Spring in Arizona means wildflower season. With all the rain we had this winter, the desert has come alive with colors. And that means more bees flying around. If you have wildflowers in your yard—or in your neighborhood—you’re probably seeing more bees as well. While you want to have honeybees to pollinate, you don’t want carpenter or Africanized bees. If you’re spraying to get rid of them, are you killing honeybees?
Types of Bees in Arizona
There are three major types of bees in Arizona: honeybees, Africanized honeybees, and carpenter bees. On the surface, the first two look strikingly similar. We have been told to fear Africanized bees—sometimes called killer bees—but that’s not always warranted. While you probably don’t want them around your home, they’re not significantly different from honeybees.
The biggest issue with Africanized bees is that they are aggressive. However, they only attack when they are provoked or their colony is threatened. Of course, they could feel threatened when your children run by a bush where they live.
Carpenter bees look very different from honeybees, and while they do sting, that’s an annoyance compared with the damage they can cause. Carpenter bees eat wood. Much like termites, these buzzers can cause concern to homeowners.
Honeybees are the helpful, friendly bees that just want to pollinate and make honey. Don’t get too comfortable, though; these bees will sting when angered. They just won’t go on a rampage like Africanized bees will.
Which Bees Are Which?
Since honeybees and Africanized bees look pretty much the same, you could be spraying and inadvertently killing honeybees. Only a trained entomologist can tell them apart. It’s best to decide whether or not to spray based upon the threat level the bees are to your family.
Carpenter bees are much larger than honeybees. They are either solid black or solid gold. They do not possess the stereotypical black and gold coloring we associate with honeybees.
How to Avoid Killing Honeybees
Seven species of bees are currently on the endangered species list in the US. Right now, the honeybee is not among them, but we still don’t want to be killing honeybees if that can be avoided. There are a few ways to accomplish this if you are spraying:
- Spray insecticides in the evenings when bees are less active.
- Avoid spraying the blooms of flowers, where honeybees gather nectar.
- Choose the right pesticide formulation, such as solutions and emulsifiable concentrates.
- Use less toxic, faster degrading pesticides.
- Don’t spray on windy days, as the pesticide can spread rapidly.
If you have a bee problem on your property and don’t want to risk killing honeybees, your best option is to call a professional. Budget Brothers knows how to get rid of carpenter and Africanized bees. Contact us to learn more!