Wasp and Bee Problems?

Bees: Bees are essential to the natural order and are a real benefit to your garden provided a valuable pollination service. Away from the hives, bees are not aggressive, busy visiting flowers gathering nectar and pollen during their short life of two to four weeks. One or two hives can be kept in an urban section without disturbing the neighbours.

Swarms: Swarming is a natural phenomenon that usually occurs between April and June. Sometimes earlier and sometimes later. On occasion bees will swarm in the fall. When a hive becomes overcrowded, queens cells a produced and just before these emerge, the old queen and half the population of the hive, takes off looking to establish another hive. Bees at this stage; have a tummy full of honey, are not aggressive and easy to handle.

Once the swarm settles on a tree or bush, they can easily be collected by a beekeeper. He / She simply cuts off the branch and puts the swarm into a box. That evening they will be set up in a new hive where they will build up into a productive unit. The Northwest Arkansas Beekeepers Association maintains a "swarm collection list".

Bees In The Wrong Place: If a swarm goes into a building, it eventually will become a nuisance. A beekeeper can sometimes get them out if contacted immediately after the bees have arrived. Most often a “cut out” will have to be done. This will require opening up the wall and removing the bees, honey and comb. If honey and comb are not removed the honey can eventually leak on a wall or ceiling. The smell of the old colony will continue to atract other bees

In any case, it is best that the problem be taken care of as soon as possible. Get advice first. Contact a NWA Beekeeper from the swarm list. Only if necessary, bees usually can be killed by applying a ten-second bursts of fly spray into the hole, every thirty minutes for two hours. Even if you kill the colony, it is advisable that the bees and comb be removed and the entrance sealed. Once the bees are dead, seal the hole so another swarm cannot enter.

If the bees have been there for some time, or the above procedure doesn't work, then professional service will be required at a cost.

Bee Stings: When a person is stung, the bee's sting mechanism is left behind and continues to deliver poison until removed. Remove immediately, pulling out, scraping out, it makes very little difference - get it out quickly.

All bee stings hurt - the pain can be reduced by applying ice, (frozen peas) to the sting area. Some folks get relief by pressing a cooper penny on the sting location until the pain goes away. Watch for a reaction. If in doubt, or uncomfortable - seek medical assistance.

Bumble Bees: Bumblebees are semi-solitary bees whose queen's hibernate during winter and emerge in the spring to establish nests. The nests build up during the summer and about September / October, produce a new batch of queens and dies out.

They require a warm, dry place for their nests. Usually, old mice nest in the ground or compost heap, but increasingly they find household insulation (bats) to their liking. Although large, these bees are not usually aggressive and can be left to die out on their own. If in the wrong place, see advice.

WASPS: Like Bumblebees, wasps are semi-solitary insects. Queens over-winter, establish nests, produce more queens and then usually die out in the autumn. Wasp's make their nest in stream banks, rotten tree stumps, under compost heaps, under dry vegetation and increasingly in houses. If the nest is established in a warm place, (eg the roof of a house) they can sometimes over-winter and continue to expand. Once found - they are reasonable easy to kill:

Holes in the waste ground - "going down" -

Garden - compost - accessible places. During the day flick or tip, two tablespoon of insecticide powders (wasp killer, carbaryl, derris dust etc.) into the hole. Approach from the side so that you are not in the flight path. TREAD LIGHTLY (tiptoe) as vibration alerts the wasps to your approach. Withdraw fairly fast after administering the poison.

House Ceilings - try a borer bomb but contact the fire service before you let it off.

Wasp's stings hurt, if not sure - seek advice or contact a serviceman.

For additional more detailed information about Wasps and how to deal with wasp problems you can go to the Wasp Pest Control Guide provided by Speedy Pest Control. Providing pest control services primarily in the Glasgow and Edinburgh areas of Scotland.