HELP! There is a large cluster of honeybees hanging from a limb (or
fence/car/house) in one of my trees. They were definitely not there yesterday. What should I do?
Quick Answer- call me (405) 826-0393 or a beekeeper, describe the situation, send pictures if possible and keep an eye on them before they leave. Examine your property for signs of a colony.
That most likely is a swarm. A swarm is nature’s way of propagating the species. The old queen of a (most likely nearby) hive and about half the honey bees have left and scouts are currently searching for a new home as she literally hangs out waiting their return. As soon as a scout comes back with a favorable report the entire cluster will fly off. This could be a couple hours to a few days later from when the swarm first settled on your property.
I recommend calling a beekeeper as soon as you notice them, do a quick search for “honey bee swarm removal” and find a list or find a name and start calling. You may have to call a few different people before you find someone available to come right away. Often beekeepers know other keepers that are in the area so make sure you ask for recommendations if the first person you call cannot help you. The vast majority of beekeepers will come gather an easily accessible swarm for free. Please keep an eye on the swarm if possible and communicate with the bee keeper who is coming to get them. Sometimes a swarm will leave before the keeper gets there and they will have wasted their time coming out. I recommend asking the beekeeper to take a look around your house and yard while he is out to make sure the swarm didn’t originate from inside.
Generally, honeybees are at their most docile stage when they are swarming. With just a minimum of distance you are safe, but you should not let children throw rocks or sticks at it and maybe keep pets away and definitely don’t reach for your can of raid (that’s illegal).
HELP! I have honeybees in the wall of my house. I just watched the swarm move in. What can I do now?
First DO NOT DELAY. If you can guarantee the bees have never been there before AND it has been less than 3 days it might be possible to force an abscond with minimal damage to the structure. Numerous studies have been done to determine what makes a swarm choose a particular location, but we are not sure why they chose your house. The height, size and availability of the cavity, also plays a part in why those bees chose that location. What originally attracted the scout bees, apart from the before mentioned, we are not sure. We do know what attracts them the second time- the smell of the comb and propolis inside the cavity. Here is a great video on a forced abscond from a tree.
HELP!! I have a two story house. The first floor is brick and the second floor is wood. Honeybees have been
going in and out of the space between them for a while now. Are the bees in my wall and what do I need to do to get rid of them?
This is very common for honeybees to choose this type of location. The bees may not be in your wall, but rather they might be in the ceiling of the first floor. Here is an example of one in the wall, honey bees removed and new boards installed.
The correct way to remove the bees would be to remove some weather boards, or whatever type of material there is above the brick line to expose the nest. The complete nest, will have to come out! Sometimes this is easier done through the ceiling of the first floor or the floor of the second if they are too deep to reach from the outside. A thermal camera is an invaluable tool to use here to determine how far into the structure they reach. Once the complete nest is removed, the cavity must be deodorized and returned to pre-bee condition. Next, the weather boards will have to be put back and that section of the house must be bee-proofed to prevent the return of any other
honeybees. This picture here is an example from start to finish of a colony in between the floors.
Trap-out? Honeybees have been going in and out of a hole in my house, roof, wall, shed, tree etc. I was told that all I need to do is get a beekeeper to put a queen in a new beehive, place it next to the existing hole with a screen funnel over it and all of the bees will come out and go into the new hive I think it was called a trap-out. Is this true?
This is a common idea you will find when searching the internet. There are a lot of variables in this question, books could be written to flesh out all the details. In the end you still have to deal with all of the nasty bee stuff left in the wall? There can be 50 pounds of honey and wax in the cavity still and small hive beetles will infest and turn it into 50 pounds of rotting honey. Sometimes just the fact that there are no more bees monitoring the comb means the honey starts dripping from the comb and down your walls causing thousands of dollars more damage than if you would have elected for a cutout by a professional in the first place (as in this story).
I HAVE BEES! What are my chances that a beekeeper will come
and take the bees, in exchange the beekeeper can keep the honey?
How much should I charge a beekeeper to come get these bees, since they will get the honey from them?
SLIM TO NONE! Very rarely will you find someone to invest in the equipment required, pay for insurance, learn the best practices, and do a good job and not expect some return on their investment. Beekeepers are not going to pay you to come work for a few hours to MAYBE get bees that MIGHT survive and MIGHT make excess honey the next year. BUT DO NOT IGNORE THE PROBLEM, I suggest you start saving up and get multiple quotes from honey bee removal professionals and be sure to ask them to work with you on payment options.
Prevention Options? I see honey bees around my house frequently but they aren’t living inside, I was told that if I seal up all of the holes and cracks in my house that they wouldn’t be able to get in to build a hive. Is this a viable option?
YES! If you are seal all entry points to the internal structural cavities
of your house, you can prevent them from entering. BUT all it takes is about a ¼” hole or crack and if they like the cavity they might move in, and as answered above once they are in it is hard to keep them from coming back. BUT on the other hand, if you try to seal up an existing hive, the bees will chew to get out and chew to get back in and sometimes they find their way into the structure instead of out.
Insulation? The walls of my house are filled with fiberglass, cellulose, spray foam, and/or batting insulation. Can bees still build in them?
Yes, bees can remove the insulation in the walls BUT usually the original cavity didn’t have any to begin with, remember bees like an enclosed space that’s open inside to build in. Once they fill up that cavity though they might move into an area with insulation and they cut it up to a fine dust and take it outside.
HIDDEN DANGERS? I have bees in the wall of my house for several years now. There is an electrical outlet in the same location. Can bees chew the electrical wire?
Yes they could, I have never seen them do it though. Recently I performed a cutout from a garage and they were using the external electrical outlet to enter the wall. I saw absolutely nothing wrong with any of the wiring. BUT it does complicate removals if there are electrical lines that might be cut or damaged.
Check out our Wildlife Control website if you have questions about other animals!