In the second of our postings on bees and wasps we consider nests specifically and what can be done about them. As there is so much information, we will look at bee and wasp nests as different postings.As you may have gathered from our first posting around this topic, it is far easier to talk about a wasp’s nest than a bee’s nest. The former is more straight forward, but because bees can be seen as ‘beneficial’, eradicating nests isn’t as straight forward for some in practice, especially if they are mindful of eco values and principles as well.
To look at this, we will split bees into two groups – honey bees and everything else.
Honey bees are useful for their obvious production of honey and generally speaking they exist in man-made hives where they are controlled and monitored. ‘Unregulated’ honey bee nests can generally exist anywhere and some of the most popular places are around garden sheds, in the eaves of houses etc. Honey bee nests are more complicated to deal with because of the added presence of addressing the honey and honeycomb structure. Removal of a honey bee nest would not only involve the need to remove the bees but also to remove the product of their activity also. Honey bees are sometimes seen in ‘swarms’ but this isn’t necessarily indicative of a nest – rather they are looking for a more suitable home and are generally docile during this phase. Honey bee nests tend to be removed by honey bee keepers to preserve their presence and the good work they do. Pest controllers can destroy honey bee nests but some find this ‘ethically uneasy’ and therefore may choose not to do so.
Above: The honey bee comb.
Generally speaking, all other bees nest in a similar kind of way. They tend to find isolated areas where they won’t be disturbed, but it is not uncommon to see them close to a house or other populated areas. A bee’s nest will be active for a few months and then the activity will die out. The queen often hibernates in the winter away from the nest in preparation to start again in the next spring. This is why bee’s nests are redundant in winter, and some people’s advice is just to simply wait if too much of a problem isn’t being caused. As bee species are endangered (especially bumble bees for example) a lot of people decide to leave any nests so long as they are not causing a great issue.
Bees are generally non-aggressive insects but if you have a nest in the vicinity of where children and pets might be, the thought can lead you to become anxious about consequences. Bees will only attack as a defence if threatened and it is far more common for people to be fearful of wasp rather than bee’s nests.
How to deal with an “ordinary bees” nest
1) As mentioned above, waiting is sometimes the answer. The good news is that once bees have shared a season with you, they normallydon’t come back to the nest so it may be a case of just sticking it out.
2) Sometimes bees can be relocated by either a local bee keeper or a pest controller. This answer has the best of both worlds: the bees are preserved and you get the peace of mind.
3) Bees can obviously be eradicated but again this is a last resort for some due to the ethical factors. If this option is to be considered, then it is advised that a pest controller must be contacted to assess the situation and deal with the problem. Bear in mind that treating the problem is only half the answer – dealing with the after steps (such as blocking up entrances etc) are also required.
Look out for our posting later in the month where we will consider wasp nests and how these can be dealt with.
In the meantime, to find out more on bee nest removal visit our dedicated page or contact us here.