Is it a honeybee, a bumblebee or a wasp?!

It's this time of year that honey bees are swarming and becoming more active due to the warmer weather and the brighter, longer days. Bumblebees have made nests in birdbox’s, sheds, compost bins and roof spaces and are out collecting pollen and nectar. Wasps seem to enjoy disturbing our lovely picnics at parks!

We get lots of messages about “swarms” in birdbox’s when actually these are 99% of the time small bumblebee nests. There are thousands and thousands of honey bees in a swarm and a swarm on a birdbox would look something like the picture below. If you see this, please email us and let us know if you’re based in the Hull area and we can hopefully come out and collect the swarm for you.

A honey bee swarm on a bird box. These are  not  bumble bees.

A honey bee swarm on a bird box. These are not bumble bees.

It's true that many people think there's just one type of bee - the fuzzy round bumblebees we see on the flowers in our garden and often the cartoon like bees we see in children's books. Honeybees can be mistaken for wasps and vice versa because of their similar shape and colour but if you look closely, they're in fact as different in appearance as they are in characteristics. In fact there's 26 different bumblebee species in the UK and about 270 species of bees in total. From honeybees, to bumblebees, leaf-cutter bees, mason bees, mining bees, carpenter bees, sweat bees and many many more.

We've put together a useful bee-guide which shows the differences in honeybees, bumblebees and wasps. 

We're so lucky to have such a variety of these amazing creatures in our gardens. It's important that if you do have a bumblebee nest, to leave them be if they're not causing a problem. We rely on them hugely and if you don't bother them, they won't bother you. If you have a honey bee nest or swarm, call your local beekeeper (For all you Hull residing folk, that means us!). It's likely they will collect them or will know someone who has the space to hive them properly and look after them. Like bumblebees, if they're not bothering you, leave them alone. If you have small children or pets, you may wish to get them exterminated which we don’t endorse.

Don't forget to plant bee-friendly flowers and plants in your garden! Please feel free to download and share our bee guide. Or, the next time you're out with family and friends and see a bee, impress them with your new found knowledge!


We are BeeLoved, a small team of two with 10 bee hives. We harvest our own delicious, raw honey, make pure beeswax candles and cosmetic products.