London (change)
20 messages
29/09/2012 at 18:58

Myself and my adjacent plotholder have a problem with what we think are solitary or burrowing bees.  We had a few this time last year but this year we have thousands.  Although they do not seem aggressive, and we know they are beneficial insects, there are simply too many now to be able to work the plot in full confidence.  Whilst we try to garden organically we have now got to the point where it has got out of hand.  Have contacted the local authority allotment officer who says he has never come across it before and has no idea what to do.  Have been referred to pest control but no reply from them as yet.  As we are not 100% sure what type of bee they are we are scared that we are going to be stung or a swarm will form.  Advice will be gratefully received.

29/09/2012 at 19:18

What an interesting problem, has the local authority officer had a look yet?


29/09/2012 at 20:29

Unfortunately not.  The allotment office replied that he'd never come across it before and that he was forwarding my message to the pest control department.  A week on and still no response.  Will chase then up this week.  Would prefer to encourage them to move myself really but so far there has been no help from either the allotment officer or the allotment association rep.  It would appear that we are going to have to crack this ourselves, hence the reason for this plea for help.

29/09/2012 at 20:58

These are likely to be solitary mining bees, who although they sometimes nest in colonies, do not 'swarm together' although males may congregate together in a sort of mating display. They are not aggressive and are very unlikely to sting humans.  

I wonder if the soil on your allotments is quite dry?  This has been such a wet season that the bees may not have had many choices of nest site.

If I were you I'd seek advice from

Good luck 

30/09/2012 at 08:00

Try contacting your local Beekeepers Association, I'm sure they would help

30/09/2012 at 13:23

I'm wondering (like Dove) if perhaps there's a dry covered area that they've saught out for a home, perhaps something like a covered compost heap that hasn't been moved in a while?

I'd take the advice above and start contacting local wildlife groups as I'm sure they'd be interested and quick to help you out, rather than waiting for pest control.

30/09/2012 at 19:58

Thanks for your suggestions.  I hadn't thought of the Avon Wildlife Group.  I understand beekeepers aren't interested in solitary bees.  Our two plots aren't dry at all, in fact they have been pretty much a quagmire all summer and we've barely been able to work them.  We have pretty good soil but underneath is a lot of Bath stone and some clay.  You can clearly see hundreds of tiny holes some of which have mounds of soil around them.  I did try some digging early this morning but once the bees started to emerge and I was encroaching on their area they started buzzing around more intensely so I stopped.

30/09/2012 at 20:21

hi bathbun we also have an allotment alongside a beehive ,i realise you need to solve whats happening at yours it sounds weired,at first when we bagan to garden we were plagued by biteing horseflies and they really did hurt and the bites lasted sometimes over a week,however we were given Avon Skin so soft as this is what the marines use abroad for stinging insects and such and it works really well i also noticed the bees didnt come near us although they were not a problem anyway,you might want to try it and i know it sounds funny but almost everybody on our allotments use it in summer and swear by it,so it might not solve the problem of getting rid of them but at least you might be able to work untill its all sorted and its not expensive, good luck


30/09/2012 at 20:28

I'll have a look out for that and give it a try.  We have tried bonfires to see if that would discourage them and although it does for a while we clearly can't keep fires going for long.  A few I could live with, but this many is out of hand.  I guess we didn't have a very hard winter last year and perhaps more survived the winter than usual. I think if we don't try to address it this year then they will continue to spread across the plots.  I suppose I should feel honoured that they deem the plot suitable for their home but I don't at the moment.

01/10/2012 at 16:40

hi,yes i dont know why bee keepers cant try to help or give you someone who can,i,ll try to get hold of the keeper of the bees near us and have a chat is there any chance you could find what type they actualy are,what area are you in, good luck with the Avon skin so soft  it might sound a little unusual but if the soldiers use it and it woks for us it might be worth while keeping it in mind for all the other stingers next summer

Good luck Alan4711 

01/10/2012 at 20:21

Just a thought - maybe the Bumblebee Conservation Trust  can help.

General enquiries:


01/10/2012 at 22:28

thats a cracking idea go 4 it bathbun


02/10/2012 at 16:36

4711  We think it is a solitary burrowing bee, a fellow plotholder thinks a mining carder bee, but I have been unable to find a definitive website to be sure.  If you are able to ask and perhaps help we would be so grateful.

Thanks for all your posts too and suggestions, it is most appreciated.

02/10/2012 at 16:37

Oh forgot to say we are in Bath

02/10/2012 at 18:23

All creatures have a mind of their own.They explore,find sites and settle.They also have their defence mechanism. As always defence can be breached. If you see anything unusual on your plot never turn a blind eye. Some years ago I saw a wasp enter a tiny hole in a cloch frame I immediatly block the hole.We on the allotment saw an increasing number of wasps.I search the for the entry where they enter in the ground and block it.If you say the bees are burowing why not try this method.It might work for you.  Good luck John from London






02/10/2012 at 21:14

I'd like to be able to do that, but given the number of holes it would take a month of Sundays to do.

22/12/2012 at 08:49

To the person peddling Avon at every available chance in every available forum, I would like to point out that Avon make no such claims that this product should be used as insect repellant. It contains citronella, an ingredient found in several hundred insect repellant products. Insect bites should be treated peoperly and with care. Not with flippant claims.

22/12/2012 at 10:31
discodave wrote (see)

To the person peddling Avon at every available chance in every available forum, I would like to point out that Avon make no such claims that this product should be used as insect repellant. It contains citronella, an ingredient found in several hundred insect repellant products. Insect bites should be treated peoperly and with care. Not with flippant claims.

Mmm-that sounds a bit rude to me -and not exactly in the Christmas spirit?

Not really peddling Avon are they-or making flippant claims-just saying what works for them?

As with all advice you take it or leave it

Happy Christmas

22/12/2012 at 10:40

@ Discodave - Think you'll find the Avon I referred to was the local Wildlife Group in the area known as Avon (because of the river).  Honestly, think you'd better read a thread abit more carefully before getting that high horse out 

Peas and goodwill to all 

22/12/2012 at 14:28

we have already got a couple of Oh so soft (Avon calling stuff) for next year, this year it was brilliant against huge man eating  horse flies who really did bite big time and plagued all of us  ,until we found  this cream stuff, all our allotmenteers are very happy with its results and like one or two people said the marines abroad are also happy with it works for all of us i personally recommend it

Alan merry Christmas  all

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