There are over 200 species of solitary bee in Britain. Unlike honeybees, bumblebees, and wasps they do not live in colonies, however on occasions large numbers may be seen in flying around one particular area, this is usually due to lack of suitable nest sites. Solitary bees may be seen flying from holes in brickwork or holes in the ground. Solitary bees do not swarm and do not defend their nest sites like social bees and wasps. Solitary bees are capable of stinging but it is very unlikely and normally only if grabbed or squeezed.
Most people will instantly recognise bumblebees as they are among the largest of our native bees and are covered with dense hair. They can often be seen flying from holes in the ground, compost heaps, under sheds and from bird boxes. One particular type of bumble bee which favours bird boxes is (Bombus hypnorum) the Tree bumblebee and here in Kent this summer 2013, we had many call outs for wasps only to find it was tree bumblebees. Bumble bees do not swarm and will only sting if provoked so a nest will not usually cause any problems.
Honey bee swarms will generally be seen in late spring and early summer and can be quite alarming for many people. A swarm of honey bees, may contain many thousands of individual bees and a single queen clustered together and hanging from a tree, bush or building. Honey bees can sting and will do so if disturbed. If left alone there should be no problems. Always seek professional advice concerning their removal and do not attempt to tackle the swarm yourself.
An average hive will produce 50lb of honey a season.