These come in all shapes and sizes. Only the queen survives the winter and a colony is developed each year (like wasps). They tend to nest in the ground, grassy tufts, compost heaps and the like.
There may be up to a hundred or so bees when fully developed. They generally do not sting and cause no trouble. They are useful pollinators and are classed as a protected species. If you have a nest, it is best to work around them, as they are no trouble.
Only in very exceptional circumstances, if there a hazard to health through allergies for example, will we deal with them.
Honey Bee (Apis mallifra)
The Honey Bee is a social insect (like Ants and Termites) and live in colonies numbering from a few thousand up to eighty thousand depending on the time of year. The individual insects have specific tasks within the colony. The colony naturally reproduces in the spring and early summer when the old queen and several thousand workers will depart and leave the new queen and the rest of the colony in place.
This give rise to the characteristic Bee swarm and hanging swarms usually found in bushes etc. Whilst this can be a terrifying spectacle, they are usually not aggressive as they are in a ‘transit camp’ looking for somewhere else to form a colony that can often be in a building cavity.
If we are called out to a Bee swarm, we will liaise with a member of the local Bee Keeper’s Association as they are well placed and happy to collect them and relocate the Bee swarm to an Apiary for domestication.
If, however, they have gained access to a building, this is where our services are required. Prompt action can save a lot of trouble in the future. An established feral colony site will always attract a bee swarm even when empty (Bees have an extraordinary ability to pick up scents). There may be other problems from seepage of honey or wax especially when there are bees in the chimney.