Bees in your home

Every year, and in particular in the months of May and June, bees can appear in homes and they are not always welcome!

There are many types of bees in the UK. From honeybees (1 species) to bumble bees (24 species) to solitary bees (about 250 species) and that is before you start on the 7,000 species of wasps! Very often their presence can be tolerated by the residents of properties and come the colder weather their numbers will die down until, in the case of the bumblebees, it is the queen bee(s) who will hibernate until the following Spring.

However, this is not so with the honeybee which uses stored honey to over-winter. The colony can then continue in the Spring with the queen laying up to 2,000 eggs per day to build it up again (between 30,000 and 50,000).

Bees will find their ways into any suitable nook or cranny in the structure of the building including the roof (flat roofs are a favourite!) and chimneys. Over the last few years I have been involved in collecting colonies of honeybees from the flat roof of a cricket pavilion, two colonies from the timber clad walls of a pig shed (about to be demolished) and more recently trying to tempt colonies from the walls of two buildings in Bury St Edmunds (alas not successfully, probably because it is the “wrong time” of year for swarming and the colonies were perfectly happy where they were)!

Removing bees from a building should really be left to the professionals:

https://bpca.org.uk/pest-aware/bee-control-how-to-get-rid-of-bees-bpca-a-z-of-pests/189185

who will where possible try to save the colony.

But sometimes, in simple situations, a hobbyist beekeeper can provide this service for free since a colony can be acquired and hived to the benefit of the beekeeper.

To see photos and videos of some of my exploits removing colonies from buildings take a look at my Instagram account by clicking the link:

https://instagram.com/a_suffolk_beekeeper?utm_medium=copy_link

Chris Oakes

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