Why Do Bees Go in My Air Conditioner?

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Bees find conditions favourable inside an air conditioner.
Bees find conditions favourable inside an air conditioner. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Bees belong to the insect group Hymenoptera, containing about 3500 North American species. They nest in a variety of habitats, including underground or in cavities on trees, buildings and other structures. The design of an air conditioner makes it attractive to these insects as it provides conditions necessary for breeding and survival.

Bees

Many wasps and flies resemble bees, but there are identifying body forms that distinguish the bees from similar insects. Their body is covered with hairs to aid in the transfer and collection of pollen in flowers. The first segment of the hind leg is large and somewhat flattened, again to assist with pollen collection. Tongue structure and vein patterns in the four membranous wings are further indicators of particular species. Identification of the bee is helpful in determining the appropriate treatment for its removal.

Bee Habits

Two species of bee, the honey bee and bumble bee, are social insects. The rest are solitary. Members of social insect colonies have specific roles and perform various duties within the group. A group of bees living inside an air conditioner indicates that they are social. To establish a new colony, the queen and a group of worker honey bees seek out a suitable place to nest. They then convince other workers to join them by communicating the location and suitability of the nest through a waggle dance display. Bumble bee queens seek out new nesting sites on their own, without the assistance of workers.

Bees perform a waggle dance to communicate the location of a nest.
Bees perform a waggle dance to communicate the location of a nest. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Air Conditioners

The inside of an air conditioning unit makes a suitable nesting site for social bees. The operation of the unit creates heat, keeping the colony warm. There is ample space for growth of the colony and protection from predators. The baffled construction of the air intake portion of the unit makes it easy for the insects to attach their breeding cells.

Solutions

Use extreme caution when attempting to remove bees from an air conditioner. Make sure to read labels and be aware of environmental effects before spraying insecticides into your air conditioner. These chemicals can enter your home and be disbursed throughout the inside air. Treatment at night is recommended as the insects are less active. Since bees can be dangerous, particularly to those with an allergy to bee venom, consider using a professional pest control company to remove bees from an air conditioner.

References

  • "A Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico"; D.J. Borror, et al.; 1970
  • "The Insects: An Outline of Entomology"; P.J. Gullan, et al.; 1994
  • “The Handy Bug Answer Book”; Gilbert Waldbauer; 1998
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