Beehive under my neighbours stairs - how to get rid of?

We have recently discovered the most humongous bees nesting under my neighbour's stairs. They enter through cracks in the stairs and I suspect have built a hive underneath my neighbour's house which we cannot get to�..My neighbour Jim is 85, I wouldn't want anyone to be stung by these bees - What can we do?

13:43 Mon 11th Jul 2005
 
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Personally, I'd leave well alone unless they are constantly getting into the house itself.  Bees are a lot less likely to sting than wasps are and are not attracted to humans or their food.  Bees are highly important as pollinators and without them, the majority of plants will not set fruit or produce seeds.

Last year, my son and daughter-in-law had exactly the same thing where bees nested under (within) the steps to their back door.  The only danger was to their dog which insisted upon sitting beside the steps and snapping at the bees as they came and went.  It continued with this behaviour even after getting stung.  None of the family, children or their friends were bothered by the bees.

because of Jim's age, I would think that the local Council would come and remove it free of charge
Looking back at your post again I suspect that your use of the word humongous refers to the bees rather than their nest?  The ones at my son's house were honeybees.  If your bees are indeed very large, then they will be some type of bumble bee and this is good news in two respects.  Firstly they are a lot less likely to sting than honeybees.  Secondly they do not produce anywhere near as large a colony so they will be less nuisance.  "Live and let live" I say.
Having kept bees for a number of years, I would advise that you call an area apiarist.  I've located the association for British beekeepers, here: http://www.bbka.org.uk/ .  They should be able to help you and would most likely remove them at no charge in exchange for the hive.  Actually, the bees have value and they now belong to you.  The lack of access may be a problem, but that can be overcome by removing one or two treads on the stairs.  Problem is, once they have established their hive and the queen is busy laying eggs the hive will probably only continue to grow.  I'm hoping England doesn't have the problem with Africanized bees that the US is experiencing.  These can be very aggressive and difficult to deal with.  At any rate, best of luck...
I too was going to suggest a bee-keeper. When we had occasion to contact one a few years ago we did so through the local police who keep a list of them.
Or environmental health
Question Author
Thanks All!! This is very helpful. My problem with �live and let live� is that this is a communal garden where we would be sat sunbathing and the most enormous bees I have ever seen would come out one followed by another and then another.  They scare my guest (who I admit are scare mongers), not to mention the kids in the area.  Thanks for the website Clanad, I will investigate, failing that I think a job for the council!!!

We have had bumble bees nesting under our house for the last two years.  Never been stung - they don't seem bothered by people at all.  Even when we were gardening around the entrance to their nest, they just flew around us to and from the nest as if we weren't there.  I understand your concerns about the communal garden.  But this seems more of a problem with peoples perceptions rather than any real danger.  Would agree with Gen2.  Try to identify what type of bee you have and if they are bumble bees, try persuading people to watch them and enjoy having them around rather than being scared!

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