Ask a Question forum: Black Bees

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San Pablo, CA
boogsmom
Jun 28, 2017 8:30 AM CST
I have noticed black bees that look like bumble bees with no yellow. Their body is shiny. They are out collecting pollen like a honeybee. This is the first year I have seen these bees. Are they harmful to the honey bees or our environment?
I live in the California East Bay Area.
Thumb of 2017-06-28/boogsmom/47eedb

Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 28, 2017 8:59 AM CST
They're what's been known for years now as "Africanized" bees. The dreaded African "killer bees" of years ago have bred with our domestic bees to the point that most wild bees in North America now are crosses. These black bees do the same good work as a regular honey bee.

Just stay far away if you notice a nest of any wild bees because they will swarm and come after you. Not just the black ones, any bees. Run away, go indoors, jump in a pool or hose yourself off if they get on you. Usually they won't chase you more than 100yd. or so away from their nest.

Yesterday we had a story on the news of a family's dog that was stung by a swarm of bees and died. The teenage kids watched it happen (I have to wonder why somebody didn't get out the hose and try to help but . . . I guess they were afraid). Shrug! Crying
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Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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Zencat
Jun 28, 2017 9:19 AM CST
I don't think it's an africanized bee. I think it's either a carpenter bee or something related.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jun 28, 2017 9:29 AM CST
Those guys, have been around, before African bees ever got to the US. There called "drone bees"
They don't make hives, or live in colonys. They live solitary.
I hear tell, they don't have stingers.
Butt !!! I'm to chicken, to grab one.
Sometimes, when im picking garden, one will, buzz by my head.
There just like a honeybee.
I don't bother them ! They don't bother me !
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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 28, 2017 10:35 AM CST
They are Carpenter Bees. They are beneficial and harmless but, if they take a liking to your house, you won't think so.
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 28, 2017 11:23 AM CST
Might bee (couldn't resist) but that one in OP's picture seems to be all black. Carpenter bees have yellow on the head and thorax more like a bumble bee. https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/...
Elaine

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Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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KentPfeiffer
Jun 28, 2017 11:38 AM CST

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There are many species of carpenter bee, several of which are all black with no yellow markings.

Africanized honey bees are pretty much indistinguishable, in appearance at least, from the European honey bee. Even entomologists have to resort to DNA tests to be certain if they are dealing with Africanized bees or "normal" honey bees.
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Jun 28, 2017 11:42 AM CST

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Same big black carpenter bees I have here chewing in a spot under the eaves by my kitchen door. Not African bees.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 28, 2017 12:29 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:They're what's been known for years now as "Africanized" bees. The dreaded African "killer bees" of years ago have bred with our domestic bees to the point that most wild bees in North America now are crosses. These black bees do the same good work as a regular honey bee.


My understanding is that they are limited in their northern spread by an inability to tolerate cold, and that they only breed with honey bees (which are not native) rather than with the wild native bee species.

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 28, 2017 12:50 PM CST
The Africanized bees were first reported in California in, Mariposa Co, in 1995 but I think that was a fluke for two reasons:

1. Mariposa Co. is in the foothills with winter lows in the teen's. The bees might have been sighted there but didn't make it through the winter or were ID'd wrong.

2. No bees have been spotted in any of the counties around Mariposa Co. My hometown is located in Stanislaus Co which is lower and warmer (and right next door), and there have never been any sightings there.

The bees have been around since before 1995 but have not made any northern progress beyond Inyo, Tulare and Kings Co. since 2008.

California does have at least two varieties of Carpenter Bees, both black. All black.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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