An active wasp nest will look busy with a constant flow of wasps singularly entering and exiting the nest in the same place (wasps use the same flight path, queuing to enter the nest one after another). Wasps do not form swarms.
You may come across a nest on the ground, in long grass, hedgerows or a compost heap or an aerial nest hanging from a tree branch, the eaves of a building, in a loft space or guttering. The nests can vary in sizes and colour depending on what has been used to build it, but most are typically a grey or beige colour.
Honey bees become active early spring. Their hives are usually located in protected areas, such as the inside of a hollow tree, a wall cavity or chimney. These are the only bees that truly swarm. On very hot days a colony of Honey bees can split in two, with half the colony swarming and relocating to start a new hive.
Bumble bees become active early spring until the end of July. Bumble bees tend to live in small colonies, usually in a nest which they typically make underground, hidden away under sheds, buildings, inside mouse holes and in long mossy grass.
As bees are now in decline we are all encouraged not to treat bee swarms and hives. Bees have an important role to play in our environment as they are partly responsible for pollinating flowers and fruit trees. Without bees, fruit, flowers and vegetables would also go into decline.
A common danger with treating a beehive is that when the nest is empty, other bees may take the honey which has become contaminated with insecticide from the treated nest back to their own hive. This can then kill those bees and lead to contaminated honey in the food process.
Bees are, as a rule, normally non-aggressive and will only sting as a last resort. For further information about bees or if you believe you have a beehive in your home or garden you can contact the National Bee Keeping Association.