimes newly painted wood
Carpenter bees are the bees you have to watch out for. If you see these little guys hanging around your home, it’s time to call in the pros. Carpenter bees can cause some serious structural damage to your home if not eliminated. Plus, they can be pretty aggressive. But don’t worry, they’re all bark and no bite. Male carpenter bees can be territorial and are known for getting in your face when angry, but it’s all for show – they don’t have a stinger. Females, on the other hand, can sting, but they rarely do.
Appearance: Orangish brown or black
Nest: Hives filled with 20,000 – 80,000 individuals
Honey bees are social insects and are not aggressive at all. These busy bees spend a lot of their time making their honey and socializing with their ‘coworkers.’ The only time you have to worry about getting stung by a honey bee is if you threaten the colony. Think of them as a defensive player – they’ll only fight back if you give them a reason to.
Appearance: Yellow and black pattern
Nest: Constructed of paper carton and can grow to be basketball-sized
Yellow jackets are considered beneficial insects because they’re known to control many other species of pests (thanks, guys). These bees are slow to sting, but if they do, be prepared for it to hurt. Make sure to watch your step when wandering around in a new area. These are the bees that have nests in the ground that are easy to step on. If you mistake the nest for a rock, run for the hills, because a swarm of these guys is sure to follow.
Even though bees are usually our friends (and very important to our ecosystem), you don’t want to deal with them when they’re angry. The best way to keep yourself from getting stung is to be proactive. If you see a nest around your home, call in the pros. It’s better to safely take care of the nest before it becomes an issue!