Common pests

Bees

There are over 20,000 species of bees worldwide. In this country the most common species are the honeybee, the bumblebee and the masonry bee.

Facts about bees

There are over 20,000 species of bees worldwide. In this country the most common species are the honeybee, the bumblebee and the masonry bee.
Honeybees, both feral (wild) and colonised, are important beneficial insects, which are not normally considered as pests. They live either in the wild in nests, or as colonies in hives kept by beekeepers. Each colony consists of a queen, a small number of males or drones and a large number of worker bees. The workers tend and feed the queen who produces up to 2000 eggs per day. From time to time the workers build a few special large cells in the colony in which they rear new queens. As honeybees only have one queen in each colony the old queen usually leaves the colony when a new queen emerges. A number of the colony's workers accompany her, forming what is known as a swarm, which forms a new colony.

Bumblebees are close relatives of the honeybee but are larger, hairy insects, normally black and yellow in colour. Unlike the honeybee, where the colony survives the winter, a bumblebee colony only lasts for a single season. Only a few young mated queens survive and spend the winter in hibernation. There are about 10 species of bumblebee in northern Europe and the majority of these build their nests in the ground, in deserted holes, between stones in farm walls or in empty nest boxes. Bumblebees are beneficial to man, as they act as pollinators of many fruit trees and other plants.

Masonry bees are normally smaller than honeybees, and are solitary in nature.

How do they affect me?

If not collected by a beekeeper the swarm will remain wild and may set up a new colony in hollow trees, or sometimes cavity walls. Honeybees are remarkably peaceful insects and they will only sting people if strongly provoked, unlike wasps.
Honeybees are very docile and will only sting when seriously provoked.
Bumblebees are beneficial to man, as they act as pollinators of many fruit trees and other plants. They, like the honeybee, are very docile and will only sting when seriously provoked.

How do you control them?

Although it is sometimes necessary to destroy bees because they may be a danger in a particular location, it should only be done as a last resort.

Pest control service

Use the online pest control form if you would like our contractor to contact you about a problem with pests.

A list of beekeepers is also available from the British Beekeepers Association.