We do not offer a pest control service for bees.
The British Beekeepers Association have volunteers who may be able to help if you have a swarm of honey bees.
1. How can I identify a bee?
Bumble Bees are black and yellow with hairy bodies and are usually between 19mm and 38mm in size.
The Bumble Bee will make its home in a variety of places including, bird boxes, compost heaps, and abandoned mouse holes in the ground.
They are less aggressive than Honey bees and do not generally attack humans unless they are threatened. Bumble Bees do no loose their sting and will die if they use it.
Bumble Bees spend heir days collecting pollen from flowers to take back to the hive.
If you encounter a Bumble Bee, don't wave your arms about. Stand quietly, and once it realises you are not a flower it will move on
A Honey Bee is covered with short, dense hair, normally golden-brown and black in colour.
They like to live around flowers and flowering trees.
Honey Bees have a barbed sting that becomes detached along with a venom sac
Ground or Mining Bee
These bees vary considerably in appearance as there are so many different types in the UK alone.
They like sandy soils and little can be done to discourage them other than altering the texture of the soil by adding large amounts of peat or other composts but not sand. You will often see these bees coming out of holes in the lawn or at the bottom of the garden. These bees rarely sting.
The masonry bee will normally live in the ground, but is also known to live within the soft mortar between the bricks in a wall as it is unable to distinguish between mortar and its natural habitat.
Although these bees have a sting it cannot penetrate the human skin so it is not considered a public hazard.
2. What is the life cycle of a Bumble Bee?
Whilst the Honey Bee remains active throughout the entire year, the Bumble Bee usually hibernates during winter.
Every autumn as the first frost begins, the mated young queens seek out a place to hibernate in safety until the spring.
In the first warm days of spring you may see the large queens flying busily about the early bulbs and flowers. These large slow bees are searching for nectar and pollen to turn into honey and food for their newly hatching brood.
The queen will also be looking for a suitable place to build her nest. Sites such as the leaf litter at the bottom of a hedge, an old mouse hole, a cool dark place under a large stone or under the wooden floor of a garden shed are common.
The queen begins a new nest with a ball of pollen and wax into which she lays just a few (approx 6) eggs at a time. When the eggs hatch they try to eat their way through the pollen reserve but the queen continually adds to the pollen and wax sealing them in. Eventually they emerge a few days later as fully-grown worker bees. As soon as they dry their wings the worker bees begin work to support the colony and their queen.
The queen continues to lay eggs which takes more and more of her time, so the pollen and nectar collection is delegated to the workers whilst the queen spends her time in the nest. This co-operation continues throughout the high days of late spring and summer.
The queen will now lay eggs destined to become next years queen bees as well as drones (male bees). The drones once hatched leave the nest and live independent lives, their only purpose being to mate with the young queens to ensure the survival of the species.
Come the first sharp drop in temperature and frosts the old queen, her workers and the independent drones will die. Only the newly mated queens will survive in hibernation to begin the cycle again the following spring.
3. What is the significance of a bee?
Bees make an important contribution to the sustainability of the countryside, contributing both to agriculture and horticulture and to biodiversity. They also produce honey and other hive products..
4. What should I do if I find a bee's nest?
Try not to disturb it. Remember if it's a Bumble Bee nest, it will die out with the first frosts and can then be safely removed.
5. Why would I find a swarm of bees in my garden?
Most Honey Bees in the UK live in man made hives but occasionally swarms of Bees can be seen and found in gardens and around people's homes typically during May, June and July. Swarms are sometimes found in trees, on buildings and around chimneys, but if left alone they will usually present no risk to either animal or man. Swarms, which are found away from the hive, are usually looking for a new home or resting during this search and will move on after a day or so if the location is not suitable.
If you are concerned about a swarm of Honey Bees on your property, you can visit The British Beekeepers Association to find a local, registered swarm collector.