Nature, Uncategorized

Bees in Washington State – What You Should Know

There are bees everywhere in Washington State. Mostly Honey Bees, Bumble Bees, Mason Bees, and Sweat bees.


Honey Bees

The familiar mental image that comes to mind when you think of bees is typically the honey bees. We often associate bees with honey that we usually enjoy with our food. However, only one kind of bee actually makes them, as obviously as their name states it. Moreover, these are among the most commonly encountered bees in Washington as well.


Honey bees use nectar and pollen that they get from flowers, which enable them to make honeycombs filled with honey by working in perennial colonies. This activity simultaneously ensures pollination of flowering plants, too, which one-third of our food supply depends on. Their robust and fuzzy bodies also make it convenient for them to enhance pollen-gathering.


More than that, their nests are often situated in the crevices of large trees or any discreet and protected area.


As honey bees like to spend most of their time around flowers, it’s best to consider positioning your garden away from high-traffic areas like doorways or walkways. This is because even though honey bees are tame and docile, they can sting if their hive is disturbed.

Despite this, the sting is only threatening if you’re allergic and is actually more likely to harm the bee itself than you. Stinging forces the bees’ stinger to be ripped away from their body, eventually killing the bee.


If perchance you get an allergy caused by a bee sting, it may be worse than the usual pain you might experience. In this case, you should consult the attention of medical attention should you experience severe effects after such an occurrence.


Bumble Bees

Like honey bees, these species are also the most common in the state of Washington. As they are fuzzy creatures, they may appear to be less threatening initially. However, bumblebees might give you a bit of a shock when they hover near you since they’re about one inche in length. Also, similar to honey bees, they tend to be aggressive when they feel like their colonies are threatened. In turn, they might sting in defense.

However, unlike the bees mentioned earlier, bumble bees can sting as many times as they want. Because of this matter, it’s best to leave the handling of a bumble bee colony to a pest professional.


They often build their nests in small cavities or crevices within walls and even in burrows abandoned by mice. If your home area has such places, it might be at risk of a bumble bee infestation.


Mason bees

Unlike other bees, Mason bees are solitary creatures since they tend to nest alone instead of being in a hive. However, with their efficiency in pollinating, they take it to a new level by making it relatively easier and faster. Compared to 360 honey bees needed to pollinate the entirety of a tree, it would only take six mason bees to complete the job.



As these bees tend to tolerate cooler temperatures better, they emerge from their hiding spots in early spring even before honey bees can. Since they often use mud and dirt to wall their eggs up, you can control mason bees by covering these areas with mulch.


Male mason bees do not possess any stingers, unlike female species that usually sting only when trapped. Nonetheless, they possess little-to-no threats to human beings. Furthermore, the lifespan of mason bees only extends up to three months, which means they won’t be there for very long.


Sweat bees

Compared to the other bees already mentioned, these bees are smaller in size. They tend to prefer being alone and are ground nesters as well. While there are many varieties of sweat bees, one characteristic that makes them distinct from other species is their metallic color.


Sweat bees aren’t something people should worry about since they’re not the aggressive type. However, they are attracted to human sweat, so they might sting if you attempt to brush these tiny pests off. The only upside is that, unlike other bees, their stings don’t usually hurt that much, even ranking a Level 1 pain at the Schmidt Sting Pain index.


Since these bees like to nest on the ground, one way to keep them from nesting in your area is to remove empty patches of soil located in your yard.


How to Keep Bees Away

Some of the things you could at least prevent from attracting bees are to avoid dressing in vibrant colors and wearing fragrant perfumes outdoors. Doing this enables bees to confuse you with a flower which prompts them to hover around you. Moreover, it would be best if you also remembered to cover the food and drink you’re consuming when you’re outside and cleaning up after them once you’re finished.


Bees are among the species that the food supply relies on since they facilitate insect pollination. It’s key to remember that if you don’t bother bees, then they won’t bother you as well.