Bee Removal

How to Prevent a Bee Problem

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How to get rid of bees

The info below is for preventing a new bee infestation.
If you are trying to prevent recurring bee problems, visit the recurring bee problems page.


Ask the BeemanQ&A

Identify the bee type
Though the topics below are specific to honeybees, info is also provided regarding wasps & hornets except where noted below. Knowing what kind of bee you have can help with preventing a bee problem and knowing what to do. Visit the bee id chart to help with bee identification. Note: All bees & wasps retire or sleep during the evening.

Best times to inspect
Best time of day to inspect is 10am to 5pm daylight hrs, not early morning & late evening. Other less effective times to inspect are with rain, heavy wind, or unusual heat.

Tree / Bush
A new swarm of honeybees on a tree or bush may pick up and leave the same day or within a few days. A new swarm is typically football size or basketball and non-aggressive. Messing with bees can confuse them and cause the bees to stay longer. As for wasps & hornets, the nests are always established. Unlike honeybees, wasps & hornets abandon the nests during winter commonly returning the next spring.

Loud buzzing
Loud bee buzzing on a tree or bushes, is common in autumn /fall season. This is accompanied by bees uniformly buzzing all around the tree or bushes; typically no hive will exist. Loud buzzing sound on tree can be intimidating, though these bees are non-aggressive as there is no home to protect. Within a month bee activity should subside. Visit the full article bees buzzing on shrubbery to learn more.

House / Building
This section is specific to honeybees. It can be very helpful to prevent a bee swarm from moving into the structure.

Unlike wasps & hornets, honeybees start each new hive with thousands of bees. If you recently noticed a handful of bee activity on the house or near a structure, one of these two possibilities exist:
A beehive has moved in,
or you have honeybees that are scouting.

You can tell if bees have already moved in:
▪ Bees floating around the structure as if inspecting can mean a hive has not moved in.
▪ Bees entering though also buzzing around a little, can mean a hive moved in and bees are getting oriented.
▪ Any bees entering with yellow pollen sacs attached to the back legs of a bee means the hive has already moved in.
▪ With existing structural bee hives, a slight stain around the entrance is common.
▪ Bees that are aggressive or protective of the area means they have a hive.
Note:  friendly bees does not mean no hive exists.

If you think bees have already moved in, call the bee hotline or request a Request a callback.
For self-help with bees that have already moved into the structure, visit options for removing bees.

Bees that have not yet moved in:
If the above conditions are confirmed incorrect /none of them are apparent, then preventing bees from moving into the structure yourself can save time & money. To prevent a potential bee problem, apply wasp or hornet spray were the bees are inspecting. It should not require an excessive amount of spray. Note: a garden hose can also work.

Try not to spray the bees, so they can return back and instruct on finding a new location. Take care if hive is established, spraying can anger the bees if a nest exists. If the bees become angry, a hive is likely within the structure. Otherwise, if bees had not yet moved in, within a very short time scout bee activity will stop.

You can re-inspect anytime that same day or next day, see best times to inspect. If after you've sprayed, bee activity dosnt diminish, that would indicate the hive was already moved in. Most times that is the case. Trying to trap bees within a structure can create more problems and you can end up with a house full of bees, especially with large hives.

Not to long ago while visiting my moms, in the backyard I noticed at the roof eave a fair amount of honeybee activity. After spraying with a garden hose and afterwards with a little insecticide the activity stopped. Surprisingly the bees had not moved in. My mom avoided what could have been a costly experience with a hive moving into the roof structure.

Ask the BeemanQ&A

Prevent bees from moving in Chimney
Bee activity at the top of a chimney are likely either a hornet nest, or honeybees. With honeybees, this is commonly accompanied with a small amount of bees getting in the house and then flying to the window. Bees getting in the house is mostly a good thing, it alerts you of a potential problem. If acting quickly, you may be able to avoid the bees from moving in.

Lighting a fire to make bees go away can cause problems, if bees are established, honey can run down the chimney or flu creating long term ongoing bee problems. If many bees are getting inside your house consider temporarily sealing the fireplace with a trash-bag & tape.

To tell if a bee nest has moved into the chimney, and or to prevent bees from moving in, read the section above on how to prevent bees from moving in chimney. If afterwords if you discover bees have already moved into the chimney, read how to get rid of beehive in chimney, based on the type of chimney you have. U.S. bee removal hotline.

Preventing a bee hive on Porch or Patio
Bees that are buzzing around a porch or patio during mid day, indicates a beehive is nearby. A porch or patio with dead bees do not always mean a hive exists. E.g. porch or patio lights were timers turn on early in the morning /late in the evening, can happen when within the bees flight path. Lights that are on a timer can be adjusted to prevent the problem.

If that is not the case (timer lights turning on to early /late) read the section above prevent bees from moving into house to help with preventing a bee problem.

Ask the BeemanQ&A

Preventing bees at Water Source
During day time you may experience honeybees at a water source also were water run off exists. These areas can also include: a water faucet, pool, pond, drinking or soda fountain, and hummingbird feeders. Typically no hive will exist, the bees are simply hydrating during summer. These bees are non-aggressive and not protective of the area. Once the hot season is over, bee activity typically subsides. Visit bees at water source for more in depth reading.

Trapping bees within structure
Regarding honeybees, established hives have many thousands of bees. Trapping bees within the structure commonly will cause the bees to dig back out; trapped bees occasionally can end up digging inside the house!  Honeybees sealed within a structure can cause honey to melt do to poor air circulation. Melted honey can cause structural staining. Read the topic above preventing bees from moving into house for helpful info on preventing a bee problem or removing bee nest.

Prevent a recurring bee problem
Preventing recurring honeybee problems typically requires opening structure and removing the bee hive. Consider also removing any previous bee hives left in the structure. After the hive is removed, make sure an oder sealer /paint is sprayed to suppress the hive scent. Sealing gaps & cracks (exclusion work) is also important. With considering exclusion: bees prefer hives facing the sunrise; sides of structures facing sunrise are more common to get a beehive. In morning, the sun warms the cool structure.

Wasps, yellow jackets and hornets abandon nests during winter, then return at spring to nearby area to rebuild. They start springtime as a single individual queen; unlike honeybees that live year round. Wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets typically only sting when they feel threatened are considered a natural form of pest control to gardens and crops.

What attracts hives and nests? The amount of water, flowers and shrubbery does not increase the chances of a beehive moving on to the property. However, not removing honeycomb and the hive is the main reason bees return to a structure.

DIY: Options to remove a bee nest yourself
Do it yourself bee removal can be very difficult. Especially as honeybees have thousands of bees, and more hatching daily. Commonly when the bees are inside a structure, handling it yourself can makes the problem worse. Additionally with honeybees, unless the hive is removed, it creates more problems from rodents, pests, and future bee problems.

Removing a beehive within a structure yourself is especially challenging, it requires protective gear, supplies, and carpentry tools. It is common for bees to return after the removal. Having funds available to remove the hive is a good first choice, your welcome to call the bee removal hotline, or request a Request a callback.

If you are low on funds, other options may exist regarding free bee removal without repair or warrantee. To read more about diy bee removal do it yourself bee removal of a live beehive.

Ask the BeemanQ&A

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