Will pest control treat bees?

We don't treat bees - but we do treat wasps.

Please read the information and advice on bumblebee nests

Treating a nest

Because of their important role, every effort should be made to avoid carrying out control treatments against honey bees. Treatment with a pesticide should only be a last resort.

If foraging honey bees find a nest which has been treated, they will carry away contaminated honey. This can lead to contamination of honey used for food, kill large numbers of bees and destroy hives.

What should I do if I have bees?

  • The first thing you need to do is identify the kind of bees that you have
  • If you have honey bees, contact Portsmouth & District Beekeepers Association on 023 9246 1829 or 023 9235 7856

The success of moving a colony of bees depends on its location, and the chances of moving the queen. If the nest and colony can be reached easily, then there's a better chance of moving the colony.

Different types of bees

Bumblebees

If you have a bumblebee nest it's unlikely that you will be able to move them successfully. Moving bumblebee colonies normally damages them to the point that they can't recover.

  • if you have a bumblebee colony you should leave it alone until the queen departs at the end of the season
  • then block off the entrance so that other bees and mammals can't re-use the nest next year
  • bumblebees are quite gentle - they don't normally cause a problem if their nest is treated with respect.

Mason bees

  • live in small holes in wood or masonry
  • look small and sleek, and are often blue or red in colour
  • gardeners provide nests made of drilled wood or thin cardboard tubes to encourage mason bees to pollinate.

Mining and mortar bees

  • dig holes in dry firm ground or old masonry to use as nests
  • look like smaller, less colourful bumblebees
  • Mining bees are solitary, but if they find a good nest site, they'll often nest together, tightly packed.

Carpenter bees

  • tunnel holes into wood and can cause damage to property if allowed to nest close together
  • vary in size and colour, but generally look like bumblebees with a shiny hairless abdomen.

Frequently asked questions

Why do I get bees every year?

There are two reasons that this might happen:

  • you could have honeybees that have set up permanent residence at your property
  • you could have honeycomb from previous bees that have now left. This will attract other bees to the site.

There is a swarm of bees in my garden. What should I do?

They aren't usually aggressive. However, it is best to keep children and pets safely indoors. Don't try to scare the bees away by waving your arms at them or throwing water at them as they may get angry.

Swarms usually move off to a permanent site within a few hours. If the bees are easy to get to, a local bee keeper may be able to remove the swarm.

I have seen little mounds of earth and small bees tunnelling in my garden. What are they?

These are most likely to be solitary Mining bees. Every Spring the females dig tunnels as nests where they lay eggs. Each egg is laid in a cell with a ball of pollen mixed with nectar. At the top of the tunnel, there is a mound of soil, and sometimes you can see the females sitting on the mound sunning themselves. These bees won't harm you and help pollination.

I have seen lots of very small bees flying close to the ground. What are they?

These are most likely to be solitary bees.

I have seen small bees making holes in my wall. Should I worry?

These are solitary bees and it depends on the species of bee. Most mason bees nest in holes that already exist and don't harm the walls. If they find a large area of good nest site, then they'll often build lots of nests tightly packed in a close area, so you might see lots of them around the nesting site.

However, 'true' Mason bees will tunnel into soft mortar and can do damage, especially in old walls. If you have bees in your wall you could tempt them away from the wall by putting out artificial nests for them - they often prefer nice clean tubes.

I have a honey bee nest in my cavity wall. What can I do about it?

The bees won't do any harm to your walls, so if they aren't causing problems leave them alone. However, if they are a nuisance, you may have to get rid of them. It is not easy to get them out - spraying with insecticide is unlikely to kill them all and any remaining wax comb should be removed or it will attract other pest insects.