At this time of year, late Spring and early Summer insect populations are growing and becoming more visible and the phone begins to ring.
From left to right and not to scale, bumble, wasp, and honey bee.
To establish what the caller actually has I ask the following questions.
Are they round and fluffy or wasp like? A round and fluffy answer suggests bumbles, and wasp like suggests either honey bees or wasps.
If it is wasps then questions about location and or nest run that one down, and bees are usually identified by numbers. Yes all a bit crude but many people do not know the differences as it is not really a school topic. I was told point blank once that my observation hive was not bees at all (they thought bumbles were honey bees) and I was actually showing wasps. Uh huh…
At the business here we have a bumble colony in the roof. Are we worried? No. We are a guest house by the way.
Having handled (by the wing) thousands of bumbles I have been stung once. Please re-read. Once. I am not saying how often the honey bees have stung me but trust me there is a major factor in there…. tens of thousands of times at the least, so bumbles are safe all in all as the sting it’s self was minor compared to that from a honey bee, as in if the bee were a 10 the bumble would barely make a 1.
Grand parents in particular worry about bumbles and I try to convince them that there is a major learning opportunity to be exploited. First lesson is the world cannot be sanitised for kids, and that bees do a great deal of good and are to be respected for this issue alone, not to mention their objections to being bothered can be painful.
Honey bees are another matter as are wasps as both can be dangerous due to the risk of anaphylactic shock.
Wasps whilst doing good can be a serious nuisance and advice should be taken on ridding the premises of them.
Honey bees need expert advice especially if in a building.