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 www.ukbr.org.  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: https://www.facebook.com/groups/759123678164015/?ref=share along with a code of practice: https://m.facebook.com/groups/759123678164015/permalink/1158121498264229/ 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, performs cut outs within (but not limited to) Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire areas (specialist in removal of feral bees from listed buildings): https://www.timwylie.net/taa.html

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. https://www.thehampshirebeecompany.co.uk

https://www.sevenoaksbeekeepers.org.uk/bees-in-buildings/

https://swarmcatcher.co.uk/honey-bees-in-walls/

British Pest Control Association (BPCA) - Pest Advice for Controlling Bees:
https://bpca.org.uk/pest-aware/Page-2/bee-control-how-to-get-rid-of-bees-bpca-a-z-ofpests/189185

BPCA has a useful document called 'We’re Leaving You Bee – Why we didn’t Treat your Bees': https://bpca.org.uk/write/MediaUploads/Pages/A-Z/Help%20documents/BPCA_-_Beewise_flyer_2018_WEBSITE_VERSION.pdf


Destroying Nests
Whilst no one would wish to see a colony of honey bees destroyed, if they cannot be safely removed and they present a risk or disturbance to the property owner, the only option may be to have the colony destroyed by a professional pest control operative and there are many suitable private and Council agencies who can undertake that task. Bees are endangered; however, they are not
protected.


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