The Wasps and the Bees

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The Wasps and the Bees

As summer approaches we will start to see more Bees and Wasps around.  Nests are built and the presence of both types of insect can effect both home and work environments.

It is important to understand that both wasps and, particularly, bees contribute positively to the environment in terms of pollination of plants and flowers.

There are two main types of bees in the UK.  The Bumble Bee is large and furry and easily distinguishable from the wasp.  The Honey Bee is similar to the wasp in size and appearance however is much darker in colour and has a furry abdomen.  Colonies of up to 50,000 can exist.  Honey Bees stay active throughout the year unlike wasps.

Honey Bee

Common Wasp







There are many different types of wasps in the UK.  The German Wasp which is slightly larger and darker than the Common Wasp, the Hornet which is noticeably larger, up to two inches larger than the Common Wasp and rustier in colour.  Finally, the Common Wasp itself.

The most noticeable differences between wasps and bees are that wasps are more vivid in colouring and are bald and smooth whilst bees have fluffy throraxes.

Bees can become an issue when they re-colonise in the summer.  As a colony becomes too large for its nest the colony will divide and roughly half will leave and swarm, clustering elsewhere whilst scout bees search for a new nesting site.


Honey Bees swarming


Honey Bee colony





Common nesting sites can be cavity walls, chimneys, attics and other voids.


Wasp nests are constructed from untreated timber which the wasps strip and chew into a paste.  With this they create cells of grey paper-like material.  They increase the nest size over time by adding further cells.  Wasps nests are built almost anywhere it is dry from bushes and trees to buildings, warehouses, sheds, lofts, chimneys and cavity walls.

Wasp Nest







If you experience any difficulties with bees or wasps swarming or nesting do not approach them.  Whilst, particularly bees, are friendly and will only sting when they feel threatened, they can be unpredictable and a small number of deaths occur in the UK each year from stings.

At Healthguard our technicians are experts in the removal of wasps and the protection of buildings from re-infestation so feel free to contact us if you encounter any issues.

For safe removal of bees Call the Tree Bee Society  – 01704894018. They specialise in the safe removal of bees without causing them harm. You can also visit their website .uk

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