At other times it was quite sniffy or grunty, almost hedgehog-like and next guess was a hedgehog nesting under or close to the bush in the thicker undergrowth. I looked, there wasn't.
As time went by the noises became louder, more animated and definitely more confusing, sometimes sounding like a troop of monkeys, and as it became louder it became obvious that it was coming from the attic, right in the corner of the room.
I investigated but couldn't see anything in the attic corner, (certainly no monkeys) though it isn't easy to see as we have deep-piled insulation and a narrow-angled roof.
The noises continued to grow louder, sometimes during the day but mostly through the night. I now feared we had rats up there after finding some info and similar sounds on the internet so decided a more thorough investigation was needed.
Back in the attic I went, with head-strap torch, garden tool for peeling back the insulation and poking around in corners, board to place over struts for kneeling on.
Again nothing, no horrid smells, no sign of any animal habitation or damage, and no noises until I heard a bzzzzzz and looked across to see a large bee crawling along the far wall. Couldn't be just bees could it?
|That's a bee crawling up the wall just right of centre|
It got to a point where I would end up sleeping on the settee rather than be kept awake all night by the ungodly noises as among other things I couldn't stand the thought of having rats scurrying about above my head while I slept.
We already had a nest of Tree Bumblebees in the garage roof and looking at the bees coming and going from under the eaves these were the same. I was up and down the ladders many more times with always the same result, each time poking around a bit more closely, each time finding only bees and nothing else.
|A Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum|
A relative newcomer to our shores, first noted on the south coast in 2001 but rapidly spread northwards
and now present in southern Scotland
True to form the noises have all but abated now, just the muffled 'grunts' now and again of the resident Queen like back in April, and soon she will be away herself.
|Usually the earliest species on the wing, a variable tawny thorax, black abdomen always tipped white.|
Unlike other bunblebees they usually nest very high up, mostly holes in trees in the countryside.
|In urban areas they will take over nest boxes (even evicting birds)|
but typically find their way into houses through holes under eaves and under roof tiles
(don't I know it)
|The workers feed on a variety of plants and are highly active. Nests in roofs are often made directly|
on the back of plasterboard ceilings, making the noise of the 'hive' sound a lot louder
(don't I know it again)
|At first a nest will not be conspicuous, but tell-tale signs|
are yellow pollen splodges around an entrance hole, and dead workers
on the ground outside a nest site. Dead bees are simply
dumped out of the nest hole.
|By the end of May activity around the nest starts to become conspicuous, as clouds of bees start to gather around the entrance to the nest in a behaviour called 'nest-surveillance'.|
|And this is what it's all about, a lucky drone attaches itself to a larger virgin queen.|
|They grapple in mid-air and fall to the ground. It actually looks like they're fighting at first, |
but once attached properly, mating can last for some time . . .
|. . . and not always restricted to a twosome|
|Two males will sometimes clash and fall to the ground entangled. This is|
apparently erroneous mating but this poor bugger was left damaged
and crippled after one such clash.
I got the information from :
It explains fully the behaviour and life-cycle I've witnessed over the last few months and put my mind at ease. The bees may have caused me some sleepless nights but at least I gained some insight and knowledge of another fascinating micro-creature.