Bee Identification Chart

Questions to help you know what you see…

Bumble Bees

  • Are they round and very hairy with a yellow/white or orange band on its tail/bottom?
  • Are they like stripy footballs?
  • Do they make a very loud buzzing sound?
  • Are they living in an old bird box, a compost heap, under the decking, a hole in the ground?

ACTION: Leave them alone if possible. Bumblebees are an important pollinator and rarely sting. Bumblebees are under threat of extinction. For more information contact the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust.


  • Is it bright yellow with black stripes? Very smooth mainly yellow with black stripes?
  • Is it in the roof of your house? Are they coming from a round nest in a tree?
  • Is there a nest in the shed? Do they have a high pitched buzz?
  • Are they interested in sweet sugary foods?

ACTION: These are Wasps contact your LOCAL Authority.


  • Are they very big with a loud buzz?
  • Are they black and brown with a hint of orange?
  • Living in the roof or shed?
  • Do they have a very big curved tail?

ACTION: These are Hornets contact your LOCAL Authority.


  • Does it have golden brown or dark brown bands? Are they slightly furry?
  • Are they formed in a clump hanging from a tree, gate post, chimney?
  • Are there thousands of them swirling around in the air?
  • Are they the same size as a house fly?
ACTION: These are Honeybees. You can try posting your request for assistance from a local beekeeper on the dedicated swarm collection Facebook page. Alternatively, you can call our Swarm Coordinator on 07875067025. NOTE that this number is only operational between no more than the hours of 08.30 to 19.00. Please remember that in summer we get a lot of calls, and it may take some time to get through. The swarm coordinator and all the collectors are volunteers, many of whom work and it may not be possible to respond to swarms immediately.