Bee-ware - stinging insects are about

10:23 19 June 2014

A honeybee at work in an Axminster garden

A honeybee at work in an Axminster garden

Archant

East Devon Council offers expert advice on how to avoid being targeted by bees and wasps

Residents in East Devon are being offered advice to help take the sting out of the wasp and bee season.

Experts say it is important to understand the behaviour of flying insects and take the correct precautions.

Ian Simpson, the district council’s new technician providing a pest control treatment for residents, said: “It’s the tendency of honeybees to swarm which can worry people. The best thing to do is to keep away from a swarm. The bees gather in the swarm – usually on vertical posts, trees or the eaves of buildings - and then move off together in a day or so.

“Sometimes the location of the swarm interferes with normal activity and in these cases a local bee keeper may come to collect it.”

Mr Simpson said wasps are not usually harmful to people unless they are aggravated but it’s hard not to flap one away if it lands on your food. Wasps can also become more aggressive around their nests and these are best removed when they are built near homes and gardens or in public areas.

He continued: “Wasps, however, are predators. While adults may occasionally feed on nectar or pollen, they feed insects, flies and even caterpillars to their young. Their bodies are sleeker and more streamlined for hunting.”

* Both bees and wasps inject their venom with a stinger attached to their bodies. Wasps and most bees can pump the venom into the skin, remove the stinger and then fly away. But the honeybee’s stinger is barbed and does not come out of its victim. Because it was attached to the insect’s digestive system, it will eventually die.

For more information about bees, including contact details for bee-keepers, and wasps and full details on the pest control service operated by the council, visit eastdevon.gov.uk/pests or call 01395 516551.

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