PBKA was contacted about a “swarm” of bees in Rosetta Road Peebles last week.
Several members went to investigate and it was quickly obvious to experienced beekeepers that the bees were not honeybees – but what were they?
David Ferguson described the scene:-
There are probably about 50 to 100 of them hovering about over a section of garden wall 10 to 15 ft long, which is about 5 ft high to the pavement. I saw a couple going in and out of small holes but most were just generally buzzing about. Nearly all were carrying pollen.
David also took some excellent photos which were forwarded to Buglife.
Jamie from Buglife gave this response:-
Masonry bees are very, very calm and safe to leave around so there is no risk to local residents or children if they’re let be. I’ve not known many people at all to ever be stung by them and those that have are entomologists who are handling them for identification purposes. They’re calm nature is why so many people put up solitary bee homes in gardens to attract them in. If you were unfortunate enough to be stung, it is meant to be far, far less painful or dangerous than that of honeybees.
I’d never say that they definitely won’t sting, but they’re very unlikely to do anything to any passers by at all and they don’t get defensive around their nest areas at all. I would always recommend them being left as they are. They’re window of activity is actually very narrow so it is quite likely that in another few weeks you won’t see them again until either a second brood later in the summer or until 2018, as all they’re doing is filling holes with individual eggs and furnishing them with pollen for food, then sealing them up and leaving them alone.
Buglife also identified the species
Andrena nigroaenea (Buffish mining bee)
Andrena scotica (Chocolate mining bee)