Similar in size to wasps there are several different species of bee that the public may come into contact with during the spring and summer months. The most common are listed below.
- Honey Bee. Similar in size to wasps but brown all over.
- Bumble Bee. Larger than Honey Bees, black and yellow or black and orange stripes.
- Mason/Mining Bee. Almost identical to Honey Bees but solitary and do not swarm.
In brief all bees with the exception of Mason/Mining Bees will survive around a queen which will maintain the species by laying eggs with worker bees nurturing them to adulthood. A similar life cycle to wasps the mated queen after surviving the winter will emerge in April/May time and swarm if they have no permanent nest site.
Bees can be very aggressive when the colony is threatened, therefore it is not advisable to attempt to eradicate a bee swarm or nest unless you are professionally trained and have the appropriate protective clothing and chemicals. Even then it is a hazardous task and best left to a beekeeper or pest control officer.
Bee are however beneficial insects and nests should not be destroyed unnecessarily. Bumble Bees in particular are unlikely to sting. If possible, they should be left or relocated by a pest control officer.