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Honeybees in tree trunks or hollows often cause recurring problems. Getting rid of the bees in a tree trunk yourself may present a tremendous challenge. A beehive in a tree trunk may consist of 5,000 to 20,000 bees. Normally the cost of buying a bee suit and other equipment, (in addition to the time you take to learn what to do and how to do it) far exceeds the cost of paying a beekeeper or a bee removal specialist. You can have the bees in the tree trunk removed alive. This method called a trap-out, if you live in areas were Africanized bees exist, like California, Texas, Florida, or in Phoenix AZ, or Las Vegas NV. It normally will cost more (to remove the bees alive in the tree trunk) do to the extra time it takes. A live trap typically out consists of creating a cone shaped screen so that the thousands of bees can get out but can't get back in, and having a bee box close by in efforts to encourage the hive to choose that as their new home. In this case, at some point a sheet brood n comb can be added to the box to increase the likeliness of the bees choosing that as their home.
After you get rid of the bees, the honey scent can linger indefinitely, attracting new bee colonies in search of a suitable home. To keep this from happening and get rid of the bees in the tree trunk permanently, the tree hollow can be filled a filler. If the hollow is large you may choose to fill the trunk partially with some crumpled newspaper, and next fill it the rest of the way with expanding foam. Trees may have more than one opening the bees can use (even if it's small or the bees have sealed it off with wax). Make sure to foam this area as well.
Lastly, it is quite common for a curious rodent or critter to chew through the foam, re-creating a hole for bees to move back in! To keep this from happening, prior to capping off the tree hollowing with expanding foam, a pre-cut galvanized non rusting screen can be placed on top of the foam.
Bees in tree trunks should not necessarily be taken lightly, an associate I worked with for a short time while she was in law school, told me about how her grandfather was killed by bees that were living in a tree. At a young age he and his brother were driving with her grandfather on their way home (many years before she was born), when the tire got a flat; there vehicle swerved and hit a tree. From what she explained her grandfather got injured and didn't make it out of the car, the bees in the tree went into defense mode and from what I understand he was stung many times before the paramedics arrived.
Additionally, caution should be taken when bees are removed alive by beekeeper or killed by an exterminator, when in public areas or where there are pedestrians crossing encase an individual is allergic or encase the bees are being exterminated and become aggressive. If you live in the US or Canada, call the toll free bee removal help line, we provide this help service for recurring bee problems.
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