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Bees are helpful yet intimidating insects. A large beehive is rarely a great danger to many people. Sometimes bees must be removed to protect allergic or easily frightened people.
Try to get a look at the bees. If they are a brownish orange color and have fuzzy bodies, they are honeybees.
If there is an open-air cluster of honeybees, more or less football size, it is a SWARM. They may eventually move away (in a few hours or a few days). Instead of trying to destroy them, call your local beekeeping association. They will be happy to pick up the valuable bees and take them away.
If the honeybees are coming and going from a cavity in a tree or building, it is a BEEHIVE. This can only be safely removed by a professional exterminator or beekeeper.
If in a building's wall, the beehive must be exposed by removing paneling and then the honeycombs and broodcombs cut out; all the live bees and combs are then taken away.
If the beehive is in a tree, the tree must usually be cut down and then the trunk or limb split open to remove the combs and bees.
It may be easier and safer to leave the beehive alone
When a bee stings, it dies moments later,except for the queen bee, but there is only one, so a bee will only sting if it's the last thing it can do.
Bees sting for two reasons only, 1) to protect their home 2) when personally threatened, like when swatted or when trapped in clothing or hair.
When a bee stings, it leaves a detectable scent marker that attracts more bees to sting. Once bees start stinging, they can become aggressive and the attack could quickly escalate.
If attacked, run! Getting into a building or car and closing the door is the best defense. If bees follow you into a car, they will immediately lose their desire to attack and will try to find a way out. Crack a window on the sunny side and they will walk up it and fly out.
Removal of bees as a non-professional is almost always a bad idea. If not done properly, the scent of the honeycomb will linger, attracting more bees and creating a recurring problem. This attempt to save a buck may end up costing you more in the long run.
If you are in an area of the United States in which Africanized bees have not migrated (middle and northern areas), you will more than likely bee able to find a beekeeper who would be willing to remove the bees for free, as long as their are in a somewhat convenient spot. This is preferable to simply exterminating the bees, especially since we are in the midst of a bee shortage crisis (Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD). As of 2008, expert have yet to come to a consensus regarding exactly what is causing the colonies to collapse.
Often bees will take over hummingbird feeders during dry times of the year. If this happens, simply remove the feeder for about a week. This will break up the bee's flight pattern and cause them to look elsewhere for water.
Many people have witnessed bees gathering on a tree branch in a swarm about the size of a football. This is due to their original beehive becoming unsuitable for the number of bees. About half the swarm (many thousands of bees) will break off looking to start a new home. They will often rest on a tree. As long as their is no white honeycomb, these bees will NOT be aggressive (even if they are Africanized, since there is currently no home to protect) and should be left alone unless they are causing a threat. Bothering the bees in this stage could cause bigger problems; they will probably move along within a few days.
Make sure you shop around for a good price. Many pest control companies will take advantage of your fear and charge you exorbitant prices. MAJOR companies are taking advantage of people in this way every day. Read reviews and get multiple quotes.
Hives in walls or roofs often create the biggest problems. These beehives will typically contain anywhere from 20 to 80 pounds of honeycomb. Call a professional if you know there have been bees in your wall or roof for some time, or if you are completely unaware of how long they have been there.
If there are a myriad of bees covering almost an entire tree with a loud buzzing, you should not mess with them. They are not aggressive in this state and are simply gathering food. When the pollen is used up, they will move on. The solution here is prevention; keep the tree trimmed so there are less blossoms to attract bees next time.
The cost of buying the necessary equipment and the time it takes to learn how to do bee removal properly are prohibitive, not to mention the lessons learned along the way (i.e. stings). At best they are painful, at worst deadly. It really isn't worth the risk. Call a professional.
Never attempt to approach bees if you are allergic to their stings, just call an exterminator.
Spraying a swarm with chemicals, can cause the bees to attack!
Spraying a swarm with water, will cause the bees to disperse and then reform in the same location afterwards.
Sealing a Beehive in a Building wall, may force the bees to locate an exit on the inside of the building.
Exterminating a beehive in a building will leave dead bees and honey inside that will attract rodents and other vermin.
Some beekeepers won't take bees anymore for fear of diseases (for example, Southeast Texas).
If the nest is very large or hard to reach, don't risk your safety. Call an exterminator.
It can be EXTREMELY dangerous to attempt to remove bees yourself if you are not a professional, especially since the spread of the Africanized variety. If you are in an area to which African "Killer" Bees have migrated, do NOT attempt to remove a hive (Florida, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California). Even entering the vicinity of their hive may set off a defensive reaction. Being as close as 100 feet to a killer beehive can spark such a reaction!
If you are allergic to bees, or there is anyone in the vicinity who is, there is absolutely NO good reason to attempt a bee removal by yourself. Call a professional; it's not worth the risk.
Bees in a birdhouse can be dangerous if they are Africanized "Killer" bees. You should call a bee removal specialist in this situation.
If you have a beehive in your chimney, you will NOT want to start a fire in an attempt to get rid of them. If the hive has been established for any length of time, there will be honeycomb in the chimney. Starting a fire will cause the honey to melt, creating far more of a mess than you will be able to handle. This may attract more bees in the chimney, or even other animals! Furthermore, lighting a fire will generally not deter the bees enough to leave the nest permanently.
Leaving a beehive in a wall after removal is one of the biggest mistakes that people make. Many pest control companies will not do the removal, and worse, will often not tell you that the beehive should be removed. Bee removal without beehive removal is like changing your oil without putting the oil filter back in; you are inevitably going to have problems of a more serious nature than the original problem. Bees keep the hive cool by circulating air with their wings. Without this primitive cooling method, the honey will inevitably melt and create a permanently lingering smell that will attract bees time and time again (not to mention other pests). Extermination alone simply will not solve the problem.
Things You'll Need
an Epipen or other injectble epinephrine if allergic and stung
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