Help! I’ve Got Bees!
There are several options for individuals who have found honey bees living in their home, a tree, or business structure: 1) Kill them 2) Co-existence 3) Trap-out 4) Remove and relocate the bees and the hive. Because each has its own Pros and Cons, let’s discuss them separately.
Kill them Do we really need to kill anything else in the world? Honey bees are a vital part of our existence. They pollinate 85% of all vegetation in the world, and 1/3 of our food. Would we starve to death if the honey bees died out? No, but we would lose much of our diversity in food. You like apples? GONE without honey bees. How about watermelon, squash, almonds, most of the berries… you get the picture? By the way, Killing the bees requires serious use of pesticides, that not only kills the bees but will eventually cause gallons of honey to leak into walls and/or ceilings. The honey will eventually ferment there causing other pests to move in, pests like ants, roaches, mice and rats. Unless the dead hive and bees are removed, they will begin to rot and stink. So far, honey bees are not on the endangered species lists, but they are getting serious protective regulations from the EPA, Federal and state governments. For photos of what happens when hives are killed. Please visit our Photo Gallery
Co-existence We, as a society, are becoming more willing to blend cultures and accept others better than we have in our recent past. The United States, as a nation, is still young, a small blip on the timeline of history among some nations who have existed for several thousand years. That being said. We are discussing co-existence with nature, creatures that can harm us. If the honey bee colony is high enough TO NOT BE A THREAT TO PASSERSBY, then co-existence is a real option. Consider a hive inside a tree, whose entrance is 20-30 feet up. This hive would not be considered a threat to passersby. If the hive entrance were 0-10 feet off the ground and beside a sidewalk, the potential threat increases dramatically, and co-existence is not an option.
Trap-outs There are several ways to do a trap-out, but to be done correctly, trap-outs take time, about 9 weeks. Most homeowners and some beekeepers aren’t that patient. So, a quick method (about a week) is performed. A bait hive is mounted near the entrance of the existing hive and a screen cone is put over the entrance of the existing hive entrance. Bees can leave the hive but cannot re-enter when returning with nectar or pollen. After several unsuccessful attempts to get back home, the bees enter the bait hive. The trap-out is left in place and a week later it is removed. The trap-out appears to have been successful. A few weeks later maturing bees from the original hive start going to field and it appears as if a new colony “has moved into the same place where we used to have bees.” In reality, the original colony never left. Only the foraging workforce, about 1/3 of the colony, was removed from the colony, while the queen and house bees remained in the hive. Therefore, we do not advocate trap-outs unless the time is taken to do it right.
Removal/Relocation With removals, we must get to where the bees are located. This requires opening walls, ceilings and/or roofs. This may seem like a traumatic experience for homeowners. It can be, but like surgeons, we strive to be minimally invasive opening only those areas necessary to remove the hive and the associated honey bees. Once removed the bees and their hive are relocated into hive boxes around the Mid-South. They are placed back into our agricultural system, Pollinating our food. For examples of what transpires during removals, check out our Photo Gallery
Why Should We Choose to Remove the Bees?
Although honeybees are wonderful creatures, they sometimes get where they don’t belong – like in our homes! They move into what they see as a Big Hollow Tree and can become a painful annoyance where pets and children play. Honeybees are not messy house guests. They are one of the cleanest creatures in the world, but if the honeybees abscond (forsake the hive) or if they are killed, then the wax combs will melt in the Summer heat and the leaking honey can ferment and mess up walls and ceilings. If enough honey has been stored by the bees, then ceilings will fall in and walls will bow out. This is when it gets really messy, really quickly. Even if no evidence of honey is seen, the smell of it will invite other critters into the home. Roaches and mice will clean up the mess for the homeowner. But who wants roaches and mice in their home?
When and How Should We Do A Trap-Out?
In some situations, such as historical buildings where cutting into walls might destroy history, Trap-outs are an option. When this is necessary, a trap-out screen wire cone will be installed over the entrance of the existing hive and a bait hive will be place near it. The bait hive will remain on location for at least 6 weeks, luring in returning foragers, who cannot enter their original hive. The bait hive becomes their new home. After a minimum of 6 weeks. the trap-out cone is removed, and the now stronger bait hive bees will re-enter their previous home and rob out all the stored honey, bringing it into their new home. This last step will continue for at least 3 weeks.
Removal from Trees
Honey bees’ natural home is in the trees, but when a tree must be trimmed or removed, or the hive entrance poses a threat to people or animals we can remove the honeybees to somewhere less troublesome. Unlike with a home removal, heavy smoke is utilized to drive the honeybees from the tree where they are subsequently captured and moved to a new home.
What About the Queen?
We are very good at what we do. We are very good at finding queens. It is a rare event for us not to find the queen. We will show her to you when we find her. To see some of our removal queens, check out our Photo Gallery.