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:
"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:
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."