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We have attached four different photos. They are different types of bee and wasp that we are contacted about from late spring and through the summer months.
Mid to late May and into June can be a confusing time to know which of these species you have.
Firstly, bumblebees are easy to identify due to their rotund nature, look quite clumsy and are furry in appearance. Activity to and from the nest in late spring, early summer is usually quite low.
There are many different varieties of these including the cuckoo bee (who sneaks into bumblebee’s nests, lays an egg and leaves, leaving the bumblebee to attend to her young).
Bees tend to be none aggressive when you keep out of their flight line and do not disturb them.
Secondly there is the wasp. In late spring and early summer, a single Queen who has started a colony may by now have workers but still there is very little activity to and from a nest for you to locate it.
Wasps nests are usually identified more towards the middle of June when the numbers of workers have increased significantly so therefore traffic to the nest is greater.
They are easiest to spot on a hot day when activity is at its height. A wasp is very starkly coloured black and yellow and has an almost leathery appearance when you look at it and is a lot more slender than a bumblebee.
Sometimes they can feed in large numbers on blossoms of trees especially Cotoneaster and they seem to derive something from the bark or the sap of the willow tree later in the year.
Honeybees; these often swarm throughout June on warm and muggy days. I believe they have a predestined site that they are going to move to. They can sometimes be seen swarming in large numbers which is really quite intimidating when witnessed especially if you’re not sure why they are doing this.
Often bee swarms will go down a chimneypot; my own theory on this is that they mistake it for a hollow tree and it is an ideal place to build a hive. This can often be a problem to the householder.
As you can see from the photograph, they are certainly wasp shaped but a lot duller in their colouring but they do have barring on the abdomen. Bees tend to be none aggressive when you keep out of their flight line and do not disturb them.
Solitary bees, mason bees etc., of these there are many in the United Kingdom. They come in many different shapes and sizes. Some very closely resemble wasps but a lot are smaller and more slender and they are quite furry in appearance.
They are not however as slender as a honeybee but they do appear more furry. Bees tend to be none aggressive when you keep out of their flight line and do not disturb them. These bees are very placid and are, as their name suggests, solitary. They do not produce a hive or a nest but often can give the impression that there is a colony or a nest where they are working.
It is possible for them to sting but their sting is not strong enough to pierce human skin. Masonry bees can often be distinguished from other types of bee and wasp as they do not all enter and exit from the same point on a building; there is usually many different points that they use as they do not form a colony.
Correctly identifying which type of bee or wasp you have by a phone call is often quite difficult.
If you have any problems we can come out to site for a small fee or if you are passing the Unit, and you are brave enough to capture one, you can bring us a sample and we can look at it for you.