This summer’s heat may have been one for the record books, but gardeners are looking to this fall to cultivate their homegrown crops. Nothing is more satisfying and tasty than planting, sowing and reaping all your favorite fruits and vegetables.

Bees, butterflies and birds are as much a part of a garden as what is grown there. Attracting insects and pollinators is sometimes encouraged. It’s when you see swarms of bees that you may want to call in the experts. The safest things to do are to stay away, do not provoke them and have them identified. Some swarms may appear frightening, but actually are extremely docile and only react  when angered. The same may not be true for Africanized honey bees or for any swarm of honey bees that has run out of food, as these aren’t nearly as predictable and can be very touchy, even as swarm clusters.

If you encounter a swarm that has landed in a tree, bush, fence, etc., they are just there temporarily while they scout out a permanent place to live. Stay patient and wait it out – they will most likely move on in a day or two. If they are in a structure or container, they are more liable to stay permanently and relocation is your best option.

How can you tell which California bees and “friendly” and which are not? Well, unless you are a trained professional, it could be difficult. If you are able to look at them through binoculars or a closeup camera lens, or happen to spot a dead soldier on the ground, maybe then you can identify the type they are and learn more about them.

Here are some buzzworthy fun facts about bees you may want to share at your next backyard barbecue:

  • There are 16,000 species.
  • After drones (male honeybees) mate with the queen, they die.
  • Bees “buzz” because their four wings move at 11,400 strokes per minute; they fly an average of 15 mph.
  • Bees have an exceptional sense of smell.
  • Researchers discovered a bee fossil that’s 100 million years old.
  • Bees have 5 eyes.
  • Bees use the sun to help them navigate.

Lately, the natural power of the African honey bees are being used to benefit forests in Kenya. The Loitokitok Community Forest Association has embarked on a ‘Bees for the forests’ project, which incorporates the knowledge and skills of local people to support livelihoods, boost the local economy, enhance environmental stewardship and – ultimately – help conserve the wider forest ecosystem.

Whether they are in your garden or a forest in Kenya, bees can have a positive effect. It’s when you provoke the wrong type of bee species that things can take a deadly turn for the worse!

If you are experiencing bee issues in your home or garden, be sure to get professional bee control help.

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