Many people automatically assume that all bees live in hives. However,
bee nests vary greatly, and as far as hives are concerned, they are of
course a man made contraption designed specifically for keeping honey
bees, and to enable access to the combs and honey for beekeepers.
Throughout this feature, and at the bottom of this page, you’ll see links to other areas of the site about bumble bee, honey and solitary bee nests, and what to do if you need to move a bee nest.
However, one of the most common questions I get it:
It all depends on whether it belongs to bumble bees, honey bees or solitary bees.
Also, people have different reasons for asking this question (ranging from 'how to help' to 'how to remove'), so I have devised a simple Q&A with links to help you decide which route to take.
If you are urgently needing assistance with a particular scenario, please see the 'Help' section in the navigation bar right.
Hope the information below helps!
There are some general ways you can help:
the most important thing is to try and leave the bumble bee nest alone,
because if you interfere with the nest in any way, this may backfire.
Not at this point unfortunately. There may or may not be any harm to the colony.
For example, some mites cause little problem, and some are believed to
be beneficial, although a very heavy infestation may hamper the colony
to some degree. In addition, you may see a bumble bee flying about with phoretic mites - you can read more about this subject here.
There is some debate about the larvae of a type of hoverfly – Volucella bombylans, which perform the beneficial task of eating debris inside bee nests, although they may eat a few bumble bee larvae too. Generally, however, it is thought that bumble bees can rear their colonies in any case.
Wax moths, however, are a different matter, and are bad news if they
manage to get into bee nests. Wax moths burrow silky tunnels through
the clusters of bumble bee brood cells. Although it will be too late
for this colony, an interesting tip I have heard is to place mint plants
near to bee nests. This is believed to deter wax moth, although
whether or not it works for bumble bees, I do not know. Certainly,
beekeepers sometimes rub hives with natural mint scented oil diluted
with water in order to deter wax moths.
A. It depends on the species. Carder species may nest openly on tufts of grass.
Some bumble bees use holes in the ground - perhaps abandoned rodent holes or holes and crevices naturally caused by formations of tree roots.
Some bumble bees will use crevices in walls and rocks.
Other bees prefer to nest in aerial situations, such as crevices and holes in tree trunks, or even roofs or eaves of houses.
Some bumble bees are very adaptable, and will inhabit bird houses.....
…...or even the compost heap.
Not necessarily. Please note, fewer than half of bumble bee nests are
successful, and good nesting sites are hard to come by for bees due to reduction in suitable habitat (e.g. clearing of old hedgerows).
In order to be considered a success, a colony MUST produce new queens, because they are the only bumble bees to survive the winter (following mating, they then hibernate, whereas the rest of the colony will not usually survive). The bumble bees will only be around for a season, and they provide an excellent "bee pollination" service
It would also be time and resource consuming for bumble bees to have to start a new colony and nest, with less available time in the season, and quite possibly fewer suitable flowers for foraging. To explain further, when a queen establishes a colony, there
are many considerations:
However, if you really feel you must move a nest, please visit this page for further help and advice.
Sounds to me like it’s a honey bee swarm. To learn more about this fascinating natural phenomenon, read this link about
For advice follow this link about bee swarm removal.
Alternatively, contact your local beekeeping association.
In the meantime, note that honey bee swarms are only aggressive
if they feel threatened or provoked (in actual fact, a swarm is
relatively docile), but keep your distance anyway. Also, keep pets and
children away from the bees until you have implemented the advice given
on the link.
If the honey bee nest is in a natural setting, such as a tree crevice, are you able to leave the nest alone and allow it to remain?
If the nest is in a building and in an inconvenient place, ask a beekeeper to take a look at the situation for you. Without a doubt, beekeepers are the best people when it comes to honey bee nest removal, since nests need careful handling so as to ensure no honey comb is left behind.
Simply because this could attract more bees and wasps after the original honey bees themselves have moved on. A beekeeper will be able to assist in a way that is humane.
If you have difficult locating a beekeeping, you may have to call in a specialist. Try to find one that can remove the nest humanely. Some can perform a relocation and some have developed means to remove bees via a special suction mechanism.
You may also
find the link on bee swarm removal highlighted in the paragraph above of
Try not to worry. Although it may be an inconvenience until the beekeeper arrives, in the meantime they'll help pollinate your flowers and garden plants. If you are concerned about stings, read this informative link about bee stings (including how to prevent them) and treatments.
Not necessarily, the beekeeper in question may have their own reasons for not being able to assist. Find another beekeeper. There’s some advice about how to find a beekeeper on the link highlighted above with regard to bee swarm removal.
I have several pages about carpenter bees. Please click my link for more information about carpenter bees.
Lucky you! You’ve got lovely leafcutter bees
nesting in your garden, providing a pollination service for your border plants.
Does it damage your roses when you dead head or prune them? No! Of course not!
This little bee should cause no long-lasting harm to your roses or any other plants.
Leafcutter bees will use the leaf segments to construct egg cells. They only make a few cells, and will only survive a season.
Many people in the know are purposely trying to attract these wonderful little pollinators, so it’s a real advantage to have attracted leafcutter bees and this little bee nest into your garden without having made any special effort!
Could be mason bees, and they are quite harmless. To learn more about
mason bee nests and help you identify them, follow this link about
Bee nests are generally a welcome site
in any garden. The bees themselves will pollinate your plants, and most
will only last a season.
Take a look at the available information about bees on this site to learn more about these important little pollinators.
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