I don’t think they are honeybees, what should I do?

If the insects are not honeybees, this part of the website shows you how to tell other insects apart and what to do after that.


Bumblebees are often confused with honeybees. However they are rounder, larger and furrier and come with a variety of coloured stripes across the end of their tails. They may be in a bird box, under the decking or in the compost heap.

Bumblebees are important pollinators. Leave the nests alone if possible. They will die out at the end of summer and will cause no further problems. Bumblebees rarely sting or attack people or animals and should therefore not be disturbed. 

There are 24 different types of native bumblebee, all of which vary in size and colour.

For more information about them visit: Bumblebee Conservation Trust , and/or Buzz About Bees.

Beekeepers are unable to assist in the removal of bumblebees.

Solitary bees

Are there lots of small bees popping in and out of a hole in wall or very small holes in the ground. They may have a “reddy/brown” bottom or be almost black.

These are solitary bees, of which there are 225 species recorded in the UK and they are not a threat nor will they harm you, your family or pets. Solitary bees are important pollinators and should be left alone. Their numbers will decrease over the summer and their nests should be left alone. For more information go to Wild About Gardens.

See also All Things Wildlife for some helpful photos.

Beekeepers are unable to assist in the removal of solitary bees.

Wasps and European Hornets

Wasp are hairless with bright yellow with black stripes. They may be hungry for sweet foods in late summer, and may be nesting in the roof of your house, your garden shed or in a nearby tree. 

European Hornets, on the other hand are very big with a loud buzz. They have a reddy-brown and yellow body. These are valuable pollinators usually found in wooden areas.

Think of wasps and hornets as the lions of the savannah, the meat eaters. Without wasps, the world would be overrun with spiders and insects. Each summer, social wasps in the UK capture an estimated 14,000,000kg of insect prey, such as caterpillars and greenfly.

While we may be afraid of them, they really are one of the gardener’s best allies. If you can, please live with them. They will die off naturally in the autumn and only the queen will survive through to next summer, when she will build a nest in a new place.

For more information visit BWARS.

Beekeepers are unable to assist in the removal of wasps or hornets.

Asian Hornets

The Asian hornet (or Yellow Legged) is smaller than our native hornet, with adult workers measuring from 25mm in length, and queens measuring 30mm. 

Its thorax is black (not red, like our European hornets). Its abdomen is mostly black except for its fourth abdominal segment which is a yellow band located towards the rear.

It has yellow legs and its face is orange with two brownish-red compound eyes.

This is an invasive insect must be notified.

Photo by David Walker

IF YOU SEE THIS, contact the Chair of Wiltshire BKA immediately

Sophie Butcher: 07711 951 343.

It would also be helpful if you could send a photograph and location details to: 

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