There are many different species of Bees in the UK but we will only focus on the most common ones which people are most likely to come into contact with.
The difference in appearance between wasps and bees are: wasps appear smooth and bald, bees appear furry or fluffy. Take a look at the bee photos below.
The simple answer to this question is: Bees that sting can be dangerous.
The two main species of Bee which can sting are Honey Bees and Bumble Bees.
Honey Bees can be highly dangerous simply due to the number of individual Bees in a colony.
Sadly each year a few people (mostly Beekeepers) are killed by Honey Bees.
Normally Bees which are kept in Hives are reasonably well tempered, but occasionally for various reasons they can become highly aggressive and will attack anything that ventures near to their nest or hive.
There is a difference between a wild honey bee nest and a bee hive. A bee hive is a structure (normally made from wood) which a honey bee nest is contained in, the nest is artificially manipulated by the beekeeper so as it can be managed easily. A wild honey bees nest is as nature intended and is solely managed by the bees themselves.
Genetics play an important role in the temperament of colony.
Of all the Bee species, Honey Bees are the most dangerous.
Honey bees although similar to wasps in appearance and size, are usually much darker in colour and have a fluffy Thorax. Numbers of honey bees will be in the thousands.
Bumble Bees can sting if provoked, but generally they very good natured and if left alone will go about their business and will not interfere with anyone.
The numbers of Bumble Bees in a colony are quite small, generally between 50 - 100 individuals.
Bumble bees are black, round and very fluffy. There are several different species of bumble bees varying in size.
If you have a Bumble Bee nest and it is located in an awkward situation, some pest controllers and beekeepers are prepared to remove and re-home them for a small fee. Contact your local pest controller for further advice.
Other Bees which are often encountered are Mining Bees and Masonry Bees, both types are harmless and cannot physically sting people. They do have a sting but it is not strong enough to penetrate human skin.
Mining and Masonry bees are solitary bees (they live on their own) apart from when they are mating at which time they can muster quite high numbers, but generally less than 100 individuals.
We do not recommend destroying either species.
Grey Mining Bee
Tawny Mining Bee
Mining Bees burrow into the ground to lay their eggs, they make a hole similar to a worm hole with a heap of soil at the top of the hole.
They are present in the spring time and will only stay for a few weeks, once their eggs have been laid they will disappear.
Masonry Bees (often mistaken for wasps in the spring time) burrow into soft mortar in brickwork, they also use the new plastic mortar vents which are installed in modern houses. They pack these holes with mud and pollen and then lay eggs. They are active in the spring for around a month.
Once they have laid eggs, they will disappear.
If you have Masonry Bees burrowing into your brickwork, you need to have the brickwork re-pointed.