A friend in Berkshire had a hornets nest a foot above her back door. Not
one ever came in the house, or came anywhere near the occupants
(including 2 young children). They didn't seem to go through that dopey
stage in the autumn either
There are 30+ bees native to the UK. While you may find honey bees in
colonies of 100,000s most social bees will have colonies of 200 or fewer.
I have mason bees (nothing to with masonry) which are completely
harmless and safe with kids (they do have a minor sting but are ultra
docile). They don't swarm or have a queen because they are solitary,
although many hundreds will nest in the same location. They don't
produce honey but arguably they pollinate more plants than bees kept for
My collection hasn't done too well this year - one hot spell and a lot
emerged followed by a couple of weeks of very cold and wet weather. Of
the potential thousands of bees in the tubes I currently have a few
dozen working hard providing for next year's generation.
They make five or six chambers in each tube using mud (red mason) or
chewed up vegetation (blue mason) and lay an egg in each with a large
stock of pollen as food for their offspring.
On Fri, 07 Jun 2013 17:25:53 +0100, Rick Hughes wrote:
Again they'll only have a go if you threaten them. Screaming,
shouting and waving ones arms trying to knock 'em out of the air is a
threat. Just sit quietly but keep an eye out for 'em so you don't
accidentally squish one. They'll fly about for a bit but if they
don't find anything interesting, like food, they'll soon buzz off.
Wasps will also get through a significant number of garden pests as
well. So unless they have decided to build their nest in an
inconvenient location let them live.
My standard thing with a wasp is to hit her _away_ from anyone - this
seems to scare them and they fly off. My dad's trick was to clap his
hands on them, then immediately open his hands, letting the dying wasp
drop before she can sting. I never liked that approach :)
Use this for identification
If they are bumbles then they could be in an old mouse nest. No chance of
anything but a thimble full of honey. Maximum number of maybe 50 bees.
If they are honey bees then they will be in their thousands and won't survive
without the aid of a beekeeper (the varroa mite that came to the UK in the early
1990's and is all but endemic ensures that all unmanaged colonies will die after
a couple of years)
See if you can spot where they are accessing the roof space. If you have blocked
their previous access point then they could re-emerge anywhere.
You might have just seen a scout bee from an existing colony about to swarm and
looking for a suitable cavity.
If there is any wax or honey from a previous infestation and the bees can small
it then it will attract a swarm, so don't be surprised if you end up with a huge
lump of bees hanging from the eaves in the next few weeks.
If they are established in the roof space and causing no harm then leave them,
and check again next March /April and see if you can see any activity. If they
don't survive the winter then seal off any external access otherwise you could
get another colony invading and the resulting nest could be extremely heavy and
unstable. Leave it long enough and you might even end up with a collapsed
ceiling or soffit with honey oozing down the walls.
On Fri, 07 Jun 2013 11:53:51 +0000, Jethro_uk wrote:
Thanks for all the replies, folks. Having had a chance to watch further
(I was amazed that it seems the bees can squeeze through the soffit vent
- I thought they were designed to prevent this) I'm as certain as I can
be that these are bumble bees - I saw a couple with full pollen baskets.
So in the absence of any nuisance, I'm happy to leave alone ...
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.