Bee Swarms

Honey Bee Swarm

When Honey Bees swarm they initially form a clump of bees hanging off something suitable such as pergolas, tree branches, hedges, lamp posts and other street furniture, walls or even sometimes cars and bicycles.

At this stage the colony is headed by a queen that is either mated or a virgin and a large number of worker bees, from a few thousand to 20,000+ depending on the size of colony they came from.

This is the time Beekeepers find collecting them the easiest and they will collect them in a container, depending on the size of the swarm, either some sort of box or skep. The bees are then left on site until early evening when all the flying bees are back and they can all be taken away together. Sometimes due to where the swarm occurs this is not possible and they are taken straight away. The bees are normally quite docile and tend not to sting so it is safe for people to walk past. If not collected the bees will find themselves a new home, this can be somewhere like a hollow tree or chimneys/house soffits -not ideal for the house owner and difficult for the beekeeper to collect.


Wasp Nest

There are two main wasp species that cause problems in the UK. The German Wasp, Vespula Germanica and the Common Wasp, Vespula Vulgaris. German Wasps normally nest in the ground or in bushes, whereas the Common Wasp is more often found within structures created by man however, is also found in the ground and bushes. Dealing with wasp nests can be dangerous as they can sting multiple times unlike the bee and will attack anyone that ventures too near to their nest. A nest begins life the size of a small ball and after several months of growth the nest can get as big as several beach balls clumped together.

Beekeepers are not able to deal with Wasps as they tend to need to be exterminated and Beekeepers are not licensed to do this. Contact a pest control company or the Local Council.

Wasps have benefits to nature, they eat green and black fly helping gardeners and farmers.

Bumble Bee Nest

Nest sites vary between species, the more common preferring dry, dark cavities such as lofts, bird boxes, others prefer to nest in trees and bushes whilst others nest underground, all however avoid direct sunlight as that could cause overheating. Generally, the nest size is smaller than that of a Honey Bee nor is it organised into hexagonal combs but rather messily clustered together. Bumble Bees absorb heat from the weakest of sunlight due to their thicker insulation and therefore are active when Honey Bees will stay within the hive. Bumble Bees are social insects, forming colonies with a Queen, with the exception of the Cuckoo Bumble Bee, that invades nests killing the resident Queen and laying her own eggs.
As with wasps the nests break down in the autumn and the queens go on to hibernate.
For more information contact the Bumble Bee Conservation.

Hornet Nest

Often people fear the Hornet even more than they do wasps, probably due to its size. They are also branded as being an aggressive species with a dangerous and very painful sting.

Hornets build communal nests by chewing wood to make a papery pulp. Each nest has one queen, who lays eggs and is attended by workers.

Most species make exposed nests in trees and shrubs, but some (Vespa Orientalis) build their nests underground or in other cavities.

Nests die over the winter, with lone Queens hibernating in leaf litter or other insulated material until the Spring.

Beekeepers are unable to assist with the removal of Hornet nests.

Please see below for information on the Asian Hornet and identification sheet.

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