Working with bees is a little understood profession. Many folks don't understand what to do with bees around their house.
What is a swarm of bees?
Most people use the term "swarming" to refer to dangerous bee activity or just bees flying around; however, this is a misnomer. A swarm is a condensed body of bees (like a clump or a ball) concentrated in a specific area (like a tree or wall)
Swarming is bee reproduction at the colony level. When a colony swarms, the queen leaves the colony along with about half of the worker bees. The remaining workers produce a new queen. The cluster of bees (or swarm) that left the colony begins a search for new nesting sites.
Swarming is actually the cluster moving from its previous colony to a holding area until the bees find a home. Bees in swarms are generally docile and not defensive as they do not yet have a hive to protect. Despite this, swarms should be removed as soon as possible because they will soon find a suitable home and establish a new colony. That new residence may be your home or business!
Why do I have bees in my house or business?
Structures like our homes, sheds and other buildings are a prime location for bees to live. Just like us, bees need to escape the weather. They need to stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer and keep their hive clean and dry. The inside of a wall, eve, roof cavity or stucco column is a perfect place for them to thrive. Once a hive has swarmed, the new colony undoubtedly needs a new residence. The swarm will send out scout bees to find a new home. If they decide that your structure is suitable, you’ve just become an amateur beekeeper!
How many Bees live in a Hive?
There can be up to 40 to 50 thousand Bees in an average, healthy hive in the summertime. During winter, the population is reduced to about half that.
Why is a Bee Hive in my home a problem?
There are several reasons why a hive in your structure is a bad idea. Having up to 300 pounds of honey, wax, bee larva and 40,000 of your closest friends just may not appeal to you. The potential for damage to your structure, the attraction of other insects and rodents to the honey or the rotting of a hive no longer viable just may not be a welcome thought. You may have family members or employees that are allergic to stings, which becomes a danger.
How can I get rid of the Bees and/or the Hive?
The only sure way is to physically remove them. Other methods for various reasons, have proven not to work. More than half of our customers already have tried to eliminate their problem before calling us. Many have been stung repeatedly; have damaged their home or just flat give up after several attempts. Placing a call to The Unstung Hero is always the best and safest way to go! Here are some popular home remedies that consistently fail:
Insecticides / Poisons
Whether or not you choose to eliminate the bees is not the issue here. It is a matter of accessibility. Even though you may kill several hundred, even thousands of bees using insecticides, you will not be able reach the unborn bees that are encapsulated within the wax comb. Spraying the entrance or hole that they are going in and out, will not reach the hive. Repeated attempts of this nature often times drive the bees further into the structure, ultimately making it much more difficult to remove the hive properly.
Sealing off the entrance
Sealing off an entrance will force the bees to find a new way out; and they always do! All they need is a bit of light or a slight draft to follow their way out. The issue here can again be, driving the bees inward. Consider that at night the bees return to the hive. During the day, only a small percentage actually leave the hive. At no time will you be able to seal off the entrance to keep them out. You will be attempting to seal them in. Keep in mind that their new exit may be INSIDE your house!
Smoke them out!
Our Favorite. Do your research on this one. The only way that smoke will solve your problem is if the fire that accompanies it, burns your structure down. Smoking Bees will actually cause the polar opposite effect. Instinctually, Bees go TO the honeycomb when there is smoke present. They do this to start collecting and holding honey in preparation for an impending fire. They temporarily store the honey in their honey stomachs and wait for the signal to evacuate. No fire, No evacuation. This is why beekeepers have for many centuries used smoke when they inspect their hives. It keeps the bees in the hives and off of them!
Will the bees cause any damage to my House/Structure?
Typically not. However, over time the contents of the hive and decaying bees penetrate wood, insulation and drywall. This can cause staining, foul odors and eventually compromise some building materials. A customer recently told me that they left their bees in the ceiling of their garage some time ago and didn’t see the need to remove them. That was until the ceiling caved in and covered the garage floor! The honey and hive contents will also attract other bees, insects, birds and rodents. We have removed many a dead bird and especially mice from cavities containing beehives.
What is a Bee Extraction?
A Bee Removal / Hive Extraction is the physical removal of the Bees and Hive, and requires specialized equipment and protective gear. It is critical to remove the ENTIRE hive for several reasons. Since Bees are born daily (at the rate of several hundred to a thousand a day), removing all of the brood comb (larva) is crucial. Leaving a single sheet of brood comb behind could allow the hive to repopulate. Removing the entire honeycomb is also crucial as it would attract other Bees, swarms, insects, birds and rodents if left behind.
What Is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)?
CCD is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term colony collapse disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006. Colony collapse is economically significant because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees.
What Causes CCD?
The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet fully understood, although many authorities attribute the problem to biotic factors such as Varroa mites and insect diseases. Other proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition and pesticides, and migratory beekeeping. More speculative possibilities have included both cell phone radiation and genetically modified crops with pest control characteristics, though no evidence yet exists for these assertions. It has also been suggested that it may be due to a combination of many factors and that no single factor is the cause.