Bees

Bees are not a pest, they are the main pollinators of many of our wildflowers, crops and vegetation.

Without bees these plants would struggle to reproduce and could result in other species being able to dominate our landscape. The countryside could lose its colour and diversity and many rare plants may disappear.

We promote the safeguarding and protection of all bees. We will never undertake a treatment unless the bees are a direct threat to human health.

Swarms

Honey bees can gather in extremely large numbers known as a swarm. This species is usually non aggressive when swarming and will only react if they believe the swarm is under threat.

We are committed to saving swarms and re-homing them in safe locations.

If you find a swarm –

do not panic

call us on 01482 300 300 to arrange for a bee keeper to collect the swarm (for use in their own hives) or to give you advice.

Bumble bees

Bumble bees are non aggressive and social insects. They are a large, hairy, black and yellow bee with a bumbling, clumsy flight.

Bumble bees rarely sting. They will only sting if they are handled roughly or feel threatened.

They never swarm or attack. They are more interested in going about their business pollinating the environment.

They usually die off by the end of September.

Bumble bees create nests which last one summer. The nests are a simple structure covered in moss and are usually located on the ground or under wood piles / sheds.

If you notice a bumble bee nest we recommend that you take no action as they are unlikely to cause you a problem. Nests can be moved but the bees often die as a result so this should always be a last resort.

Find out more about bee conservation on the Bumble Bee Conservation website

Honey bees

Like the other bees, honey bees are hugely beneficial to the environment. Honey bees have dark brown and black stripes as opposed to wasps which are bright yellow and black.

Only honey bees swarm. Swarms are caused when the population increases and a group of worker bees leave to form a new colony with a queen. This can appear as a mass of insects in mid air or gathered on a surface like a branch or fence, clinging to each other. They will remain here temporarily (this could be a few days) until the scout bees return with a new location. If the swarm is still there after a week it is unlikely that they will move on.

Masonry and mining bees

These bees are a non aggressive solitary bee. They are not a threat to human health as they do not sting (they do have a sting but it is unable to penetrate the skin).

Masonry and mining bees have a hairy body that appears brown and orange. Compared to a wasp they are fatter and do not have an elongated body.

Both species breed early and are active from March until the end of June. The bees will die off once egg laying is completed in June.

To lay their eggs masonry bees make small passages in the soft mortar of walls or occupy existing holes. They then seal the holes ready for new bees to emerge the following year. Mining bees have a similar practice but they prefer to lay their eggs in soil (preferring sandy areas).

Re-pointing or turning the soil once the eggs have hatched can prevent them laying more eggs.