Whilst honey bees are not protected, they are highly beneficial to the ecosystem and are declining in numbers. Therefore, if a nest isn’t causing any health and safety risks, it should be left undisturbed.
If you have a problem with honey bees, we recommend contacting the Hertfordshire Beekeepers Association to see if they can safely remove the nest. Beekeepers won’t be able to remove a nest from areas that are difficult to access e.g. a chimney stack. If a colony is in an inaccessible area and they are likely to cause a serious risk to health, you should contact a professional pest control company.
Occasionally, you may see a swarm of bees. This is the process by which a new colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees. This swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees. Swarming is mainly a spring phenomenon, usually within a two or three week period, but occasional swarms can happen throughout the summer.
If a bee swarm settles in your garden or on your house you should contact the Hertfordshire Beekeepers Association for advice. A beekeeper may be able to remove the swarm if it is accessible. However, if the swarm has already moved into a building (for example into a chimney or airbrick) a beekeeper won’t be able to remove it. You would therefore need to consider whether or not to contact a competent pest control company to destroy it.
If you are not sure if the insects causing a problem are honey bees or wasps, see the guide below or visit the British Bee Keepers Association website.
If your neighbour has a bee/wasp problem, try talking to them. If you cannot reach an agreement and the problem persists, contact the Environmental Health Team so that an Officer can visit the property to assess the issue.
These are small bees with a similar shape to a wasp so they are frequently confused with wasps. They are active during April, May, and early June with the peak of activity in May which is too early in the year to be wasps. They look much like honey bees but are generally a little hairier. Most calls received by the Environmental Health team in late April and May about bee/wasp problems are in fact solitary bees. They are slightly smaller than honey bees but similar in appearance. Like all bees, they are important pollinators of plants, but unlike honey bees and bumble bees they have no workers and have no collective nest.
Mortar bees excavate chambers in soft mortar joints in brick walls (approximately 20mm deep) and mining bees will excavate chambers in soft/sandy soil. Although they are solitary they do excavate their chambers close together and thus give the impression of being in a colony. Despite popular belief, mortar/masonry bees do not damage brickwork and mortar, and only take advantage of existing decay.
Please be aware that these solitary bees:
- are harmless (do not sting);
- are beneficial;
- do not pester people; and
- do not damage buildings.
We therefore, do not offer an eradication or removal service for solitary bees
Bee / wasp nest on neighbouring property
If your neighbour has a bee or wasp nest on their property and won't do anything about it talk to them first and explain why the nest is affecting you and try to agree on what, if anything, needs to be done. If you can’t reach an amicable agreement and the nest is causing you a problem, you can contact the Environmental Health Team to request that one of our Officers visits the property to assess whether action can be taken.
Environmental Health and Licensing
01438 242908 / 242916