According to the University of Colorado, there are more than 19,500 different kinds of bees in the world, and in North America alone, there are approximately 3,500 different species. In 2011, the university conducted a survey of bees in the state of Colorado, and the “Colorado Bee List” documents nearly 950 kids of bees living in the state. While these common insects may be most well-known for their painful sting, bees play an important role in our ecosystem that you may not know about.
For example, did you know that bees are in charge of helping trees, plants, and flowers grow throughout the state of Colorado? From Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs, bees are responsible for pollinating 75% of our greenery. Across the U.S., bees help more than $15 billion in crops grow each year — helping our agricultural industry feed America.
The most famous kind of stinging insect here in the U.S., the honeybee, isn’t actually native to our area. It was brought to the U.S. by European settlers a long time ago. Today, the honeybee and its other cousin-bee species that live here have an important role to play in keeping Colorado healthy. But we can all agree that their important role is best played outdoors! When bees and wasps come inside our homes, they can actually cause more problems than just a sting. Let’s take a look at how these insects harm homes in Colorado each year.
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Bees and wasps can damage Colorado homes
If you see a wasp nest on your porch or in a tree nearby your home, you may think first of the painful sting those insects can cause. For some family members and friends, bees and wasps carry another scary effect as well. For those who are allergic to bee and/or wasp stings, the threat of major health implications is very real.
Did you know that bees and wasps can also cause costly damage to your home? Unfortunately, bees can weaken a home’s foundation and even damage the structural integrity of the home by burrowing into wood building materials. They can also damage a home’s siding and joints, both costly to repair.
Another impact those of us living in Colorado have to think about when we see honeybees in our area is how the honey they make can attract other pests — including bears and other predators. Bears and other creatures found in the woods near our homes here in Colorado cause costly damage to homeowners every year. Ensuring you remove wasp and bee nests from your property quickly is one way to help prevent them.
How to find and remove bee and wasp hives
To protect your family against bee and wasp stings, ensure you aren’t attracting bears or other predators, and protect your home against the structural damage they cause, it’s important to identify and remove hives as soon as possible.
These are some of the most common places to find bee and wasp hives near your home:
- Look for yellow jackets below ground, burrowing into the home’s foundation.
- Find bumblebee nests at ground level as well, near the home’s foundation.
- Carpenter bees can be found drilling small holes into a home’s wood beams or siding materials.
- Yellow jackets and paper wasps build nests along the eaves of a home, attached to its gutters, or inside the attic.
- Honeybees can also nest inside the exterior walls of the home.
I found a nest — What’s inside it?
Here’s how to identify what type of hive you have discovered on your property and what exactly is living inside:
- Carpenter bees – These insects can cause major home damage by boring holes into the wood of exterior walls and a home’s siding. To identify them, look for larger-sized bees than common honeybees with a shiny black body. These bees don’t often sting; in fact, the males cannot.
- Bumblebees – These common bees create spherical nests at ground level or underground, near a home’s foundation. They have round bodies and can sting more than once when provoked.
- Honeybees – These bees build hives made up of hexagon honeycombs. They are small in size and fuzzy, with the common yellow and black stripes making them easy to spot. They can only sting one time.
- Yellow jackets – These wasps build their homes underground, hanging from eaves, or inside a home’s walls. The stinging pests have smooth, long bodies with bright stripes. They can be aggressive and they can sting predators more than once.
- Paper wasps – These wasps design open structures outdoors, usually on tree branches or attached to porches, gutters, or inside attics. They are black or dark brown with large wings.
Protecting your home against bees and wasps
Even if you are not allergic to bee stings, friends or visitors may be. That’s why it’s best to keep these insects outdoors and away from our homes. Some bee and wasp types, especially carpenter bees, can also cause pricey damage to homes when they build nests or attract predators.
To ensure your own home isn’t impacted, it’s important that all Colorado homeowners look for bee and wasp nests regularly throughout their home, from the attic to the foundation. In addition, look throughout your yard and property, including on tree branches and other outdoor structures. Call a removal specialist immediately if a nest is found. Don’t wait until expensive damage has already occurred to the home’s wood beams, siding, or foundation. Instead, call a pest removal specialist immediately to ensure the bees or wasps are safely and humanely removed.
In addition, if bees and wasps have built a home near your own, it’s important to ensure that damage to your home has not already been done. For a free home and foundation inspection and repair information if needed, contact Foundation Repair of Western Colorado today.