ADVICE ON BEES
There are 250 different types of bee in the UK, 12 of which are very common and 25% of which are on the endangered species list. There are bumble bees, solitary bees, cuckoo bees and of course honey bees.
In the spring, the bees come out of hibernation and start working. The solitary bees can group together on either walls or the ground, giving an impression of a nest, however they have all decided that one particular spot is the right one for them. These bees will only stay around for a few weeks, and in the case of masonry bees, will do very little harm to the fabric of the building.
Bumble bees can make their nests in the most obscure places, the ground, under the soffit boards, in the shed or just a suitable hole in a wall. I have even seen a nest inside an old tennis ball left under some shelving. Their nests are generally quite small, with an average population of 150 – 300 individuals. Depending on the variety of bumble bee, the whole nest generally dies during August. Again, these bees do not do any damage to the fabric of the building they are nesting in.
Bumble bees and solitary bees can sting, but are very very reluctant to do so,. If you get too close to their nest, they are much more likely to dive bomb rather than sting
Honey bees are the only insect that actually swarms. This can happen any time during the months of May, June or July and can be a frightening experience. This happens due to a colony of bees getting too large, a new queen is produced and one of them leaves with part of the colony. Due to never having left the nest before, the queen tires easily and the swarm can land anywhere. They can then stay for between 2 hours and 3 days before moving on. If the swarm is accessible, then this is when a bee keeper can collect them. They like to live, preferably in high places, such as chimneys. If the chimney is not being used, it is best to leave the bees alone. They will not do any harm or damage to the fabric of the building, however there may be the odd bee that comes down accidentally. There are several associated problems with killing bees in chimneys, firstly getting to the colony to put insecticide on them, then within 48 hours the access points need to be sealed in order to both prevent another swarm moving in and to stop other bees from other hives stealing the honey already laid down and subsequently coming into contact with the insecticide, taking it back to their own nest.
Due to the decline in bees over the past few years, we would encourage customers to leave the bees. If they are really causing a nuisance then we are willing to advise and if only absolutely necessary dispose of them.