How do I know I have a problem?
If you have a bee nest you will probably see bees entering a hole in the ground or in a wall or roof. Where they nest often depends on species. It may not be necessary to destroy the nest. It may be possible in some cases to remove the nest, but this is rare. The operator will be able to tell you what sort of bees they are, usually either Bumble Bees, Honey Bees or a wild species such as masonry or mining bees, there are many sub species of wild bees within these groups.
Honey Bees: A honey bee nest will have thousands of bees and they will swarm around the entrance of the nest, this is commonly in chimneys but they will use any cavity. You may come into contact with a swarm. This is when part of a hive splits and a Queen accompanies by drones and several thousand workers will look for a new nest site. While scout bees are looking for a suitable site the swarm may hang for a few days in a tree or bush.
Bumble Bees: These are the largest of the bees and usually nest in the ground or in places such as compost heaps. Recently they have been using lofts. Generally they are not aggressive although they can sting. They may be aggressive around the nest entrance.
Mason/Mining Bees: If you have these types of bees you will see them entering many holes either in the ground or in mortar. There is no Queen so all the females lay eggs.
Preparation prior to Treatment
On no account must the entrance to a nest be blocked, this can be dangerous. Keep pets away from the area and close windows nearby. bee activity around the entrance of the nest will be increase for the first 24 hours, so people & pets should be kept away from the area until activity ceases.
Treatment of the bee nest is some times the only solution. The operator will be able to tell you what sort of bees they are, usually either Bumble Bees, Honey Bees or a wild species such as masonry or mining bees, there are many sub species of wild bees within these groups. Bees are not aggressive as wasps but will sting if they think the nest is threatened. Honey bees will not hesitate to sting in this situation and can be dangerous just to the large numbers in a nest or swarm. The nests will be treated with one of the following insecticides: Demand CS'* which contains Lambdacyhalothrin, Ficam W which contains 80% Bendiocarb w/w, K-Othrine which contains Deltamethrin or a powder called Ficam D*. This contains an insecticide in a dust formulation @ 1% w/w Bendiocarb. All insecticides are biodegradable, almost odourless, non tainting & do not corrode or stain. They are not highly toxic towards mammals but are extremely so to all forms of crawling and flying public health pests.
If the nest is in a chimney it may take 2 technicians using roof ladders to carry out the work which will involve an insecticide treatment & does cost more due to the extra technician required.
The affected areas will be treated with an insecticide.
The entrance of the nest will be treated using an insecticide.
What do I do afterwards?
After treatment the bees may remain in a hyperactive state for a few hours, but activity will usually completely cease within 4 warm days (cold or wet days may prolong activity). Honey Bee swarms should die within 24 hours. Never block the entrance to a nest or make repairs to holes unless you are quite sure the nest is dead e.g. bees are not flying in and out of the entrance.
Mason & Mining Bees
Complete eradication of Mason & Mining Bees is not always possible but the treatment should reduce numbers significantly. Re pointing crumbling mortar may be the only long term solution to stop Mason Bees.
As well as being a nuisance the honey they produce can stain paint work and be a target for parasites. A place that has been infested by Honey bees once is likely to attract more swarms in the near future so proofing the area needs looking at immediately. We do not guarantee Honey Bee treatments.
Guarantee: With Mason & Mining Bees we can only reduce numbers, not eradicate. We do not guarantee Honey Bees.Berkshire Pest Control Ltd t/a PESTUK Terms & Conditions apply.
Bees - General Information
Every Autumn as the first frosts begin the mated young queens leave the old nest (which is dying out) & seek out a place to hibernate in safety. In the first warm days of Spring you may see the large queens flying busily about the early bulbs and flowers. These large slow bees are searching for nectar and pollen to turn into honey and food for their newly hatching brood. The queen will locate a suitable place to build her nest.
There are over 200 types of bumble bee and they look for a variety of sites. Because the bumble bee does not live in a large colony (compared with wasps or honey bees) the nest is usually little bigger than half a grapefruit even in the busiest days of high Summer. The queen begins a new nest with a ball of pollen and wax into which she lays just a few (approx. 6 ) eggs at a time. When the eggs hatch they try to eat their way through the pollen reserve but the queen continually adds to the pollen and wax sealing them in. Eventually the grubs pupate and the queen spins a bright yellow cocoon of silk from which the grubs emerge a few days later as fully grown worker bees. Workers are sterile females. As soon as they dry their wings the worker bees begin work to support the colony and their queen. She continues to lay eggs but as it takes more and more of her time the pollen and nectar collection is delegated to the workers, the queen spending her whole time in the nest. This life cycle is similar to wasps. This co-operation continues throughout the high days of late Spring and Summer until the nest has reached the right size for its species. At that point the queen lays eggs destined to become next years queen bees as well as drones or male bees. The drones once hatched leave the nest and live independent lives, their only purpose being to mate with the young queens to ensure the survival of the species. Unlike honey bees the young bumble queens will continue to live and work in the mother colony for the remainder of the Summer and Autumn. Come the first sharp drop in temperature and frosts the old queen, her workers and the independent drones will die. Only the newly mated queens will survive in hibernation to begin the cycle again the following Spring.
Honeybees belong to the family of social bees which includes bumble bees and the tropical sting less bees of the genus Meliponinae. The social bees nest in colonies headed by a single fertile female, the queen, which is generally the only egg layer in the colony. Foraging for nectar and other tasks such as feeding the queen and the larvae, cleaning brood cells and removing debris, are carried out by a caste of females, the Workers. Honey and pollen is stored, and larvae are reared in cells made from wax secreted by the worker bees. Their life cycle is different from wasps & bumble bees in that the Queen will live longer than 1 year, the colony surviving in the same place for many years. Two attributes of honeybees which have been essential to their evolution and biology are their clustering behaviour, their ability to cool the nest by evaporation of water collected outside. These attributes enable the colonies to achieve a marked degree of temperature regulation within the nest irrespective of the external temperature.
Another behavioural character of honeybees is the communication of information about food sources and the recruitment of foragers by "dance language". The accurate dissemination of information concerning direction and distance of forage areas leads to efficient exploitation of food sources. If you have honey bees they would have probably arrived in a swarm and will establish themselves in any cavity such as a chimney, or may be hanging in a swarm waiting to move. As well as being a nuisance the honey they produce can stain paint work and be a target for parasites. A place that has been infested by Honey bees once is likely to attract more swarms in the near future so proofing the area needs looking at immediately.
They make their nests in wall cavities and in older properties will even dig out the mortar, each female lays eggs, (unlike Honey Bees where only the Queen lays eggs), and if the mortar is soft enough will make a hole for each egg laid, into which she packs pollen and seals the hole. The egg hatches into a grub that feeds on the pollen and emerges the following Spring as an adult.
These have a similar life cycle to Mason Bees but burrow into soil. Mason bees cannot make a house fall down but will remove weak or old style mortar, this is when it is wise to treat the infestation followed by re pointing.