Bees

Bee on a flower
  • Size: About 1.2 to 1.5 cm long
  • Color: Yellow and black
  • Distinctive Feature: Furry body, pollen collector, very important for the ecosystem
  • Habitat: Hives, wooden structures, tree cavities

Appearance of Bees

In Quebec, bees are primarily domestic species characterized by their furry bodies and yellow and black stripes. They measure approximately 15 mm in length. Their body is divided into three parts: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. Bees have six legs and two pairs of translucent wings. The head is equipped with sensory antennas and compound eyes. The thorax connects the wings and legs, while the abdomen contains vital organs and, in females, the venom gland.

Behavior of Bees

Bees are known for their crucial role in pollination. They visit flowers to collect nectar and pollen, contributing to plant reproduction. In flight, they can reach speeds of 25 km/h. Bees communicate with each other through “dances” that indicate the direction and distance of food sources. They live in structured colonies with a queen, workers, and males (drones). The colony works together to maintain the hive, feed the larvae, and protect the hive entrance from intruders.

Local Resources and Contact

For more information or to report the presence of bees requiring attention, please contact the Apiculturists of Quebec. They provide advice, resources, and can help to safely relocate bee swarms.

Distinguishing Bees from Other Insects

Identification of Wasps

Wasps

Wasps differ from bees by their more elongated and less hairy bodies. They have a narrow abdomen and a marked waist, unlike bees which have a more robust and hairy body. Wasps are also often more aggressive and can sting multiple times, whereas bees die after stinging once.

Identification of Bumblebees

Bumblebees

Bumblebees differ from bees in their larger size and their bulkier and fluffier bodies. They have a more “plush” appearance and are generally more peaceful. Bumblebees can also sting multiple times, unlike bees.

Identification of Hornets

Hornets

Hornets, particularly the Asian hornet, are significantly larger than bees. They have a more elongated body and a larger head. Their color varies, but they often have more pronounced markings on the body. Hornets are known for their aggressiveness, especially when defending their nest.

Identification of Black Wasps

Black Wasps

Black wasps, or carpenter wasps, are larger than bees and have a shiny black body with blue or purple reflections. They do not possess the typical yellow stripes of bees and are solitary, not building large colonies.

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