Bee Nest In Hedge?

Are you concerned about the possibility their may be a nest in your hedgerow?  If so, you may be wondering about how you can carry out general maintenance, such as trimming and general tidying.

Here's such a query from a visitor to this website, and the advice I gave:

"About 4 to 5 weeks ago, I noticed my hedge (a mixture of privet, holly and other, approximately 25ft long and 4ft tall), was covered in bees which I think were tree bees.

They were there continuously for about 4 weeks and
didn't seem to come from anywhere or fly off anywhere. The last week or two has seen only a small amount of activity. Has/is there a nest in the hedge ? At some stage I will have to trim and tidy the hedge - will it be safe to do so?"

- Brian, UK


It could be that the bees were merely foraging.  Privet and especially holly flowers, though small and inconspicuous, are highly attractive to bees!  Later, you may notice hover flies of various species visiting the flowers to drink up any remaining nectar.

If you mean 'tree bumble bees' were visiting - as in Bombus hypnorum, these are cavity nesters. 

Unless they found some form of cavity in the hedge (say, a large, empty container stuffed into the hedge somewhere), I doubt they are nesting in the hedge itself, but merely enjoying the nectar.  Holly especially, can be absolutely buzzing (quite loudly!) with bees when in flower.

Honey bees, on the other hand, could potentially create a nest in a hedge, but I do not think this is the case, because a honey bee colony would continue to be active, with bees flying in and out if a nest was present.

I cannot guarantee it, but I would be surprised if you have a bee nest in the hedge.  But by all means, do check there are no bees around before trimming.  I suspect you are no longer seeing the bees because the hedgerow is no longer in flower, or the flowers are no longer producing quite so much nectar.

Thank you for having a wonderful flowering shrubby hedgerow that is so beneficial to bees!

  Pssst ... spread the word!

leafcutter bee on sweet pea plant sweet peas for bees