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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthormitchino
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2020
    I have a studio building which I regularly rent out for film shoots etc. Today I have a crew in building a set for a shoot and hundreds of bees have suddenly appeared and are swarming, not en masse but in several different parts of the building, exploring under eaves, between bricks etc.

    I think they might be masonry bees but I'm not sure. I don't know if they were already in the building and have been disturbed, or whether they are on their way somewhere.

    I've seen loads of wasps nests in the building before but never bees.

    Anyone got any useful advice? Will they move on if left alone? The client is worried they will ruin the shoot on Tuesday.
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2020 edited
    I would call a local bee-keeper and ask them to have a look. You should be able to find one that will collect a swarm, if that's what it is.

    Note that they are mason bees, which make use of masonry (i.e. mud etc) in building their nests. But they don't swarm, they're solitary bees, so it's more likely to be honey bees if it is a swarm.

    edit: I don't suppose the bees might already have made their home in the building and been disturbed by the recent activity?
    • CommentAuthormitchino
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2020
    They might have been disturbed but I had a shoot two weeks ago and there was no sign then.

    I've attached a pic of one I trapped - looks like a honey bee I think.
    • CommentAuthormitchino
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2020
    Just spoke to a local beekeeper who said he would find it difficult to tell the difference between a honey bee and a mason bee. Says leave them alone.
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2020 edited
    Posted By: mitchinoSays leave them alone.

    That doesn't sound very practical or helpful if they're inside your building. Smoking them out may work.
    • CommentAuthormitchino
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2020
    a better pic of one
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2020
    That definitely looks like a honeybee to me, but I'm a random ignoramus on the Intertubes!

    AIUI, either there's a nest already there that has been disturbed or they are a new swarm looking for a home. Either way, I'd be looking to move them on to somewhere more suitable. Smoke or a more helpful local expert.
    • CommentAuthortychwarel
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2020
    I am a beekeeper and that certainly looks more like a honey bee than a masonry.
    Swarming season is early May to mid July so its highly unlikely to be a new swarm. which leads to the conclusion they have been in the building for at least a month. They will have built a significantly sized comb in some void or other and are exploring. Probably best to watch the outside of the building on a bright sunny day to see where the primary exit is. This will give you an idea of the location of the comb in the building. what you do then depends on how intrusive they are.
    • CommentAuthormitchino
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2020
    They have now either settled back in or moved on, but dozens have just given up and died and are lying all over the place. When I was watching them earlier, they seemed to be interested in trying several entry points, I can't say I noticed a primary entry or exit point. Will see if they appear tomorrow.
    • CommentAuthorCharli
    • CommentTimeAug 10th 2020
    As a beekeeper- I'd agree with honeybee!

    Its rather late to be swarming, July swarms don't tend to do very well so there's not really any chance for an August one. Usually a swarm gathers together- with various scout bees going off, but you don't usually get hundreds all looking in the same place. Swarms themselves are fairly noisy (for bees!). If its quiet can you hear the swarm?

    The way to move an active swarm off is smoke! Once they've taken up residence they are must harder to dislodge.
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2020 edited
    Smoke them away? Really? AIUI smoke just calms bees , makes them relatively inactive.

    People used to pour creosote around - it would kill bees on cotact, drive the rest away. But now 'creosote' is not the same - the highly toxic original banned except for controlled industrial use like telegraph poles (don't touch a new one that's still dark brown and stinky, and don't burn an old pole) - current 'creosote' is something else but is still given the same smell. So doesn't do the bee job any more, just makes the premises smell for ages.
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