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These are the honey bee – apis mellifera, the infamous bumble bee – whose genus is bombus and the masonry bee (osmia). These are the 3 main bees that are in Britain. The honey bee and masonry bee can look incredibly similar with a dusty yellowy brown abdomen that is really quite furry. They are often confused with wasps. Honey bees can sting but only once, masonry bees can also sting but their stinger is not powerful enough to penetrate human skin. Masonry bees are a solitary animal and do not pose a threat to humans other than damaging old masonry work.
The honey bee too should also be left alone wherever possible, unfortunately sometimes they can swarm into areas that are impossible for a beekeeper to remove them from. This also may cause quite some distress in a household when they go down a chimney pot. Bumble bees or cartoon bee as I call them sometimes when discussing varieties with customers can also deliver a sting but they are usually incredibly docile as with the other bees.
The bumble bee is rather rotund and barrel like, quite furry looking and is black and yellow and sometimes has some white on its abdomen. These create a rather strange nest each year and wherever possible we remove the nest and place it elsewhere. We can also advise customers on how to do this themselves safely.
When a customer phones Assured Environmental Services we take their details and try to evaluate the extent of the problem through our conversation. At this point we shall also try to give an example of the possible cost involved. We arrange an appointment to visit the site and we can then fully assess and advise the problem.
After this, with the customers’ agreement we can proceed with the work if they wish which we do so in a safe and effective manner. We try to help by advising on conditions or actions that can be taken to promote a successful outcome of our treatment and help prevent the problem arising again.
Wherever possible we avoid treating any colonies of honey bees or nests of bumble bees. If possible we use a beekeeper or move the nests ourselves to a new area where they are not troubling humans. If however from the advice of a beekeeper and at the request of a customer no other course of action is possible due to their location, a treatment can be carried out and especially in the case of honey bees, after treatment the access to the colony area is sealed off afterwards.
Before removal of any bee colony or nest we advise to just keep out of the way and leave it quiet. This means they have not been stirred up and made more aggressive than normal by any disturbance.
After treatment on rare occasions that a bee colony has to be treated, we seal up any access to the colony and wash away any excess insecticide.
Honey bees as the name suggests sustain the whole colony throughout the winter by producing honey. Bees are brilliant at pollinating flowers and are crucial to the success of cross pollination of plants.
Bumble bees like wasps start a colony every year with a queen who has over-wintered from the previous summer. Scientists say that technically a bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly. Masonry bees are solitary animals and do not live in colonies.