Recommended Guide to Bumblebees
I find that many people confuse bumblebees with honeybees. Species of Bumblebee come in various shapes, sizes and colours but are generally the large and round (ish) ‘furry’ ones, unlike honeybees which are the same size and shape of wasps. They do not produce honey as such, so unfortunately beekeepers are not interested in removing them. Bumblebees like honeybees, are diminishing in numbers and should be left alone if possible. Although they look rather intimidating, they are in fact quite placid and very rarely sting. They are also difficult to kill using the conventional methods, as their ‘fur’ protects them from the insecticide. A common place for them to nest is in garden rockeries or compost heaps, and if a customer decides that they cannot live with their presence I am able to dig out the nest and re-locate it in places such as Sutton Park , New Hall Valley , or Plantsbrook. If however they are nesting inside a wall cavity or under a floor (often using an air brick as the entrance) it is extremely difficult to deal with them. There are sometimes ways of getting round this though. I’ve had instances where they were nesting under the floorboards and accessing through an airbrick near to a door or window. A simple solution to this was to temporarily cover the air brick thus forcing them to use another air brick further round the house and away from the door/window.
Another common place for bumblebees is underneath garden sheds and I had some last year that were flying in and out from under a shed right next to the children’s sandpit, and the householders were concerned that their kids may get stung. The simple solution of placing a plank along that side of the shed meant that the bees instead used the other side, well away from the children’s play area.
If you wish to take any of these actions yourself, do not under any circumstances block the entrances of bees or wasps unless you are certain that they have an alternative way in or out. I’ve lost count of the number of cases I’ve come across where someone has blocked a hole thinking that bees inside will then die. Instead they will almost certainly find an alternative and very often one that leads to the inside of the house, and before they know it their house is full of very angry and desperate bees or wasps. With one such case I came across a couple of years ago, a lady had over a thousand bees inside her kitchen.
Another reason to consider leaving bumblebees alone is that unlike wasps which are active until October, bumblebees are not around as long and have usually finished by mid to late August.
If you would like any advice regarding bumblebees, honeybees, wasps or in fact any pests, please give me a call and I will be glad to help.
Article supplied by Neil Barnett of Pest Free Solutions of Sutton Coldfield, Director, National Pest Technician’s Association
Pest Free Solutions, Sutton Coldfield ; Tel 313 3305