Bee Rescue and Conservation

Bee Identification

For most people its not normally necessary to need to know  the difference between a bee and a wasp or a bee and a hover fly, or a honey bee and a bumble bee, but for those that find themselves needing to know hopefully we can help you out.
Between May and August we often get calls about bees which are in fact native bumble bees, nesting in compost heaps or under peoples decks, they are the larger furry species and are best left alone, they die back in winter.
We also receive an enormous number of calls describing Tree bumblebees, a recent import from Europe whose success has been staggering (probably at the expense of something native). It seems that every year we receive more and more calls about these. Our recommendation with these is to remove and relocate the nest, only where they can not be accessed should the use of insecticide be considered. There are many that advise leaving them in situ, we used to give this advise but have changed it as a result of customer feedback and experience. These invasive Tree Bees can become very aggressive at certain times in their nests life cycle.

If you see a swarm of bees hanging on a tree or bush they are actually honey bees waiting for scout bees to report back with news of a permanent home, and will often leave in a few hours or days, they are unlikely to be aggressive if left undisturbed. We are always keen to hear of these and recommend contacting your local bee keeping associations swarm liaison officer

Below are some images to help you distinguish between bees, wasps and hornets.

Wasps and hornets

Wasps and hornets do not collect pollen and bring it back to their hives attached to their back legs as can be seen by the bee in the image at the top of the page ~ only bees do that. So if you see bright yellow lumps on the legs this will help in bee identification.


Wasps are usually a litle bit larger than honey bees and are commonly found pests at picnics and outdoor catering areas. Wasps and hornets are omnivores and will eat both your sandwich and drink your pop. Wasps will nest in a variety of locations, they can be found nesting in the ground, garden sheds, thick bushes attic spaces and the list goes on. At the end of summer as the nest is dying they tend to become more aggressive as food for the workers is no longer produced in the nest and sting more frequently.
The biggest separator in bee identification is that wasps have bright yellow stripes whereas honey bees have dull banding this helps a lot to separate the two in bee identification.

Photo credit: nutmeg66 @ flickr

Photo credit: nutmeg66 @ flickr

Bumble Bees

Bumble bees are the gentle giant fuzzy bees. They are very docile and not inclined to sting.

They make small wax pots to store small quantities of nectar. They primarily nest underground. They help to pollinate the flowers in the garden and do not cause problems.

Bumble bees collect pollen and attach it to their back legs, in the same way that honey bees do.

Bees are perfect pollinators and important to the natural cycle that puts food on our tables.

bumble bee


Other Bee Types

Below is a picture of a Mason bee on top and a Mining Bee below it.

other bees


Photo credit: Nigel Jones @ flickr

 The Honey Bee

Below is a picture of a honey bee and to its right a swarm of bees that have settled in a tree.honeybeeA swarm of bees in a garden waiting for free capture and collection by a beekeeper offering free bee removall


If you have a swarm there will be hundreds and thousands of bees all clumped together, or moving on mass, these are honey bees. 

bumble bee compared to honey bee

A Honey bee to the left and the larger furry Bumble bee to the right

If you have bees in your garden then really you are one of the fortunate ones as they are wonderful pollinators and important to the natural cycle helping to provide us all with the food on our tables.

Bee Removal and Rehoming

Some local collectors will collect your honey bee swarm free of charge or for a small donation to cover the cost of fuel and to assist in the relocation and feeding of the bees.

However if the beekeeper is unable to assist then we can help, we specialise in resolving the bee relocation problems that others can’t.

We remove and rehome live honey bee colonies thru out England & Wales and will travel to Europe where needed

PLEASE CALL US on 01297 441272.


Bee Removal and Re-homing

If you have a bee swarm or bee colony contact a bee keeper; someone who cares, not just an exterminator who will kill the bees and charge you for it.

For situations the beekeeper can’t help then call us – we specialise in these problems. 

Call SwarmCatcher on 01297 441272