Many of the calls received by the pest control service between late April and mid June for bee/wasp problems turn out to be for a type of bee known as a Masonry Bee. These bees are beneficial insects and non aggressive. Inverclyde Council does not therefore offer any treatment service.
Masonry Bees are generally smaller than the honey bee but similar in appearance. They are also similar in shape to, and frequently confused with, wasps. Like all bees they are important pollinators of plants but unlike honey bees and bumble bees they have no workers and no collective nest, they are known as solitary bees. If bees are reported active over a wide area, or tend to move with the sun, and are only seen on sunny days over a period of time, then they are probably solitary bees and not honey bees.
They are often seen on sunny days and active on sun facing elevations of buildings. At this time they are busy excavating egg laying chambers in soft mortar joints in brick walls. However there is no damage caused by these bees to good mortar. Slight damage may be caused to old and poorly maintained mortar. Although they are a solitary bee they do excavate their chambers close together and thus give the impression of being a colony and occupying the same habitat.
The Masonry Bee will generally pay no attention to people and they are very unlikely to sting.
Masonry Bee activity can be discouraged by re-pointing areas of damaged mortar on walls and chimneys.
Page last updated: 19 June 2017