The bee pollinates fruit trees, flowers, and plants to make honey to feed the colony. Bees can create a hive or swam (sometimes as many as 50,000 bees) in a rafter, shed, tree, or bush. Bee stings can be deadly to infants, the elderly, and persons allergic to bee venom.
Bees are beneficial insects, however if their nest is located in or close to an occupied structure, then control is warranted. Live removal of honeybees is desirable. If honeybees must be killed in a wall void or attic, pesticide application should be made at night using only background light.
Extracting honey bees from buildings is considerably more difficult than collecting swarm clusters. When the colony is first established, only a few pounds of adult bees are present, but these bees rapidly build combs, collect honey, and begin to rear more bees. A well-established colony may have up to 100 pounds of honey, many pounds of adult and developing bees, and many beeswax combs. The first step is to determine the exact location of the combs and size of the colony.
Although honey bees can be killed in place inside buildings by using pesticides that are labelled for killing bees inside of structures, this removal option often leads to undesirable consequences.(Note: These chemicals are available only to licensed pest control operators).
If the colony is well established, there are further issues associated with killing the colony. Unattended brood can also rot and become very odorous. Unattended honey stores can absorb moisture and ferment, creating gas that causes the capping's holding honey in the cells to burst. Honey then seeps through the drywall, leading to large amounts of clean-up and expensive replacement. If pesticides were used to kill the bees, then the honey, wax and, dead bees are contaminated and must be handled as hazardous waste.
A better procedure than applying insecticides, especially if you have a beekeeper who is willing to help, may be to eliminate the bees without killing them. First the beekeeper will need to locate the nest by tapping the wall and listening for the hum of the colony. Some beekeepers rely on stethoscopes to find the edges of the nest. Others drill extremely small holes in the wall and insert a fine wire to find the periphery of the nest. To take honey bees and their combs from the nesting spot requires opening a fairly large hole in some portion of the building. That is best done by a professional contractor so that the hole can be easily closed after the bees are removed.
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