Honey Bee

The humble Honey Bee Apis mellifera is an industrious worker, they pollinate many of our plants and create a very tasty by-product, honey.

Honey bees swarm around May, often moving into chimneys, roofs and walls. Unfortunately once they have entered a cavity such as loft it is virtually impossible to safely remove them. We do treat for Honey bees however, we would ask you to consider a 'live and let live' approach to the problem before destroying a colony.

You can contact The Suffolk Beekeepers Association on 01473 420187 or us directly on 01284 799 398 to find out if they can be removed. Destruction is last resort, bee’s are too valuable to us alive.

If you have a question about Honey Bees, need advice or would like to make an appointment please call us or fill in the enquiry form, we’re happy to help you.

Risks

Risks with Honey Bee

Like all other members of its family, Honey bees carry a sting however they loathe to use them as their stings carry a barb. Once they have stung a victim the sting will often literally pull out of there abdomin staying put on whoever/whatever they have stung.

If you are allergic to wasps it is highly unlikely that you will also be allergic to bees. It does happen, ask our director Martin who unfortunately is allergic to both.

If you are stung by a bee and feel unwell or are showing signs of hives/rash seek medical advice immediately.

Treatment

Treatment of Honey Bee Pests

Firstly if the bees have only just arrived you might try waiting a few days, Honey bees will often decide to move on from chimneys and lofts. If however the bees have been present for more than three days a decision should be made swiftly. 

Bee’s can be treated the same as wasps, usually with a insecticide contact dust applied directly into the entrance of the nest. It usually only takes 2-3 hours but can take up to 24 hours for the nest to ‘go quiet’.

Once a nest has been destroyed the access holes to the nest must be filled in to prevent another swarm taking over the hive. This is essential, once honey bees have been present for more than a week there will be honey coombe and this will lead to bees from other colonies and even a new swarm arriving to investigate.

If the access holes are left open you will most likely find you'll have bees again, maybe in a year or even a few weeks.

Failure to proof the holes will more importantly lead more bees being destoyed for no reason.

Life Cycle

Life cycle of Honey Bee

Like the social wasps the Honey bee lives in colonies, at the centre of the colony is the queen. She spends her time laying eggs which become sterile workers who’s job it is to feed the hive and maintain it.

The Queen can live for five years before being overthrown by a new Queen, sometimes a hive may split with half of the workers following a new Queen whilst the remainder stays with the original Queen. Swarms of bees are normally found in April and May, they will often attach themselves to a tree branch and can cause some degree of stress if it happens to be in your garden.

A bees hive can contain 60,000 workers and produce a healthy supply of honey over the summer. The honey the bees manufacture from nectar is their winter supply of food. Unlike wasps, which effectively die off each year (only young queens hibernate through winter) a bees nest can continue indefinitely with new queens taking over.

Honey Bee Relocation

Honey Bee Relocation

Whenever possible we will try and physically remove a swarm of bees. If we can not personally visit you ourselves we will endeavour to put you in touch with a local beekeeper and try and prevent the bees destruction.

The bee swarming season begins in may, a swarm of bees similar to one in our photos may rest before moving on somewhere else. Honey bee removal (NOT treatment) is free of charge through us, however we can firmly say that unless the swarm is out in the open and not in a loft cavity we will NOT be able to safely remove them.

In 2011 we will be working with a local charity Wood N Stuff who are based in Bury St Edmunds and provide training in woodwork for people with disablilities. They will be building beehives so that the bees we rescue have somewhere to live. If you are interested in having a swarm removed or getting into beekeeping please feel free to contact us.