Bees are adapted for feeding on nectar and pollen, and play an important role in pollinating flowering plants. There are three main types of bee, the honey bee, bumblebee and the solitary bee.
Where do they live?
Bees’ nests are typically found in trees, bushes, earth banks or buildings (roof spaces, chimneys or cavities in walls). Honey bees usually nest in hollow trees or roof spaces, and the colony will consist of one queen, a fertile female and a few fertile males, and workers. Colonies are established by swarms. This group moves together to a nest site that has been scouted by worker bees beforehand. Once they arrive, they immediately construct a new nest.
Bumblebees prefer to nest underground, in grass mounds, compost heaps or old mouse holes. A single female will construct the nest, and the colony will generally only last one season. These nests will often hold fewer than 50 bees.
Solitary (mining and masonry) bees create nests in hollow twigs, holes in wood or in tunnels in the ground and consist of several cells, one for the female and one for the eggs. Solitary bees are either stingless or very unlikely to sting.
Why are bees such a nuisance to humans?
It is the bee’s ability to cause painful stings that concerns most people. Although bees are not particularly hostile, they will sting if they are aggravated. Recently, managed populations of bees have experienced substantial declines, mainly due to insecticide sprays being used on plants.
Do bees cause any harm?
The stinger of the honey bee is barbed and embeds into the skin. When the bee withdraws the stinger, the poison sac is left behind and the bee subsequently dies. Remove the stinger as soon as possible as some venom may be left. Stings can easily be treated with a cold compress and a suitable antiseptic cream. Localized swelling and pain are typical reactions to a sting by a bee.
Due to the important role that bees play, Masons Pest Control will only consider clearing a bee swarm in very exceptional circumstances. Occasionally, bees’ nests in chimneys or air bricks will need to be destroyed when they are a danger to the residents of the property or the general public.
Call Masons Pest Control now for free advice on bees, or to book a qualified pest control technician to assess and deal with your bee problem quickly and safely.