May 12 in Pests
Bees are related to wasps and ants, and are well known for their role in pollination, and in the case of the European honey Bee, for producing honey and beeswax.
Bees are from the superfamily Apoidea. There are nearly 20,000 species of bees and are found on every continent except Antartica, and in every habitat that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.
There are different types of Bees living in the UK currently, of the types prevalent here is a list of some-
Bees can range in size from 2mm stingless, or meliponines bees to megachile pluto, the largest of leaf cutter bees. The females can reach 39mm.
Are not so easily confused with other types of bees. They are rounder, larger and furrier and come with a variety of coloured stripes across the end of their tails. Their nesting sites are commonly found underground in abandoned burrows of rats or rabbits, in bird boxes, under decking, or in compost bins, and most recently they have been using lofts. They are usually not aggressive but can sting if they feel the nest is being threatened.
Bumblebees are social insects: they live in a colony with a queen and workers, who are female themselves. Bumblebees have an annual lifecycle, with new nests being started each spring by queens. The queen bumblebees are very large, and from February onwards can be seen feeding on flowers or flying low over the ground searching for a new nest site.
The queen stocks her nest with pollen and nectar, and lays her first batch of eggs. She incubates them much as a bird would, sitting on the eggs while shivering her longitudinal and vertical flight muscles to produce warmth.
When the eggs hatch the grubs consume pollen and nectar, grow rapidly, and pupate after a few weeks. A few days later the first workers hatch from their pupae and begin helping the queen, expanding the nest and gathering food.
By mid-summer the nests of some species can contain several hundred workers. At this point the queen starts laying both male and female eggs.
The females are fed extra food and become future queens. Both the males and new queens leave the nest to mate, and the new queens burrow into the ground to wait until the following spring. The males, workers, and the old queen die off in the autumn, leaving the nest to decay.
Their banding is unique among UK species, the thorax is tawny to reddish brown, the abdomen is black and the tail is white. Fresh drones have a patch of yellowish facial fur, but this fades with time. Queens vary significantly in size, and workers are normally small.
Some traits of tree bees can be cause for concern, but there is nothing to truly worry about. Commonly they will establish a nest in bird boxes, or in parts of buildings, and may cause concern with their apparent high level of nest activity due to ‘nest surveillance’ by drones, and the sound of bee chatter/activity heard are all signs of activity.
These are solitary insects, and rarely will they be found occurring in large numbers. They have a reddish-brown bottom and black body. You’ll see these small bees popping in and out of the wall or very small holes in the ground.
They nest in a wide range of cavities and have the ability to build nests by tunnelling through soft brick mortar, or exploiting pre-existing damage left un repaired. They will not cause a problem to your property from a structural point of view, but it is best to repoint once a treatment is concluded.
The providers of honey and almost overwhelmingly viewed with fondness in the UK. They rarely present problems as pests, however, feral swarms can set up home in undesirable places such as chimneys and wall cavities. Honey bees are small and vary in colour from golden brown to almost black.
The most common scenario in which you may become concerned is when they are seen swarming. They can be seen to be swarming on or around a tree branch, fence post and even cars. In almost all cases the swarm will take off again within a day or two to occupy a more suitable permanent home elsewhere.
Preparation Prior To Treatment
On no account must the entrance to a nest be blocked until after the treatment is completed as this can be dangerous. Keep pets away from the area and close windows nearby.
Treatment of the nest will some times be the only solution. The technician will be able to tell you what sort of bees they are. Bees are not aggressive like 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 due to the large numbers in a nest or a swarm.
The nest will be treated with one of the following insecticides: Effect Microtech 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.
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 7 warm days (cold or wet days may prolong activity). Honey Bee swarms should die within 24 hours.
Call PESTUK on 0800 026 0308 or 0330 100 2811 to book your appointment.