This information is intended as a starting point for those who find themselves with a feral honey bee colony which has set up home within the fabric of a building or structure. It is important to firstly identify if the bees in question are indeed honey bees by looking at our identification page.

                                       Bumblebee                                                            Honey bee                                                                         Wasp

Often bumblebees set up home in the soffits and gutters of houses. Bumblebees are larger and hairier than honey bees and can be identified by their silhouette easily. These have a relatively short lifecycle and disappear by the end of May in many cases.

Beekeepers do not deal with wasps. The treatment of wasps is a specialised activity to be undertaken by someone licensed to use appropriate treatments. Wasps too have a short life cycle but this can continue into the autumn. Once wasps and bumblebees have finished their life cycle the hole which they have used to gain access can be sealed up. There is nothing inside a bumblebee or wasp nest that remains at the end of the season to cause damage to the property.

Please be mindful that fires should NOT be used as a way of 'moving on' a swarm from a chimney, as this might actually be an established colony in the chimney and not a swarm. A swarm around a chimney could potentially be a swarm from a longer established colony departing and not a swarm arriving. Lighting a fire beneath an established bee colony in a chimney can and has caused chimney fires due to the wax, bees and other debris.

Beekeepers are insured to remove swarms of honey bees, not established colonies within buildings.  Beekeepers cannot put any member of the public or themselves at risk by undertaking swarm collections in dangerous or hazardous environments. Your building insurance might provide cover for the removal of a honey bee colony that has set up home within the fabric of your building, but this is not standard.

You would need to ensure that the person employed is working safely and has experience of ‘cut outs’ AND importantly carries adequate PLI (public liability insurance).This might be a specialist bee removal operative, an experienced pest control operative or a builder with experience of working with honey bees. Ensuring the comb, honey and all of the bees are removed from the property is important to ensure no damage is caused by wax or honey remaining. Here are links to some organisations and companies, who may be able to help with established honey bee colony removals from buildings.

NB, these are commercial companies who will charge for the work, which may be expensive depending on the honey bee nest location. This is not a recommendation, we suggest you discuss the situation with the contractor and assure yourself that the contractor is reputable and is insured specifically for the type of work they are proposing to undertake, agree a price for the job before commencing work and ask for references from previous customers.

UKBR (UK Bee Removers) A not-for-profit organisation set up specifically to set the standard within what is a young profession and as a conduit to allow the general public to make contact with experienced operatives at  It consists of both beekeepers and pest controllers, who specialise in the humane relocation of established feral bee colonies.

They have a Facebook group which can assist in answering queries and getting in touch: along with a code of practice: and a guide to controlling honey bees.

Oliver Kelly, BBKA member, performs cut outs within the Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire areas: [email protected]

Tim Wylie, BBKA member, specialist in humane removal of feral bee colonies from listed buildings across the UK (combining thirty plus years of architectural experience with listed buildings and beekeeping knowledge to safeguard both the building assets and the bees).

Daren George, BBKA member, of The Hampshire Bee Company performs the safe and live removal of feral bees from buildings and places of inconvenience throughout the South of England.

Andrew Bradley, BBKA member, performs safe live bee removal in Lincolnshire, Nottingham, Rutland and Peterborough areas:  [email protected] 

Jason Arms, BBKA and UKBR member, specialises in the safe and live removal of honey bee colonies from buildings and places of inconvenience throughout Kent and the surrounding counties.

Marcus Collings, BBKA and UKBR member, carrying out live honey bee removals all over the South of England. Qualified and insured, working with homeowners and the bees to come to the best, most sustainable solution for everyone. 

Gary Hipperson, BBKA member, carries out all aspects of specialist bee removal, from building works to removals to rehoming, across the UK:  [email protected] 

Peter Higgs, BBKA Member, from BeeGone and PGH Pest Prevention covers the whole of the country for live bee removal. [email protected]

British Pest Control Association (BPCA) - Pest Advice for Controlling Bees:

BPCA has a useful document called 'We’re Leaving You Bee – Why we didn’t Treat your Bees':

If you have a listed building then you should read this page about listed building consent carefully

To support the work of the BBKA please DONATE HERE