Urban Bees in the UK

Urban Bees in the UK

As summer is winding down we are already looking ahead to early next spring and making plans…  for bees!!!  Mason bees to be exact.  You may be ‘so over’ having bees as unwanted guests pestering you through out your outdoor endeavors.  We were inundated at an outdoor morning picnic recently to the point we had to start moving the food inside.  “Be careful of the wasps”, “don’t make them mad” and the ever popular “they are more afraid of you than you are of them” comments were aplenty through out the affair.  But there is some confusion about bees and, before we went on a bee adventure ourselves, we wanted to find out what the deal was.  So here we go…

Are all bees wasps?

No, but the term “wasp” incorporates a number of different, predatory groups such as hornets and yellow jackets.

Are bees and wasps really more afraid of me than I am of them?

Not likely, their main objective is to gather food for and protect their hive.  If you are in their way they will defend what is theirs.  Wasps may be more aggressive than other bees but the goal is still the same.  If they were afraid of you they would likely want to be far away from you rather than continuing to pursue you and your food.

What’s the main difference between bees and wasps?

Bees, that collect nectar and are major player amongst pollinators, typically have fuzzy bodies that readily hold onto the pollen the bee comes into contact with.  Wasps on the other hand don’t have a great deal of fuzz on their bodies and therefore aren’t great pollinators.  Wasps, instead, prey on other insects for their food.  So, if you think spraying insecticides on your garden to get rid of wasps is a good idea think twice.  Besides being illegal, you are likely harming innocent pollinators rather than the often more aggressive perpetrator, wasps.

Bee keeping is growing in popularity especially amongst urban homesteaders and urban community gardens.  There are many valuable resources out there to get you started if you are interested.  The Plantswoman will be getting her bees in the spring and we will be sure to share our progress here on the blog.  In the meantime, have patience with these flying friends.  They are needed.