Pest control service
Advice on honey bees
We do not offer a service to collect or exterminate honey bees.
If you have a problem with honey bees, please contact the organisations listed below:
- British Beekeeping Association: 0871 811 2282 or 0871 811 2337
- National Bee Unit: 01904 462510
- Peter McKnight: 07863 176915 - Local bee keeper, can remove honey bees for residents from most places.
About honey bees
Honey bees have been commercially spread throughout the world for their unique produce. Honey bees differ from wasps - they are hairy with dark brown/pale orange banded colouring.
The queen is larger than the other honey bees and can live for up to 8 years whereas, average bees will live for about 6 - 7 weeks in the mid-season, but longer if they overwinter.
In an average year, the queen can lay 900 eggs and more than 1 million during her lifetime.
Each nest or colony will have one fertile queen who lays the eggs; the other females (workers) are infertile. Depending on their age, a few will leave the nest to search for sources of nectar or pollen, where the remaining proportion will tend the queen, feed larvae, guard the nest, prepare honey and produce new wax honeycombs.
If the colony becomes too large, the queen will produce a number of new queens. Whilst the new queens are pupating, the old queen will leave the nest with up to 10,000 worker bees, this is known as a swarm.
Eventually, the queen, along with the swarm, will cluster in a ball on a tree branch or wall while a scout will search for a new suitable location to start a new nest.
Once the swarm has found a new location, the old queen will continue to produce eggs and the colony with thrive once more.
At the old nest, the first new queen to emerge will sting the other un-emerged queens to death. She will mate with a male drone and take over the nest.
Honey bees can swarm for several reasons one of which is to form a new colony.
The swarm is not dangerous while it is clustered as long as it is left alone. It is best however, to call a bee keeper when you first find the swarm, because if it stays in the same location for more than two days it can become bad tempered as the bees get hungry.
Before you call a bee keeper, try and obtain the following information it will help him/her to assess the situation:
- What do they look like?
- What are they doing?
- How long have they been there?
- When did you notice them?
- How many are there?
- How far from the ground are they?