PEST control officers at South Somerset District Council have been busy this summer dealing with a 23 per cent increase in calls for help and advice with bumble bees.

The team believe the increase is probably due to higher numbers of the Tree Bumble Bee, originally from mainland Europe but now found in most of England and Wales.

The Tree Bumble Bees are a bit more active and nests are probably more obvious than those of other bumble bees, which is why the team is getting more calls. The bees will often set up home in empty bird boxes.

The council’s principal environmental protection officer, Vicki Dawson, said: “The bees are not aggressive and are vital for helping pollinate our garden plants, so our advice would generally be to leave them alone and let them do their work.

“However, we recognise that some people are allergic to stings, or that in some cases the bees have nested a bit too close for comfort. In these situations our officers have tried hard to re-home the bees, mostly with great success, as we do not want to see any bees destroyed.”