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Wasps, Bees & Hornets: Quick Facts

British wasps number nine commonly encountered species and because of their paper nests are referred to as paper wasps. The largest of the group is the European Hornet and the Common Wasp is among the smallest. A single sting rarely causes serious consequences but in a victim with an allergy a single sting could kill. Most wasps nests contain around 3000 wasps and the largest nests contain over 20000. A wasp sting does not have a barb, so wasps can sting you multiple times.
Bees in the UK number hundreds of species. The most common we see are honey bees, bumble bees, mason bees, mining bees and leafcutter bees. Honey bee swarms can contain 50-100 thousand bees so can be very dangerous if disturbed. Bumble bees are social insects like honey bees. These are the next most abundant bee we see and tree bumble bees that nest under loft insulation and directly on your ceiling can be a major nuisance and quite aggressive. Most other bumble bees nest in the ground so cause few problems. Masonry bees are solitary, making holes in soft mortar and in some cases can cause major structural damage. Masonry bees rarely sting people. Mining bees commonly swarm over lawns and muddy borders during the spring mating season, but rarely sting so are a nuisance and not a danger. Leaf cutting bees are solitary and are a rarer sight, choosing to nest in holes and crevices. Again these bees rarely sting.
European hornets are the only species of hornet found in the UK. Despite press reports the Asian hornet has never been formally recorded in the UK a natural setting. Hornets are an impressive sight and the sound they make when they fly is equally impressive. Hornets prefer rural areas with plenty of woodland. In recent years we have seen a change in this behaviour with Hornets nesting in
the city becoming a more frequent sight. Hornets have a fairly good temperament, but never get between them and their nest or they will attack and
have the most painful sting of all wasp species in the UK.