To many people, it is difficult to tell the difference between honey bees and wasps, and many reports to pest control companies result in bees being identified, rather than the more dangerous wasp.

A trained and experienced pest control technician can decide whether bees or wasps are present within minutes, if not seconds of arrival at a London property. Top Dog Pest Control has put together some information to help you decide whether you have a wasp or bee present.

How to Tell the Difference between Bees and Wasps

Honey Bees Wasps
Bees are either completely black in colour or browner with orange or brown stripes Wasps are more brightly coloured than bees with black and yellow stripes
Bees are hairier and have a rounder body The body of a wasp is shiny and smooth with a very small waist
Bees only attack when provoked or when their nest is threatened More aggressive than bees, wasps sting more readily
Bees are known for the fact that they can only sting once and then die Wasps can administer multiple stings and survive afterwards
Colonies can consist of up to 75,000 bees Nests can contain up to 10,000 wasps in the height of the season
Bees source protein from pollen Insects are a source of food and protein for wasps
Worker bees build and maintain nests The queen is responsible for building the nest
Colonies of bees can survive winter without the need to hibernate by using food sources collected during warmer weather for nourishment and by sharing body warmth When the wasp season comes to an end, the colony dies leaving only the queen, which hibernates through winter to build a new nest the following Spring

Determining if you have a Bee or Wasp Nest

If you are still having trouble establishing to difference, here are some extra points to help you determine if you have a bee or wasp nest at your London premises:

  • A wasp approaches a nest in a very direct manner using only one point of entry. Bees, however, hover around an area of approximately a foot wide and use several holes to access where their nest is.
  • Bees, particularly mortar bees, are active mainly on sunny days. However, wasp activity can still be seen on overcast days.
  • Finding a buzzing swarm in your garden can be very distressing. However, wasps are not actually known for swarming, and therefore what you are seeing if more than likely a swarm of honey bees that have come from a nearby hive and are merely using your garden as a resting point. A swarm will normally move on of its own accord, but if you are uncomfortable waiting for that to happen, you should call a local London bee keeper to come and collect them.

Who do I Report a Nest to?

** Advice from Top Dog Pest Control is always the same: never attempt to destroy bee or wasp nests yourself, either by using shop bought products or blocking up holes. This will almost certainly aggravate the nest and both bees and wasps will attack in large numbers if they feel threatened. **

Wasps: Reporting a wasp nest immediately to our qualified team at Top Dog Pest Control is imperative. If left, wasp nests only increase very quickly in numbers and the wasps become more and more aggressive as the season goes on, putting you and those around your London property at risk.

Bees: Bees are of huge benefit to the eco-system and are becoming more and more endangered. For this reason, unless there is an immediate and significant risk, Top Dog Pest Control will always try to avoid destroying a nest.

In the event that you have a swarm of bees in your garden, calling your local beekeeper to collect them will mean that get relocated a hive.

**A final word of warning: destroying a bee nest or swarm yourself is not only dangerous, it could lead to you being issued with a large fine. If some of the bees somehow survive and return to a local hive, they will infect the hive with insecticide and consequently kill the colony by contaminating them. Cases of this have been reported with fines of up to £15,000 . **

Author: This article was written by Dean Mannion, Senior Pest Control Technician for Top Dog Pest Control who provide London bee control and London wasp control services. 

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