The Tree Bumblebee or New Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) is a very new species to the U.K. having been first seen on the 17 July 2001 in Wiltshire, and an even newer species of bumblebee to Manchester having only just been noticed in this area for the first time in 2012.
In the past when Manchester pest control have been asked to deal with various types of bees, or even how to kill bees, especially bumblebees, we have always advised people to leave them alone as they are docile and unlikely to cause any problems. This is still the case with other species of bumblebees and solitary bees.
However, this is certainly not the case with the Tree Bumblebee which is aggressive and very defensive of its nest.
We first encountered this bee in 2012 in the Manchester area when we received a number of calls from individuals who had been stung.
The story was nearly always the same ‘I was just mowing my lawn and they attacked me’ and very often the nest was located in a bird box.
We also noticed a number of nests where the bees behaved much more like wasps, defensively swarming round the entrance rather than the gentle coming and going of other species of bumblebee.
The following season in 2013 the rise of the bee was exponential, whereas in 2012 we had about twenty calls, last year we had nearer 200 and most of the bee calls we went out to turned out to be B.hypnorum.
The Tree Bumblebee often nests in bird boxes or in the soffits of houses and is usually the first bumblebee to emerge in the spring, being exceptionally hardy.
We cannot stress too much that this is an aggressive bee which can and will defend its nest vigorously, as the author found out to his cost whilst still a full five yards away from inspecting a nest.
It is an easily recognised bumblebee, both by its appearance and its flight. Its thorax (front bit, behind the head) is usually of a uniformly ginger colour (but examples with a darker, or even black thorax occur), the abdomen is black haired and the tail always white.
In flight it forms a swirl or swarm around the entrance to the nest, much like wasps. This behaviour is especially pronounced at mating time when males will swarm around the entrance to a nest waiting for the queens to emerge.
Part of its success in colonising the U.K. has been its biology, it is a very early bee and reproduction is usually over by mid-summer, leaving the newly produced queens several months to feed and cover great distances before the need to hibernate for the winter.
Like all bumblebees the Tree Bumblebee is of no use to beekeepers as they do not produce honey in a bee hive like honeybees.
There are many different types of bee and if you are unsure which bee you have then please visit our ‘Wasps or Bees Page’.
Whilst most bumblebees are docile, all can and will sting and unlike the honeybee they are able to sting multiple times.
Whilst we do our utmost to avoid harming bees, the Tree Bumblebee is an aggressive invader which can and will attack unprovoked, especially in the vicinity of its nest.
In circumstances where this bee presents a very real danger, for example a nest on or near your house, especially where there are children or pets, then we will destroy the nest for you.
It is neither possible nor desirable to relocate the Tree Bumblebee.
If you live in our area of operation we charge £45 to deal with a Tree Bumblebee nest.
Please input your postcode into the box at the top of this page to check if we cover your area.