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Bees for your homestead

I just love what bees do! Not just honey bees for their honey and pollinating abilities, but also mason bees (pollinating), bumble bees, and more. If you don't intend to collect honey and just need pollinators, invite other kinds of bees onto your property.

From the website page: http://csweeney00lm.hubpages.com/hub/bee-types, here is a bit of information to get you started.

Bee Types Introduction

There are many different bee types. Some bees sting, others don't. Some live in trees, and some underground. On this page, I will talk about the 7 most common bee types and their habits as bees.

Bumble Bees

Bumble bees are known to fly around the flowers in your yard and garden in the spring and summer months. They spend most of their time pollinating plants and gathering nectar to make honey. However, they do not make anywhere near the amount of honey that honey bees do. Although bumble bees are not overly violent bee types, they will sting you if they feel threatened by you. Bumble Bees tend to make their nests in soft fluffy materials, like old patio furniture cushions, insulation, dried up leaves, etc.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are one of the bee types that you usually find flying around near your ice cream and lemonade outside during the spring and summer months. They are a hassle at barbecues too! They are named yellow jackets because of their distinctive yellow and black stripes. They nest in a football or teardrop shaped nest constructed by a grayish paper substance, which is actually created by the bees themselves by chewing little pieces of wood. Yellow jacket’s nests are usually found in trees, hanging under your deck outside, and sometimes even in the roof of your attic. If you hear any sort of rustling sound, be sure to have it checked out!
     
 

Yellow Jackets/Ground Bees

Another type of yellow jacket is the ground bee types. Like their name states, they live in a nest between 2 inches and 2 feet underground, many times in abandoned mole or mouse holes. You really need to watch out for these guys, especially when you’re mowing the grass. They do not like loud mowing sounds and can become angry very easily!
     
 

Wasps

Wasps pack the most painful punch when it comes to a sting. These bee types are known for their very thin body center and hanging legs when flying. They love nesting in attics, however, they nest anywhere, including shutters, grills, light fixtures, and mailboxes too.
     
 

Carpenter (Mason) Bees

Carpenter bees, often confused with bumble bees, are the bee types that chew through wood in a perfect circle, as if a carpenter had actually taken a drill and drilled right through. Inside the wood, they nest and lay eggs. Carpenter bees aren’t known to sting at all. However, the damage they can do to wood is outstanding, so if you think you have a carpenter bee problem, make sure you get that checked out.
     
 

Honey Bees

Honey bees are involved in the pollination of not only honey, but several other fruit and vegetable crops, and they are extremely important to the production of these crops. Honey bees nest many times with tens of thousands of other worker bees, gathering honey and bringing it back to honeycombs in their hive.
     
 

Hornets

Hornets are certainly the most easily-agitated of all the bee types. Not only will they sting you, they can spit venom at you too, which is very painful when the spit it in your eyes! Hornets nest in hives just like those of yellow jackets.


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Another good source is: http://www.bumblebee.org/OTHERbees.htm

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We do so love fresh raw honey. Good for cooking and eating, but also good for allergies, as medicine for abrasions, and digestion.

When we move to our new place in a year or two, we plan to have a "hive" of mason bees and a hive or two of honey bees. The fruit trees, brambles and veggies will be so happy!

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