Bees aren't dying out.. our gardens are a hive of activity now

IT IS an endangered insect, having already lost two of its species in the last 70 years.

Yet if gardens in the north of the Capital are anything to go by, the humble bumblebee seems to be thriving.

Phil Menzies, the owner of a Dalkeith-based pest control company, has been swamped with beehive call-outs in recent weeks.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 34-year-old has received as many as 50 calls about bumblebees from residents in the city over the last three weeks, which is more than double the number of bee inquiries that he would usually receive in an average year.

Mr Menzies, operations manager of Menco Environmental Services, said: "We have been getting calls about bumblebee nests in people's gardens, under decking, or close to air vents and doors. Last Saturday we had about seven calls just in the morning.

"This is probably the busiest year we have had for calls and I don't know why that is. It could be that bees are finding areas closer to properties, perhaps because of decking in gardens which is giving them good cover. We have had calls in previous years but certainly not as many as this year.

"Our advice to occupiers is to let these valuable insects get on with it."

Mr Menzies also pointed to the recent warm weather as another possible reason for the increase in the number of beehives reported across the city, with people spending extra time in their gardens and becoming more aware of the nests.

Most of the calls received were from the north of the city, including Davidson's Mains, Granton and Cramond.

Residents contacted the company to ask for help to get rid of the nest, either by use of insecticide or by physically removing it – both of which Mr Menzies declined.

He said: "I would suggest that they leave the insecticide on the shelf.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I would suspect that one or two pest companies will probably do the job just to get money and ignore the conservation side of it, but conservation is very important.

"I would urge anybody that has bees in their garden to spend a bit of time watching them – switch the TV off and get the kids outside for half an hour.

"They don't cause any problems at all, they are definitely not pests, and we are running short of bumblebees in the UK.

"Bumblebees are just so vital to our own eco-system and without them there would be trouble. Their job is to pollinate so the bee's contribution to the agricultural industry is probably worth billions of pounds."

Meanwhile, Ben Darvill, director of the Stirling-based Bumblebee Conservation Trust, also urged residents in the city not to move or destroy the hives.

"You are no more likely to be attacked by a bee than you are a swarm of angry blue tits," he said. "Just enjoy the bees and let them be."

Mr Darvill added: "If Mr Menzies has had 50 calls in the last month or so, I'd say we get more than that. On Sundays alone we get around ten calls."

Related topics: