Although they’re indispensable to agriculture and the production of honey, bees can often be troublesome. Every time a colony reaches a certain number of individuals, it splits, creating a swarm. The resulted swarm, while not aggressive, can lead to some serious problems. Its purpose is to establish a new colony. Unfortunately, bees tend to prefer trees and houses, regardless of any signs of human presence.
Bees can build hives in trees, in the ground, in attics, even in the walls of a house. And while it might sometimes be costly to hire professionals in order to remove them, it must be done. A hive of bees near a house poses a risk not only to the inhabitants of that house, but also to those of neighbouring homes, businesses, playgrounds, etc. They are especially dangerous to children and pets as they may attempt to kill them and only manage to drive them to attack. Also, it’s never a good idea to try to remove them without professional help.
Knowing your pest
It is very important to try and identify the type of bees before trying to approach the hive. This can be done by observing a few basic physical characteristics such as their colour and the presents of fur or lack thereof. Different types of bee behave in different ways and also pose varying levels of danger. Bumble bees can be identified by their yellow stripped black bodies; they can sting without dying. Carpenter bees have a blue-black colour and brown fur above their wings; they can also sting without dying. Honeybees are well known for their ability to produce honey and can be easily recognized by their golden yellow bodies with brown bands. These bees have barbed stingers which get stuck into the skin and continue to pump venom until removed. They die after stinging. Last are the killer bees. While they’re not more dangerous than other bees in terms of venom, they are a lot more aggressive and attack in much larger numbers than any other species of bee. Visually, they are largely similar to honeybees, apart from their darker brown bands. Another great piece of information is that bumblebees have the most painful sting, so it’s always best to steer clear of them and always find bee removal services or beekeepers in your area.
Get rid of them for free
Bees are usually passive, simply being drawn to anything which smells sweet. Once provoked, they can become very dangerous. Removing bees does not have to be expensive, though. Contacting a nearby beekeeper is not only the cheapest method, but also the safest one. Beekeepers will often agree to remove the bee hives near your home for free, only charging you for the travel expenses at most. Be warned, they will agree to remove the hives for free only as long as the bees are healthy. Meaning that you must not spray them with any kind of pesticide. Doing so will probably cause the beekeeper to lose interest, as he will not be getting a healthy hive anymore. If you have a hive threatening you or your loved ones and want to have them removed, you will find a list of all the Honey & Beekeeping Associations in the United States, organized by state, here. An important thing to remember is that while almost all beekeepers are equipped to both collect bee swarms and bee hives, they may not be able to remove a colony without damaging your home to some extent, if said colony has been built inside the panelling of your home. Most of the time, removing the hive may require drilling holes into the walls of your home or taking the panelling apart.
If you have a bee colony near or inside your house and you do want to try and remove it by yourself, here are 3 tips to remove a beehive naturally and without killing the insects:
- Dress accordingly. Wear thick clothing and make sure to cover every inch of your body. Try to create a seal around your body that’s thick enough so that the bees’ stingers won’t reach your skin. Also, wear thick gloves and protective eyewear. While a single bee sting isn’t anything to worry about (unless you’re allergic), in greater number, they can even prove fatal. No matter how far away somebody is from the hive, they should wear protection. There are species of bees which have been known to follow people for up to 1.4 miles.
- Smoke them. Smoke can be used to calm bees while you are handling and moving the hive. Find a piece of natural cloth, not synthetic, tie it to a metal rod and light it on fire. Don’t let it burn for long. After the whole cloth catches fire and burns for 15-30 seconds put it out and place it as close as you can to the colony. The bees will rush out of the hive but will be dazed. They will generally not sting while in this state and will simply fly around the hive.
- In order to move the hives, it is always a good idea to prepare a special container beforehand. Choose a box big enough so that it’ll fit the entire hive and cut circular holes in the sides. After that, seal the holes with screen, so that the box will be ventilated but the bees will not have any way of getting out.
Regardless of the type of bees that you may have near your home, calling a local beekeeper is always the best method of getting rid of them. The beekeeper will get a free hive, and you will be able to relax and let the professionals deal with them, without having to pay for their services. There are situations where they might charge you for their travel expenses, but never for the removal of the hive. Remember not to spray them with any pesticides, though.