Here are a few things about “ bees” that we hope will be helpful if you are worried about them on your property, or just interested . A study recently found that 70% of the top 100% of foods around the world are pollinated primarily by bees. We need them! Here are the main points:
First there is the bumble bee, beekeepers get a lot of shouts for these. There are over twenty four types or “ Bombus” in the uk and many more what are called solitary bees,. Some might be your bird box, in an air brick or living under the edge of your patio or even in your Lawn! None are aggressive, some don’t even have a sting. It’s just that a queen has laid this year’s brood there. So to start with there will be a lot of activity as the youngsters hatch, but once they have fledged over a couple of months they will all go out into the world pollinating our crops , fruit and flowers. Beekeepers do not collect these bumbling busy bodies.
Next comes the one we all love to hate; the wasp. The life cycle is pretty well the same except that wasps are carnivores so they eat all the bugs that eat your plants. Unfortunately they also like sugar, so when you’re outside eating your cream bun, the wasp that appears is simply hungry! This is usually a mid to late summer thing, Try not to flap your arms about! Or put a jam in a jar at the bottom of the garden with a hole in the lid. But if you are really unhappy it’s the pest control you call . Not a beekeeper!
Last is the honey bee; these are the only bee that lives as a colony through the winter. About May, June, July time they may well swarm, this is a natural phenomena. The first you are likely to see one is when a swarm of thousands of bees arrives and settles on your car or tree or in the garden. It is spectacular and a bit scary! But they are not in the least dangerous . They will have gorged on honey, and are only interested in clustering around their queen.
If there is a keeper, he or she can come and collect them, you can call the council or go on the British Beekeepers Association‘s website giving your a postcode. But in the event they are left to their own devices they will go, once the scouts have found a new home. That may be within the hour to several days. Generally we would not expect a bee keeper to charge to come and collect a swarm.
Find out more at https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/bumblebee-species-guide/
Written by Freddie Harris, Beekeeper and Wellie Womble, for Wellingborough Eco Group 4th July 2021