Bees pollinate three-quarters of the world's most important crops. They may be tiny but bees are essential to a healthy environment and healthy economy. We rely on them and other insects to pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables.
During the spring many people confuse Bumble Bees (Bombus) seen at a distance with wasps. They will sometimes nest in attics but more usually in compost heaps, under the shed, in the ground or in holes in walls; solitary bees like soft soil and holes in walls, too, while mason bees like a sunny spot, often in a hole in a brick wall. None of these bees are aggressive and if left alone will do no harm.
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are of course well known for producing the honey we eat and are usually found being kept in hives manufactured for this purpose. There are also wild or feral honey bees living anywhere they have found to be a suitable site. They need a space big enough to develop their sometimes very large colony which it must be dry and well ventilated. During hot spells in early summer the colony will split as the occupants grow too numerous for the nest and many thousands will leave the hive (domestic or wild) in search of another nesting site along with a new queen bee. These are the swarms we sometimes see flying in a great black cloud or grouping and crawling into in a place they may deem to be perfect for their new site.
Honey bees are most useful to us and our environment and steps must be taken to protect them however sometimes there is a problem:
They do sometimes choose very unsuitable places to nest such as in chimneys or the hollow spaces in cavity walls. This is when timing is of great importance.
If you spot a swarm entering your property call a local beekeeper immediately and he may be able to take them away to a more suitable place. If left for more than 48 hours they will begin nest making, the honey combs will be starting to take shape and the queen will begin laying her eggs.
After this it may be impossible to get them out without damage to the building. We choose not to destroy bees and will only identify and advise.
It is a serious matter if bees have taken to your property; a well established colony which has been in residence for some years will have large honey stores. The bees and the honey will need to be removed and a builder may then be needed to rectify the damage.
Bumble bees are not agressive if left alone. They may have chosen to nest in or around your property but they will be gone by late July / early August.