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Bumble bees! help!

(21 Posts)
tanith Wed 21-May-14 12:52:10

Noticed this morning big bees gathered around an overflow pipe at the side of the house, as far as I can tell it's an old pipe and not connected to anything but they appear to be going in and out. What's the best thing to do? I don't want them nesting there, if I try and block it some will be trapped inside. OH will have to do it as its too high for me to climb up. Any suggestions gratefully received.

Gagagran Wed 21-May-14 13:00:59

Try and find a local beekeeper (website?) for advice tanith.

whenim64 Wed 21-May-14 13:19:56

If it's not honeybees they probably won't be interested. I was advised by our local bee keepers association to wait till the end of summer and they'd just disappear, but if honey bees they'd come and collect them. Mine did indeed just go, haven't had them back since.

Mishap Wed 21-May-14 13:26:59

My neighbour has them in her chimney and they congregate in her living room via the fireplace. She just shoos them out. I think if it were me I would be looking for a more permanent solution.

J52 Wed 21-May-14 14:06:43

Some bee just live in little groups and don't bother anyone, if left alone. We have three living under our deck. Last year the took over a bat box. X

tanith Wed 21-May-14 14:19:38

They are very large and look like bumble bees to me not honey bees OH is paranoid about flying things in the house since we had wasps build a huge nest in the porch 2yrs ago.. if they just go about their business and don't get in the house I'm inclined to keep quiet then. I don't see how they would get inside if I'm honest its just seeing them going in and out of the pipe that freaked me a little, I'm wondering where it goes but nothing in the bathroom is connected at the place where I can see the pipe on the outside so I'm hoping it just goes to a dead end and not under the bathroom floor.. fingers crossed. thanks everyone

Aka Wed 21-May-14 15:10:01

Found this which might help.

"Bumblebees form colonies, which are usually much less extensive than those of honey bees. This is due to a number of factors including the small physical size of the nest cavity, the responsibility of a single female for the initial construction and reproduction that happens within the nest, and the restriction of the colony to a single season (in most species). Mature bumblebee nests often hold fewer than 50 individuals. Bumblebees rarely preserve their nests through the winter. In temperate species, the last generation of summer includes a number of queens who overwinter separately in protected spots. The queens can live up to one year."

Apparently they are useful pollinators and like their cousins, the honeybee, are in decline, so I'd cherish your little colony tanith

Elegran Wed 21-May-14 15:10:38

If it is an overflow pipe, then it probably comes from your cold water tank in the attic.

Aka Wed 21-May-14 15:13:30

Or where you cold water tank used to be....

Elegran Wed 21-May-14 15:20:24

They are probably not popping out at the far end, but living in the pipe quite near the exit. If you can easily get to the attic (or wherever it seems the other end of the pipe is) and they are clearly not using the pipe as a motorway in, then covering the end would make DH feel happier. If it is an active overflow, then something made of mesh over the end would let the water through in the unlikely event of it being needed.

If it did overflow, the bumblebees would get a sudden cold shower!

Charleygirl Wed 21-May-14 15:25:11

Tanith if it is of any help, myself and two neighbours have the same problem. The Pest Control man is coming tomorrow and he will "smoke" them out. Mine are at the front of the house whereas last year they were at the rear. I cannot remember how much it cost me. The Pest Control man had return x2 as they were not happy to move.

moomin Wed 21-May-14 15:41:05

Honey bees have made a nest in our neighbour's flat roof and from time to time there are hundreds swirling around, but only for a brief few minutes before they dissipate. So far it has not caused any problems and it is just a case of keeping an eye on things. As all bees are having a tough time at the moment, I'm prepared to live and let live!

tanith Wed 21-May-14 15:41:14

Thanks everyone I am tempted to leave well alone for now and hope OH doesn't notice them. I just know he will freak out if he spies them and they really are BIG BEES! The thing is its only an overflow pipe so about one inch diameter I can't hear a thing in the bathroom no buzzing or anything and the pipe can't go to the loft as the overflow from the cold water tank is round the back of the house it must be a dead overflow pipe from the old bath which was removed when the walkin shower was put in. I will update you on any developements lol.

durhamjen Wed 21-May-14 19:15:47

Get in touch with your local Friends of the Earth group. They might be able to help you.

NfkDumpling Wed 21-May-14 19:35:46

Last year we had a colony of really big bumble bees living in an old mouse hole in the hedge bank about 20 feet from our conservatory, the windows of which were open a lot of the time. They were no problem at all. In fact we didn't know they were there until we cut the hedge and I noticed them while I was collecting the hedge trimmings. There were about 20 buzzing around anxiously the entrance and foolishly I tried to clear the bits away for them and must have got hold of one with a bit of hedge. I had never been stung by a bee. I have now!

Have a look at the ALL ABOUT BEES Website: I think you may get away with leaving them alone.

J52 Wed 21-May-14 20:50:17

If they get into the house, it is quite easy to trap them in a pint glass, slide some thing underneath and then release them out side. Our conservatory seems to be in their flight path and when the door is open they are always popping in! X

NfkDumpling Wed 21-May-14 20:54:31

I have an old sheep skin feather duster (if that makes sense) which is excellent for trapping bees, wasps and even butterflies which blunder into the conservatory.

Aka Wed 21-May-14 21:16:42

I use your method J52 and each hot day rescue several bees who fly in to the conservatory and can't get out again. Sometimes they are too exhausted by their efforts and the heat to fly away. I take them outside, mix up a weak solution of honey and tepid water and present it to them in a teaspoon.

I love to watch their long proboscis unfurl as they suck up the water and revive enough to fly off home, wherever that is.

Ana Wed 21-May-14 21:19:41

DH does that, Aka - but with just water. Will tell him about the honey!smile

Aka Wed 21-May-14 21:27:03

Very dilute Ana smile

Ana Wed 21-May-14 21:35:35

Right - amazing how they're revived after liquid though. I'm sure a lot of us have seen bees crawling around on the ground and thought they were dying, whereas they might just have been dying for a drink!