When Honeybees Invade Your Home
The Bee Extraction
Posted on 6th June 2023 by Ernest H.
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- When Honey Bees Invade Your Home - The Bee Extraction
There are certain methods to use for getting honeybees out of a structure, such as a house, shed or building. The whole ordeal is a daunting one and requires a professional, as it is a very complex task. Honeybees will usually swarm in the springtime and look for a new place to build their new hive. They can enter a wall through a crack or opening on the outside of a building. The most common entry ways are near the gutter where the soffit and fascia lie. It doesn't take much of an opening for honeybees to gain entry into your home or building. Once inside, honeybees can build up their combs within days. They multiply very quickly while building up their hive. It's amazing how fast they can build. In several days the combs can be a foot long and several inches in width.
Spraying honeybees is not a good way to remove them as honeybees build their hives using wax combs. Pesticides will not penetrate this wax and will only prolong the inevitable. It's true that spraying pesticides will kill the bees on contact, however the majority will still survive as they remain protected by the wax combs. Also, the baby bees are encapsulated within this wax so they will also survive. Of course if you have other types of bees like yellow jackets or hornets the pesticide method should work well. Honeybees, however, are very different and require other means to remove them. A proper extraction should be performed by someone experienced in the field of structural removal of honeybees. Your local beekeeping organization should have a list of local beekeepers that also perform this type of service. Please contact a structural removal specialist to assist if you think bees are in your home.
As mentioned earlier, once a colony enters a structure they will usually settle in the walls of the home. Honeybees number in the thousands and rapidly build wax combs for the queen to lay her eggs into. The eggs turn into larvae and eventually newly born bees, also known as brood. These same wax combs are also used to store resources such as nectar, pollen and honey. In a very short time-frame (several days to weeks), a colony will build combs that will span out to spaces in the walls between the wall studs of the home. Each comb section can be several feet in length and extend from ceiling areas to the floor joists. Each section can contain three to four combs. The amount of honey and brood in these combs can be considerable. We're talking several pounds worth of honey and thousands of baby bees being raised. Note that the queen can lay up to 1,500 eggs per day! All of this is happening within the walls of your home and can have very serious consequences.
Honey is a great food source and loved by millions of people around the world, but it is acidic in nature. Honey is very thick and resists fungi and bacteria from growing in it.
Sometimes the honey that is stored in the combs can get over heated due to temperatures in a building structure. When this happens, the wax cells will melt allowing the honey to run down the wall and penetrate the wood. This creates even more problems because honey is a sticky, sweet substance that attracts pests such as ants and mice. Additionally, if the bees are killed and not nurturing this resource it will begin to sour. Honey is very hygroscopic and extracts moisture from surrounding air. Once it begins to sour, it will ferment with bacteria and turn into a liquid mess and eventually break out of the combs it was stored in and seep into your walls and flooring. It will soak into the surrounding wood and rapidly decompose. This leads to severe damage to the wood structures of the building and can be very expensive to repair. This is the main reason that it is very important to remove the whole honeybee colony and all hive pieces as soon as possible. Remember that time is of the essence in this situation.
If you see honeybees flying around your home chances are you have a hive somewhere. In this instance it is important to contact a reliable beekeeper to remove the bees properly. The walls must be cut out and opened up so the entire colony can be removed. The whole bee colony will be removed carefully, to include all worker bees, drones and most importantly the queen. This is usually done by a specially made vacuum so the bees are not hurt and can be relocated. The combs are then removed by carefully scraping the area they are attached to and stored in hive frames. The beekeeper can then place the entire colony into a new hive on their property where the bees can thrive.
Once all of the bees and hive are removed, the walls and area where the hive was can now be washed with either bleach or ammonia. This will remove the pheromones the bees left behind, which could attract an additional swarm of bees to this same location. Another option is to spray with a substance called Honey-B-Gone which is a natural alternative to to keep honeybees away as they do not like the scent and will stay far away from it. A carpenter can then be called to fix the cut-out wall pieces and close of any entry ways. Make sure to check and make sure no other bees are seen around the area of entry. It is normal to see a few bees here and there as these would be the stragglers that were out gathering resources when the hive was removed. They will eventually leave the area when they realize their home is not there anymore.
The structural removals done by beekeepers are done humanely as listed above. After all, honeybees are protected in certain areas and are essential in nature as pollinators.