The Website of the Isle of Wight Beekeeepers Association
Bees on comb surrounding queen bee Swarm of honey bees on branch Honey bee on flower

Not Honey Bees

Bumblebees are often confused with honey bees, but they are larger, rounder and furrier that the honey bee. They have a variety of coloured stripes on their bodies. They live in small colonies in places such as an old bird box, in a compost heap, or under a shed floor. They are noisier and tend to fly much earlier in the morning and later in the evening than other bees. They are now endangered and two UK species are already extinct. Try to leave them alone if possible, they rarely sting. They are valuable pollinators. Beekeepers do not usually collect bumblebees.

There are several types of solitary bee. They are smaller than the honey bee, some have a reddy/brown bottom, others are almost black. They fly in and out of holes in masonry, rockeries, grassy banks. They live alone and are harmless. Try to leave them alone. Beekeepers do not collect solitary bees.

Wasps are very smooth with yellow and black stripes. They congregate round sweet things like cake and jam, apples and plum trees. They have a high pitched whine and live in nests that look like layers of thin paper, underground, in trees and in sheds. They have a vicious sting, and unlike honey bees do not die once they have used their sting. Beekeepers do not collect wasps.

Hornets are big and wasp-like with a loud buzz. They are black and brown with a hint of orange, and a curved tail. They live in dark corners and in trees. Beekeepers do not collect hornets.