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Identifying beesCreated by Jane Jackson in Being You, Home and Garden
As we know bees are very important pollinators and essential insects for us all.
We should all be planting flowers to encourage them into our gardens, ambulance but recently I have noticed bees burrowing in one of my flower beds and a nest in the lawn of one of our clients. If you find bees buzzing around one particular area it is possible that it is a nest. My advice is to do nothing, leave well alone.
It would be a good idea to try and identify which type of bee it is, there are solitary bees, and some bumble bees nest in colonies. A bumble bee nest is not like a honey bee hive and will last only a few months. They are placid and will only sting if the nest is threatened. If the bees are ground nesting the burrows can be up to 2 metres long, and again well left alone.
You can of course sit back and watch the coming and going of the busy bees, but obviously if you have grandchildren running around or have an allergic reaction to bee stings, then I would suggest you get some expert advice.
How to identify different types of bees
Bumble Bees – Often confused with honey bees. The bumble bee is larger, furrier and is dark coloured except for golden stripes across the end of their tails. They nest in small wall cavities, holes in the ground, under sheds or in undisturbed compost heaps.
Honey Bees – These are the kind kept by Bee Keepers, although they do live in the wild in hollow trees or in chimneys, wall cavities or roof spaces. They are similar in size to wasps but are furrier and mostly black in colour. It is the honey bee that converts nectar into honey and beeswax and is known to swarm. A honey bee swarm will arrive in flight and cluster on a tree branch. The noise can be alarming, but the danger is not great if you keep your distance and contact a local Bee Keeper or Environmental Health Department as they will be able to arrange for the swarm to be relocated.
Solitary Bees – Many of these look similar to honey bees and often nest near each other in villages but, as the name implies live alone. Some tunnel in sandy soil, soft mortar in old houses or use domestic air bricks to nest in.They do not swarm and are not aggressive.
Mason Bees – Several species of bee nest in crevices or holes in masonry and are known as masonry or mortar bees. They are often found in walls that receive sunshine for much of the day. They use naturally occurring holes in bricks or mortar joints (especially mortar with a high lime or sand content). Mason bees are harmless, they are not aggressive and will not attack. Masonry bees are most common in southern Britain, they include the wool-carder bee, the mining bee, the hairy-footed flower-bee, the leafcutter bee and the red mason bee.
by Jane Jackson