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Working around Bee's Safely , Any Advice ?

A couple of situations have arisen regarding Bee's 

Firstly i have discovered a colony of Bee's have taken up residency in my outbuilding where i store machinery and work materials , They come and go under a gap in the door , They seem docile if left alone but become agitated if i open the door , I am happy for them to live in there going about their business but at the same time i need to go about my business but it would be a total violation of their privacy if i go in and try and quickly snatch my tools and machinery also there is no way of spotting their nest as the space is well stocked with my equipment , At present have had to leave some gear in the van and in the garden so i dont have to disturb the Bee's but i am having to make do with minimum kit . 

Second Bee situation is in a customers garden we got stung last year just going down the steps where there is an orchard and raised beds for growing veg Its a large area terraced full of all the right plants Bee's love . 99%of the bees foraging down there are totally docile but there is a very aggressive species black and white stripes which launces instant ariel attacks from quite a distance and is ruthless and relentless in its attack , there is no way to out run it . The Customers got stung several times last year and its started again this week with a colleague getting stung twice in one day . 

All i can think of is to get some of those bee keepers suits and hats to work in safely , do you need a full kit or just a hat gloves and perhaps an overall , The prices of suits differ , does this reflect the quality of material ? 

Also if the aggressive Bee can't get you to move on because you are wearing a Bee suit will it cause a swarm to launch an attack , with dangerous consequences ? Is it even practical to work in a Bee suit  ?

We Love Bee's but its affecting productivity , Any suggestions helpful . Thanks ..



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  • One of the larger gardens I maintain has about a dozen hives. I've been stung a few times, usually because I've lingered too long in their flightpath from the hive. The past year or two they seem to be more aggressive for some reason so now any work on the beds in that area of the garden gets left until a rainy day when they're not flying.

    • PRO

      Thanks Colin interesting , rainy day is a good suggestion .

      there are no hives in this particular garden and never had a problem up until Two years ago and only from the bee which we can't identify , it doesn't appear to forage and socialise with the other bees it just attacks with no provication .

      It might be a carpenter bee from pictures we Google .

      It doesn't sting and go it seems to lock on and prolongs the agony , the four letter expletives are not fit for our customers ears . .

      My biggest fear is a swarm of them .

  • I'd phone a local bee keeper to see if they'd re-home them. I've got a customer that has filled two bee hives that way.

    A few weeks ago I arrive at his house, he had a new hive next to the patio that I was repointing. They were really frisky, of the heads from rapeseed. It was the most stressful patio repoint I've ever done! 🙄

  • PRO

    Funnily enough we were at a hotel in Bristol yesterday and walked a path probably 30 times 

    only after putting the ton bag of weeds on the patio slab which was the nest entrance for 2 mins did we notice about 20 bumble bees 

    we moved the bag and everything returned to normal. I had to inform the owner and management as after a Google search mr bumble can sting endlessly but a honey bee dies after stinging and I was told only 40 bumbled are in a nest but Google says 400 so the risk to hotel client and staff is high so they are been removed 🥲 doubt relocated 

    the garden is a bee haven but sadly nesting in the main path is not suitable as guests trundle there suitcases over the top 

    my lad Arron has stood on two wasp nests a year for the last three years. I never have lol 

    sorry but it does make me laugh as every time 

  • Hi John, it would be interesting to know what sort of bees they are.  Honey bees can range in temperament from completely calm to quite aggressive.  Bumble bees tend not to be aggressive, and I've never heard of anyone being stung by a solitary bee.  I would expect the ones in your shed to be bumbles just from where they are.  If they're fat and furry they're bumbles, in which case they're unlikely to sting but some protection might be a sensible precaution.  If they're fairly smooth they will be honey bees, in which case your best bet is to contact your local bee keeping association, who should have someone that will come and remove them for rehoming. 

    In the orchard there will be all sorts.  Black and white is an unusual description for a honey bee but the different strains do vary.  A picture would be helpful, even if you have to swat one to do it!  They are most likely honey bees, either from a neighbour's hive or a wild colony in a tree.

    Quality of suits is not always reflected in price- National Bee Supplies have a sensible range at sensible prices.  The main isue with wearing one is that they can be hot, also you can't wear ear defenders.  Have you been stung, ie do you know how badly you're affected?  A few people are fully allergic; some (like my wife) will get pain and swelling; and for some (like me) it's just like a nettle sting, so that might affect how much protection you want- for example, in that situation I would just wear a hat and veil but my wife would want a full suit.

    They won't call others if frustrated by a bee suit, but if they sting you that releases pheremones that call others.  Don't wear aftershave or eat bananas if you are going there. 

    Engine noise can also attract them, so don't leave a mower ticking over.


    Hope that helps.

    • PRO

      Thanks Tim very helpful . Conclusion I feel would be to report it if they posed a danger to the public as Luke and badger suggest .

      I know stings can be fatal to some people .

      My Bees are a B nuisance in the outbuilding but bless em to watch them crawl under the door to gather pollen they are just doing what comes natural , they appear to be bumble bees I understand they go away in Autumn so I am happy to live with them .

      The other Bees I don't know where they come from the garden is quite high up you would have to absail down the side of a cragg to get into the garden below . It's bordered by a very dense hawthorn hedge about 20 feet thick and 60 feet long I suspect they live in there .

      The other part of the garden spiral upwards higher still and this garden is occupied by wasps ,never been stung by the wasps just the twitchy dark coloured bee which hovers in front of your face before stinging usually arms or hands . I have thought of taking a photo of the bee in action but not the best time as the victim is usually screaming or running myself included lol .

      Customers have been stung also just walking along the path .

      There are some badgers living in the garden we wonder if they keep having a go at the hive and it's put the Bees on high alert ? 

      It's just fortunate no one stung so far has had a bad reaction . Last year my thumb throbbed for months even though the sting was removed intact . 

  • One of the darker strains of honeybee





    Carniolan Queen Bees (artificially inseminated) • ApiExpert

    • PRO

      Very similar Tim with the oval body , Also fits the description of the German black bee which is described as a honey bee . 

      Reading more about Bees and there seems to be conflicting information regarding bumble bees ?  Some say docile bee with small colony and others say large colony and will turn aggressive if disturbed and chase for very long distance with a more painful sting than other bees . 

      I was stung multiple times blocking a flight path while mowing years ago by bees from a bee keepers hive of honey bees all over my face although it swelled up the stings felt  minor compared to one sting from customers garden bees . 

      Its weird how so many creatures and insects especially ants and birds choose to build their nests very close to where theire is human activity when they have vast pockets of woodland and relatively undisturbed areas of countryside to choose from .

      • German black bees are quite rare although some beekepers are starting to get them.  Any strain of honeybee can produce an aggressive colony and some will follow for quite a distance.  You may have got more sensitive to stings, that can happen.  I would say assume honeybees and decide on a level of protective clothing that works for you.

        Most bumbles are docile but in recent years we've have tree bumbles in this country which can be a problem.  They nest in holes in trees or often in nest boxes and will defend them, but are quite small with hairy yellow backs that look like backpacks.  Most bumbles live in or near the ground.

        • PRO

          Stung yet again yesterday ,same colleague and through her tough gardening glove .

          This time it was a honey bee for sure it crawled away then took off .

          We are thinking of contacting a local bee keeping group to see what they suggest if anything . 

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