What bee do I have

All insects are beneficial.  However, some can be problematical, particularly the honeybee, during the swarming season (April to July) and the wasp in the late summer and early autumn.

Which is causing you a problem?

* Wasp * bumblebee *Hoverfly  *honeybee


European WASP

This is the European Wasp.  Also called the social wasp, colonies are started from scratch each spring by a queen who was fertilised the year before, having hibernated in a warm place over the winter.

When she emerges in the spring, she builds a small nest and rears a starter brood of worker females.  These wasps expand the nest and by August a colony could have several thousand bees.  At this time, the founding queen and all the workers will die off.  These only leaves the newly fertilised queens who then hibernate in a warm place for the winter.  It is the workers in the autumn that cause problems with BBQ’s and outdoor parties on warm summer evenings.

If these are a problem or  you have a nest somewhere in your garden or house, you will need to call a pest controller.  A beekeeper cannot help you.

Bumblebees come in many colours and sizes.  The small ones are likely to be workers, and the larger ones are either drones (males without stings) or queens.

Red Tail Bumblebee

These are some of our most valuable pollinators.

Bumblebees often nest in sheds, compost bins, piles of leaves or hay.  The queen will raise a small nest of young and then the queen will leave in the late summer to find a place to overwinter with the remaining workers and drones dying out.


If you can leave these until the queen leaves, that is best.  In the autumn you can clear out the remaining nest quite safely.

A beekeeper will not be able to help you, however, will offer advice on dealing with any bumblebees you may have.

Hoverflies are often mistaken for wasps.  They are, however, often stingless and are extremely beneficial in our wider environment, pollinating and eating aphids. 


A key difference between a hover fly and a wasp or bee is that our hoverfly has two wings rather than four!


They come in may different sizes and colours and their abdomens are similar to wasps so that predators leave them alone for fear of being stung.  Hoverflies don’t have nests.


These hoverflies are a very diverse group and do not cause any harm to us and should be encouraged in the garden.

hover fly Xanthogramma pedissequum.jpg

visit NatureSpot for more information on this group of insect





The honeybee is very different from the european wasp, bumblebee, solitary bee or hoverfly which it is often mistaken for.  

The honeybee swarms during April to July and often proves a problem to those in urban situations for the fear of being stung.


This is however, quite unlikely to happen although we wouldn’t recommend that you try to remove a colony without the right equipment and knowledge.

Honeybees have four wings and make large nests of wax comb.  These can be anywhere from inside tree trunks to loft spaces and compost bins.

If you find a colony of bees, or have a swarm of bees, call one of our beekeepers.  Visit our SWARMS page for more information.







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