During the beginning of spring to the height of summer, bee swarms are at their largest. When a bee swarm is on or around your property, you may decide to take matters into your own hands to remove them. Unless you are a skilled, beekeeping ninja, or trained in the art of proper bee and hive removal, there are three very important reasons not to try this:
There is a common misconception that one can remove bees by either "smoking them out" or "burning them out". This stems partly from the knowledge that beekeepers use smoke to calm aggravated bees. Doing this at home could cause an uncontrollable fire and completely destroy you're property. "Smoking them out" does not alert bees to flee, it only makes them fill up on honey in case they must abandon the nest in a fire. Any bees that leave, will still return to the hive. Aside from the human induced damage, if your bees are honey bees and have created a hive between the walls of your home, eradicating the bees will leave the honey unattended. This honey will melt and run down the walls and drip through the ceilings of your home requiring a sticky cleanup and a new wall.
2. Additional Infestation Risk
In addition to the damage of abandoned honey on your walls,ceilings,equipment etc., the sweetness will attract new pests. It's important to remember that honey doesn't spoil, so this problem could persist for years. So, having gotten rid of your bees, you now have any combination of rats, roaches, wax moths, or beetles. Additionally, new bees will be attracted to the smell of the abandoned hive. If you manage to get rid of a colony of bees in your home by use of pesticides, you will still need to access the affected area to clean up the dead bees and the beehive, to prevent the sour smell of decomposing bees.
Safety is the most important reason why DIY bee removal is not a good idea. Most honeybees are docile when they do not feel threatened, however, there is a particular strain of honeybee that is a threat to everyone within viewing distance. The Africanized honeybee, more commonly known as the "killer bee" will attack in swarms if it feels threatened and persist until their target is dead. This bee was created accidentally as part of program to help bees survive in tropical climates. This bee has been reported to exist in 11 southern states of the US. Reportedly, the Africanized bee poses no threat as long as you keep your distance but it is best to regard all bees as if they are this aggressive breed.
As another safety precaution, you must determine what kind of bees you have. Yellow jackets, or wasps, look like bees but are more aggressive and will attack if you come anywhere near them.
So, What Can You Do?
Call a specialist. Do not simply call a pest control company with no experience in bee removal. With inexperience, you run the risk of the bees returning, gaining new pests, or having to higher out another company to repair the property. A company specializing in bee removal will know how to treat the are for bee removal and prevention and also repair the damaged area. In the case of honeybees, many local beekeepers are willing to collect the bees free of charge, however, you will still be responsible for any damage.
Wait it out. It is best to call a specialist for honeybees, however, if you have bumble bees or wasps, you are a little more lucky. While honeybees can exist in colonies up to 60,000, bumble bees and wasps typically have relatively small nests of anywhere from 50 to 5000, respectively. If the nest of either of these is in a location that is not readily threatening to you or your family, it may be beneficial to wait them out as they do not live through winter months. During this time, you can remove or close off the entrance to the hive. It is important to do this only once the hive is abandoned. Bees will find another exit/entrance to their hive if the original way becomes blocked.
Prevention. A bee will make a home anywhere there is protection from the elements. This could be an abandoned car, lawn equipment, in the corner of windows, inside chimneys, and in between the walls of your home. Ensure that every hole, approximately 5/16 of an inch or larger is sealed or covered with wire mesh. Keep in mind that bees are attracted to flowers and vegetation while wasps are attracted to sweet bird feeders or beverages.
Bumblebees and honey bees are important to the survival of our flowers, crops and, therefore, human life. Before you panic and grab the nearest insecticide, determine the personal cost to your safety and lifestyle and consider calling in a professional like Bee Serious LLC.