11 May 2018

'Bee-wise' this Spring

Press release | PestAware

National trade body the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is issuing an appeal to the British public to ‘bee-aware’ as warmer weather looms.

Honey bee (Apis mellifera). Credit: Sharp Photography

BPCA is issuing a timely message for those who find swarms or nests in or near their home to avoid seeing them as a pest, and seek expert help to ensure they are protected.

Natalie Bungay, BPCA Field Officer, said:

“There are numerous species of bees and pollinators, but the two-primary species that the British public is most likely to come across are bumblebees and honeybees.

“In the case of bumblebees, most homeowners realise they have a nest when mating begins, usually in May.

“Normally bumblebees will set up home in old rodent nests, bird nests or underground hollows, although one particular species of bumblebee, the tree bee, often opts to nest in closer proximity to humans. 

BPCA, who host Beewise, a special interest group who champion the interests of bees within the professional pest control community was initiated earlier this year. 

Tree Bee, Bombus hypnorum. Credit: Gailhampshire

Beewise argue that Bees are an essential part of our eco-system. Research estimates that a third of all crops are pollination-dependent, including those used in livestock feed, covering 70 different types of crop and it is vital they are protected.

Abigail Reade from the Tree Bee Society, and a member of Beewise said.

“Tree Bees first arrived in the UK in Wiltshire back in 2001, and have since moved gradually north, colonising most of the UK.

“The chosen nesting site of the tree bee is commonly in and around properties, cavity walls, loft spaces, plant pots and other similar cavities, as well as sometimes indoors, which can bring them closer to humans than many would prefer.

“May and June is the time of year honeybee colonies begin mating, creating a new queen who will eventually take the place of her mother within the hive, leaving the old queen to swarm and move on. 

“This is when they can gather – often in great numbers – near homes and in gardens.”

Beewise is urging members of the public to consider positive approaches to potential scenarios where honeybees may nest in or around their home.

Tree Bee, male. Bombus hypnorum. Credit: Gailhampshire

In response to any nests which form, Natalie said, if you are fortunate enough to have honeybees nest on your premises, the first thing I would say is congratulations! You’re now an unofficial bee keeper.

“Of course, in pest control we know that how people see (supposed) pests can be rather subjective and so some people may look to take action.

“The absolute final approach is to remove the nest and rehome, but we advise this must be done by a trained professional. Other strategies include attempting to divert flight paths to remove conflict, however this isn’t applicable to all bee species.

“Our members will ensure occupants (and Bees) are protected professionally, that the safety of residents and immediate public is taken into account.”

More information about bees, and details of how to find a BPCA member can be found at bpca.org.uk/PestAware

Source:

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