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Honey Bees: Great for the environment, but a difficult decision when they build in yours.


Bees help pollinate our food crops, they produce honey and even the propolis and wax they produce have beneficial properties. But what do you do when they build a hive in your home?

When building a hive, the honey bees will start producing waxy combs. This is the foundation of their hive and the place where they will raise their young and store food such as pollen and honey. By simply building their hive in your walls they won’t cause much damage, but at this point, the simple addition of moisture may cause problems. Once the hive is built, the number of bees will multiply. As the hive grows so does the number of bees. This increases the chances of the bees getting into your home or being a safety hazard outside of your home. It's usually when the numbers get larger and the hive gets bigger, that homeowners start to notice that there’s a problem.

So what do you do now? If you remove the honey bees without removing their hive (combs and honey), you potentially leave behind the most damaging aspect of a honey bee hive. When the bees are gone and are no longer tending to the hive, the honey may absorb moisture. When the honey absorbs moisture, it may start to ferment and eventually burst the caps that hold the honey in the comb. Once the honey is released it will run down the wall, causing staining and deterioration of the wall material. This honey is also a great food source for carpenter ants, beetles, and other unwanted pests. So now you’re faced with the potential problem of having to do structural repairs due to the damage from the left behind honey, future treatments for those unwanted pests coming to feed on the honey, and possible structural damage from carpenter ants that will also feed on the honey.

What’s the best approach? The best approach is two-fold, save and relocate the bees so they can continue to pollinate and produce honey and to remove the entire hive so you do not run the risk of future damage. Unfortunately, this approach is a lot more involved and potentially costly.

  1. First, you need to determine where the bees are entering the structure and get a general idea of where the hive is being built. Once you have established the general location, you need to calm the bees down a bit (using a “smoker” is a common method). Now you need to gain access to the hive, and this is the difficult part. To gain access you will need to cut, pry, remove, and potentially damage parts of the structure to gain access to the hive.
  2. When you have the hive exposed, you need to work quickly to get the bees, and the comb, into a box for relocation. You can pull out the hive parts, whether cutting or just pulling them off of the structure and place them in your storage container. As you are removing the combs, you can also use a specialized bee vacuum to gently pull the rest of the bees into your box. You’ll want to pay special attention during the removal to try and locate the queen. Without her, your hive may not survive or stay in their new location. If you can find the queen, you’ll want to gently place her in your relocation box so she is not injured during the transfer.
  3. Finally, the entire hive, including all of the bees, are removed from the structure you’ll want to relocate the bees as quickly as possible so they don’t overheat. In their new location, you can place the combs in a hive box in an orderly fashion and allow the bees time to properly fix everything in place and reestablish their home. If you have the queen in the box, the colony should do just fine in their new home.

As to the structure where the hive was removed, you will need to clean out all of the honey, ensuring none is left behind, and then repair the structure. If you were careful during the hive removal process, the repairs should be fairly simple.

This is just a basic overview of the honey bee removal process. Its rarely this straightforward and each situation is different. Anytime you’re dealing with bees, it can be dangerous, and potentially deadly, so its best left to those individuals with experience, i.e. professionals. This process is definitely more in-depth than simply removing the bees, and it may also cause some minor damage to the structure initially, but it is a far better solution than just removing the honey bees. With this process, the honey bees now have a new home where they can continue to pollinate, produce honey and continue to have a positive impact on the environment. You also have the hive and honey removed so you don’t have concerns of future, costlier and potentially more damaging, problems.

Don't want to deal with this alone? Contact the experts at D-Bug Pest Control today!