ID that Bee (and some that are not)
Honey bee (apis melifera)
Honey bees are the species kept by Bee Keepers.
If you have a problem with honey bees, contact a local Bee Keeper or Environmental Health Department as they will be able to arrange for the swarm to be relocated.
They live in hollow trees or in chimneys, wall cavities or roof spaces.
They are similar in size to wasps but are furrier and mostly black in colour.
Honey bees convert nectar into honey and beeswax.
A honey bee swarm will arrive in flight and cluster on a tree branch.
A colony size can often be greater than 30,000 individual honey bees.
Population under threat from varroa mite.
Yellow and black body, marking varies according to species. Workers vary in size from 12 – 17mm.
- Only young Queens survive over winter and emerge in the spring to start nest building and lay eggs.
- Workers (sterile females) emerge during early summer and take over nest building. Queen continues to lay eggs.
- New queens and males mate in early autumn.
- Nest dies during winter, including all the males and workers.
- Wasps do not swarm.
- Food preferences — will take insects and sweet foods.
- Females sting readily and repeatedly.
- A colony may have as many as 25,000 individual wasps.
Bumble Bee (bombus.sp)
They are larger and furrier than honey bees.
Dark coloured except for golden stripes across the end of their tails.
The tail colour can vary in UK varieties.
Bumble bees nest in small wall cavities, holes in the ground, under sheds or in undisturbed compost heaps.
Mason bees (Osmia sp.)
These bees are known as masonry or mortar bees because they like to nest in crevices or holes in masonry. They prefer to stay near walls that receive sunshine for much of the day.
Mason bees use naturally occurring holes in bricks or mortar joints (especially mortar with a high lime or sand content).
- Mason bees are harmless; they are not aggressive and will not attack.
- Masonry bees are most common in southern Britain.
- They include the wool-carder bee, the mining bee, the hairy-footed flower-bee, the leafcutter bee and the red mason bee
As their name implies, Solitary bees live alone but nest near each other in villages in suitable nesting sites
- They look similar to honey bees.
- They prefer to feed on honey and pollen.
- Prefer to tunnel and nest in sandy soil, soft mortar in old houses or use domestic air bricks to nest in.
Solitary bees do not swarm and are not aggressive.
European Hornet (Vesta crabro)
European hornets are large insects – they can be up to 40mm long.
They have a distinctive orange abdomen with brown stripes.
- A colony can reach a size of 700 workers.
- Nests can be found in tree trunks, bushes, sides of buildings, barns, attics, hollow walls.
- Hornets can bite and sting at the same time.
- They can mobilize the entire nest to sting in defence which is highly dangerous to humans.
- Hornets are not attracted to human food. They prefer to feed on insects and sap.