Bees? hovering in the air in my garden

Discussion in 'Homes and gardens' started by TreeTiger, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. TreeTiger

    TreeTiger Frequent Poster

    In the lovely weather of late I've made several attempts to eat outside, but keep finding what I assume are bees (they're brownish, not striped like honey bees, but a similar size) hovering around me making a buzzing sound.

    They hang there, looking at me, rubbing their legs together and it really creeps me out. I'm nervous of wasps - had a bad reaction to a sting, was told next one could be worse :eek: - and wonder if these guys are anything I should worry about.

    Can't find any advice in the Bees/wasps key post, wondering if anyone has advice, or even are they experiencing the same thing - or is it just me these fellas are after?!
  2. ClubMan

    ClubMan Frequent Poster

    If they are brown or dark orange/brown and black then they must be honey bees and certainly not wasps which are black and yellow. I noticed a few hovering too recently and not doing the usual visiting flower to flower which struck me as a bit odd. They will not bother you if you don't bother them and even if you do then they will probably just disappear. Wasps are a different matter and can be very annoying but usually only if you have food around that attracts them. But live and let live?
  3. sherib

    sherib Frequent Poster

    I've seen a few Bees in the last week or so - from Google it looks as if they are Bumble Bees and won't do us any harm. The odd one has got into my kitchen via an open door and I've just opened a window to let them out.

    A bumble bees biggest enemy by far is a man armed with a pesticide spray. Like every other form of wildlife they are under serious threat from the chemicals we pour on the land.

    Bumble bees are much less aggressive than honey bees. Generally they will not attack a human at all, unless their life is under threat. Don't wave your arms wildly in their presence, stand quietly and once they smell you are not a flower with pollen they will move gently away.

    Encourage the bumble bee in your garden or farm and she will repay your kindness by pollinating your flowers, fruit and vegetables and giving you an excellent set on your blossom.

    In the first warm days of Spring you may see the large queens flying busily about the early bulbs and flowers. These large slow bees are searching for nectar and pollen to turn into honey and food for their newly hatching brood.

    Have a read of this: http://
  4. someanne

    someanne Registered User

    oh, they sound like hover flies, we have plenty of them, hairy little buggers with markings similar to wasps and bees

    they're harmless and they eat aphids and stare at you

    S. :D
  5. ClubMan

    ClubMan Frequent Poster

    Don't forget that bees are protected species although I'm not sure that the laws are enforced at the individual bee level. :D
  6. extopia

    extopia Frequent Poster


    Perhaps industrial action is in order?
  7. IsleOfMan

    IsleOfMan Frequent Poster

    Lots of them in the garden this year, more than previous years. I think they hover waiting for a mate or a fight or maybe both. When two of them get entangled they get a bit carried away. These guys sure can move.
  8. TreeTiger

    TreeTiger Frequent Poster

    Thanks for the help, glad they seem to be nothing to worry about. I must try to get some pics - there are loads of them about!

    And Clubman, if they were wasps I'd have someone out straight away to take care of them (no live and let live there ;) ) - bees I'm happy to encourage!
  9. paddyp

    paddyp Frequent Poster

    Definitely hover flies.

    It's no coincidence that you think they are bees. They are called 'mimics' because they have evolved to look similar to bees or wasps this is to deter potential predators. They move quite differently to bees hovering then moving suddenly forward or sideways.
  10. ncs

    ncs Registered User

    Similar observation with bees this year in our back garden (D15) - I think these are proper bees rather than hoverflies though. Loads of them working in relay to fly over fences then take up a brief hovering position at more or less the same place (not zig-zagging, just stationary) until replaced by another. Bumblebees would be frequent visitors in previous years but I've never seen so many ordinary bees. Then again I wouldn't normally be sitting out in the garden in April so maybe it's a seasonal thing.
  11. Superman

    Superman Frequent Poster

    Bees don't hang about the place and hover - they've better things to be doing. Honestly, they ARE hover flies.
  12. pernickety

    pernickety Frequent Poster

    I believe they're looking for what used to be green fields and wondering where all the houses came from?
  13. ClubMan

    ClubMan Frequent Poster

    That's interesting. I could have sworn that these were bees that I saw hovering but I didn't/couldn't check them out to verify (e.g. if I moved to examine them then they'd zip away). I never knew about hover flies before. Must keep an eye out for them again.
  14. efm

    efm Frequent Poster

    These guys (or is it girls?) is what we have been bumping into in our garden for the last two weeks - assumed they were wasps but now I know!
  15. liteweight

    liteweight Frequent Poster


    It's the 'zip away' that's characteristic of hover flies. I love them in the garden as, not only do they keep away the aphids, but I find them fascinating to watch.

    Ncs I'm not so sure that yours are hover flies. Have you checked for a hive near the fence? A couple of years ago I noticed wasps behaving in this fashion in my porch. Turned out it was the entrance to the hive (nest for wasps?) which they had built under the hall floorboards. Their entrance was through a vent under the hall door!:eek:
  16. paulfree

    paulfree Guest

    buy a flat with no garden,u could see life through double glazing,nice and safe.
  17. june

    june Frequent Poster

    I never knew they were hover flies either. I did notice them especially around our tree which attracts a lot of midges so that's obviously what they are after. On another note Why are wasps attracted to the plastic slide and paddling pool though in the summer? Children are afraid to use it. can I discourage them from landing on the slide at all....
  18. ncs

    ncs Registered User

    I've seen one variety of hoverfly in the garden alright and they look wasplike but rather smaller. These bees/hoverflies are at least as big as wasps if not bigger though. They seem to be coming from somewhere close but are definitely 'over the fence'.

    And it's interesting to note: we just got a plastic slide last week and I agree, there's something either about the bright colour, texture or smell of the surface because whilst they don't seem to land on it, they do give it serious consideration. Perhaps for the wee ones back at the hive.
  19. harbo

    harbo Guest

    I have had a similar experience to ncs. Myself and my wife have noticed the hovering bees in our back garden, also in D15. I have been observing them for over a week now. They were hovering around the one place in the back garden and would chase off or attack any other flying insects only to return to the same location.
    Their back legs seem to hang lower than ordinary bees and they are slightly bigger. Finally today I was tidying up the garden so my two children could play in their sandpit and managed to down one with a plastic spade as it was bothering my daughter. As I was cutting the lawn I noticed ordinary looking bees landing on the garden path and crawling between the path and the lawn i.e. going under the path, a hive or the beginning of one I figure. I trapped one in a specimen jar and compared it with hovering one I downed. They look the same except for the hovering bee is larger, has longer rear legs and did not carry any pollen!

    I think the hovering bees are guard bees see here
  20. z109

    z109 Guest

    Pretty sure from your description that they are European drone flies (a bee mimic). I have them fighting over the deck and the father-in-law is a bee keeper and says they are not bees. They are a complete pest, and they move too quickly for flyspray or the dog!

    You would only see bees hover when over water for drinking, or as guard bees around a hive. A honeybee hive is quite obvious as there would be 20-50,000 bees in it! Guard bees are the same as ordinary worker bees - just at a later stage of life (after they've been worn out collecting nectar/pollen).