Bees Nest In The Attic - What Should I Do?

Updated: 27th April 2021

I received the following query regarding a bumble bee nest in the attic.  Of concern was the fact that the gentleman needed to have some plumbing work done soon.

Here is my response:


"I have bumble bees nesting in my attic.  At present they are not causing a problem. In 4 weeks time I am having some plumbing work done close to where they are entering. I am happy to leave them but must have the work done. Will they still be there in 4 weeks?  If so what should I do?"

bumble bee on yellow flower

My response:

"Thank you so much for getting in touch – I appreciate that you obviously care, and do not want to harm the bees.

Bumble bees are rather docile – they are really not out to sting anyone.  They are surprisingly persistent too, meaning that if there is activity nearby, they will more than likely carry on regardless. 

Indeed, even when a nest is damaged, they will usually do their best to save the colony and rear the young.  (If your concern is for the tradesmen I’ll get on to that in a moment).

If  the plumbing is ‘near’ to the nest, rather than likely to damage it, you can safely leave the nest in place.  Perhaps place objects around the nest to ensure the workmen do not step on it, and of course, do warn them about the nest. 

With regard to how long the nest will be in place, I cannot say exactly.  They may be gone in 4 weeks, or may need another 4.  However, if your concern is for the work people, my thoughts are as follows:

  • Perhaps you could put something in place, which allows ‘in and out’ access for the bees, whilst covering the nest.  Either that, or create a temporary ‘barrier’ to encourage the bees to fly in the direction of the outside, and away from the plumbing work.  This could be something simple, such as a few empty cardboard boxes piled up between the plumbing and the bee nest.

  • I have yet to meet a tradesman who does not come across these scenarios on a regular basis, and just gets on with it.  As long as you let them know in advance, and that you want the bees to be left alone, I’d be surprised if you hear any objections.   Anyone who has a serious allergy to bee stings (quite rare) usually knows about it, and carries an Epi-pen.

  • Probably the worst that could happen is that somebody could be stung – but probably they will not be, and being stung, tripping, cutting a finger – all part of the risk of an average tradesman, I would have thought.  

If you can leave the nest, it will help bees.  Bumble bees are having a very hard term – almost a quarter (24%) facing extinction in Europe – some species in the UK have gone extinct already.  Anything you can do to help is appreciated.  As long as the bees are not physically in the way of the plumbing directly, I see no reason why the work cannot continue."


Did You Know?

Not all bees can sting!  Many bees (probably most) are fairly docile and harmless!

Which Bees Sting?

bumble bee on sea holly flower links to page about Bee sting facts

If you kill wasps you may only attract more of them.

Read about:

Preventing Wasp Stings

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