Bees are far less aggressive than wasps. They are unlikely to attack or sting unless they feel threatened.
There are four common types of bee in the UK:
These are unmistakable from other species, with their large, round furry bodies. They live in colonies and have an annual lifecycle, meaning the queen will start a new nest every spring.
Bumblebees usually nest underground and consider decking and compost heaps to be particularly desirable residences. They sometimes nest just above ground if they find long grass or a thick covering of leaves.
These are smaller and are usually a golden brown colour. They prefer to nest higher up, which can cause a problem if they choose the chimney stack or wall cavity of your house.
Honey bees sometimes swarm while they are looking for a new home. This can be an alarming sight, but if you keep clear, the swarm will always move on after a day or two.
These have a very distinct appearance, with a light brown thorax, black abdomen and white tail. Like honey bees, they prefer to nest high up and are particularly fond of bird boxes.
They are usually very active, but as with other bees, are not aggressive if left alone.
Solitary / masonry bees
These bees do not usually appear in large numbers. They have a black body and a brown tail.
Solitary bees can be found nesting in holes in the ground or in masonry.
Getting rid of bees
Bees are not protected and if you have a problem with them nesting on your property, it is legal to remove them. However, they are now considered endangered here in the UK, so consider whether they are really causing a nuisance before disturbing them.
They do not cause damage to your property and are unlikely to sting without provocation, so the best course of action is often to leave them alone. Make sure children are aware of them and stay well away.
In some cases, it is possible for a professional to relocate the nest without causing any harm to the bees. This is particularly the case with honey bees, which can be moved to a purpose-built beehive.
Destruction is also possible, but only as a final resort. If necessary, our bee removal experts in Essex have the skills and tools to do this safely, but we will always discuss with you first to explore alternative options.