Bees are the worlds most important pollinator. Period. Without them, many fruits and seeds would not be produced. Bee populations have been threatened by chemicals, disease, and habitat destruction. With limited areas within the city to live, bees will sometimes swarm to unlikely locations, such as backyard trees, under house eaves, sheds and become a bit of a pest to homeowners.
Luckily for us and the bees, help and relocation services are readily available! Those who notice bees swarming somewhere maybe they shouldn't be are encouraged to contact Lethbridge Bee Enthusiasts, who will assess and move the bees.
Bee or Wasp?
As Alberta is home to many flying, stinging, black and yellow insects, our lovable bees can sometimes be confused with their grouchier cousins, the wasp.
Here are a few distinguishing features to help you know the difference:
| || Bees|| Wasps|
|Body Type||Bees have round, hairy, brightly colored bodies with flat, fuzzy legs. ||Wasps have smooth, cylindrical bodies with thin legs. |
|Behavior||Less aggressive, only sting when threatened.||More aggressive than bees, may sting multiple times, sometimes without provocation.|
|Feeding Habit||Pollinators - collect nectar and pollen from flowers.||Omnivorous - depending on species, wasps may eat other insects and their larvae, carrion, wood, nectar, and sugar from any source they can find.|
|Nesting Habits||Honeybees live in waxy, hexagonal hives that may hang in trees or be located inside tree hollows. |
Bumblebees live in or near the ground, burrowing in old animal dens, flower pots or even old shoes.
Wasps can burrow into woody structures, produce mud or papery nests or burrow into the ground.
Honeybee hives generally contain 20,000 - 60,000 individuals.
Bumblebee nests are much smaller, with 40-100 bees per nest.
Wasp numbers vary greatly, nests can contain anywhere from 6 to more than 3000 wasps depending on the size.
For more information about bees, how to help, and local events and workshops showcasing bees, visit Lethbridge Bee Enthusiasts