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Tree Wasp/Norwegian Wasp

These are two very similar species occurring locally in Britain with the Norwegian wasp being the dominant species in Northern Scotland. They are both are aggressive species but fortunately nest in trees and bushes, and seldom enter buildings and therefore only rarely come into conflict with man.

Honey Bee

These are easily distinguished from wasps, being finely banded in orange and brown on the abdomen, with a brown furry thorax, not black and shiny as wasps. Whilst bees can successfully sting humans, they have a barbed sting which they find impossible to remove from the tough skin, and would only sting under extreme provocation.

Solitary Bees

There are several families of bees which are solitary by nature, the commonest group belonging to the genus Andrena, and are frequently called mining bees. They resemble closely the honey bee, although the individual species differ in coloration. One of the best known species is the tawny mining bee, Andrena fulva, which has the thorax and the abdomen richly covered in dark tan coloured fur. Each individual female bee will make a nest in a suitable position in the ground, and it frequently happens that sandy domestic lawns are a suitable site. Thus there may be many individual vests grouped closely together, taking advantage of the ease of excavation of the light soil. They occasionally cause a minor nuisance until they disappear in mid summer. They cannot successfully sting humans.

 

Hornet

This insect is larger than the common wasp, at 19-35mm in length, and is banded in yellow and brown, and occurs locally in the southern half of England and throughout Europe.

Mason Bees

The mason bee is unlikely to be confused with common or German wasps. Their coloration is very similar to the honey bee, and they are likely to make their nests in suitable cavities in buildings, and will even excavate soft mortar from brickwork to make their individual nests. They are beneficial in pollinating plants and fruit trees, but can cause severe damage to soft mortar in older properties over several seasons. Re-pointing the brickwork a particular. But the bees return each season and will often tunnel round the new mortar their stings seem unable to penetrate human skin.

 

Bumble Bees

Most people can recognise these large furry bees, considerably larger than the honey bee, and frequently with the tip of the abdomen coloured brightly in ochre yellow or a rich tawny colour. These are social insects, although not as well organised the honey bee. Usually the nests are produced in holes in trees, or possibly by excavating in soft or sandy earth, they do not produce a signigicant store of honey during the season. The males and females are produced towards the end of summer, and only the mated females survive the winter by hibernation. Bumble bees with a noticeable white tip to the abdomen are males of Bombus terrestris, the females of which have a yellowish tip, and make their nests below ground.

 

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