Close-up of a live Yellow Jacket Wasp on a white background.

Wasps in April?

10th April 2017

Queen Wasps

Now at last the weather has started to warm up we have begun to receive enquiries from customers saying “they have a wasp nest”.  We can assure you that wasps will not have begun to make their nests in April.  This time of year queen wasps (which are larger than the worker wasps which we see during the summer months) are emerging from hibernation.   The queen wasps are transient individuals during the Spring so we are unable to control them.   As a general rule we do not start treating wasp nests until mid June.  During the spring and early summer wasps can be regarded as beneficial insects as they kill an enormous number of flies, caterpillars and other insects to feed to their young.  However, as their numbers increase in the summer they can become a nuisance and that is when we can help by treating wasp nests.

Don’t Panic! It’s only a Bee

It is so lovely to see bumble bees buzzing busily around the garden searching for pollen and nectar to turn into honey and food for their newly hatching brood.   Where would we be without our bees? They are a very important part of our food chain, one third of the food we eat would not be available but for bees.

Mason and Mining Solitary Bees

Did you know that there are approximately 270 different types of solitary bee in this country?  Solitary bees are excellent pollinators often attracted to one type of flower so when that flower’s season ends so does the bees activity.

The fertile female bees live alone in a hole or burrow for about 6-8 weeks of the year while they lay eggs.  The burrow may be in well drained dry soil (mining bee) or in soft brick mortar (mason bee).   Sometimes as these bees can congregate together their numbers can be quite alarming but please do not let them frighten you.  They are very interesting to watch as they go backwards and forwards with mud to block up the entrance to their burrow.  You can even purchase nesting boxes for them from wildlife shops/garden centres or see http://www.arkwildlife.co.uk/acatalog/Bird_Food_Bees_42.html#aFGSB_2d00 (or make your own, as we have done by cutting down a piece of guttering and put short lengths of garden cane inside see photo below). Put the bee house up on a sunny side of your house.

Our Mason Bee House

Solitary bees have a short lifespan, living as adults for only about 6 to 8 weeks. So activity can cease as quickly as it is started.  Most solitary bees have no sting.

Honey bees

The poor honey bee is having a tough time of it.  Not only struggling with the varroa mite but now the Asian Hornet is threatening the British honey bee see link to see how you can help https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/conservation-biodiversity/wildlife/perfect-for-pollinators

 

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