As spring is advancing, and the summer approaches, our thoughts turn to longer and warmer days which will allow many of us to enjoy the outdoors more. Like everything there is always a downside, and spring / summer especially bring an increase in pests & insects – particularly the ones which most of us dread – bees and wasps. In a series of postings across the summer season we will look in more detail and these pests and how to deal with them. In the first posting we will consider some facts and figures associated.
1) Many bee species exist: the main ones include honey bee and bumble bee for example, but there are thought to be over 250 species of bee in the UK alone.
2) Bumble bees are easily recognised as these tend to be the largest in size with generally a bright yellow and black covering. Honey bees tend to be smaller (similar to a wasp) and usually have an orange/brown colour.
3) Not all bees sting – the larger males don’t. It is only the females which sting, who will die after doing this due to the abdomen being pulled out. Queen bees can sting multiple times, but this is rare as they generally do not leave the nest.
Once male bees have mated, they will also die, due to a similar principle applying concerning part of the body being detached upon mating.
4) Bees fly on average around 15 miles per hour. The buzzing noise we hear is generated by their four wings which operate at over 10,000 ‘movements’ per minute.
5) Queen bees used to be called king bees. Queens can live for up to five years and carry out the reproduction role annually. If a queen dies, then a new queen can be appointed. This normally falls on a new larvae, which is fed a substance called ‘Royal Jelly’ which allows it to become fertile.
1) There are approximately 9,000 species of wasp in the UK. These include the parasitic wasps, some of which are so tiny, they can barely be seen without a micropscope. 250 of these are the larger wasps which have have a stinger.
2) Wasps are not considered ‘useful’ in the same way that bees are. There is no food production (honey) made, but wasps do help with pollination and destroying other insects.
3) When a wasp dies or is killed, it releases a pheromone which acts as an alarm signal to other wasps to beware of attack. Be wary of this if you kill a wasp close to the nest.
4) Wasps generally are unproblematic in the summer months. During the early autumn as their food production and cycle changes, they become more aggressive and persistent in search of sweet substances – this is when they are more likely to sting and become a problem for humans.
5) Similar to bees, only female wasps can sting (although they can do this multiple times not once.) Again, male wasps also die after reproduction so it is the females that keep the colony thriving.
Look out for our next posting on these insects, where we will explore nests and what to do when these cause problems. In the meantime, visit our testimonials section where you can find out our good reviews from previous customers.