The answers to the questions presented here are answered in a general manner, however there is an exception to every rule.
1. Question: There is a large
cluster of honeybees hanging from a limb in one of my trees. I know
that they were not there yesterday. Am I in danger and what do I do?
That cluster is called a swarm of bees. Swarming is a stage of a
natural method of reproduction that takes place in the spring. This is when
the old queen and a variety of different age bees leave the colony to
establish a new one. Taking the old queen's place in the original
colony is a new queen that the colony has produced themselves.
Generally, honeybees are at their most docile stage when they are swarming.
With just a minimum of distance you are safe, but you should not let
children throw rocks or sticks at it and maybe keep the dog away.
They usually leave in a day or two. Occasionally the swarm will stay for
a few days, then they could have a
tendency to be a little testy.
We recommend calling a beekeeper to collect the swarm because they are
looking for a new home and you do not want it to be yours!
2. Question: This is the
first time that I have ever had honeybees in the wall of my house.
They have been there for two days. Do I have to go to the expense of
having my wall opened and then repaired just to remove the swarm?
Answer: No, it has been our experience, that If you have those bees flushed out within the first 5 days of invasion, you will save hundreds of dollars!
We do know that feral bees require/prefer morning shade. The height, size and availability of the cavity, also plays a part in why those bees chose that location. What originally attracted the scout bees, apart from the before mentioned, we are not sure. However, we do know what attracts them the second time. That is, once the queen gets in one full egg cycle, which is 21 days, the scent of that honeycomb changes and becomes an attractant. Also bees bring in propolis, which is gum/sap gathered from a variety of plants and trees. Finished propolis is an attractant, it has an aromatic odor. In the early stages of that colony, those attractants are not there, if so, to an extreme minimum.
Whatever nectar/honey that would be in there is still mostly water and will dry up. This is the reason you have just about five days to get those bees out, so to keep the nectar/honey to a minimum.
If you do get bees again the next year, in that location, then you should go to the expense of removal, repair and bee-proofing.
3. Question: I
have a two story house. The first floor is brick and the second floor
is wood. Honeybees have been going in and out of the space
where the brick and wood meet
for over a year now. Are the bees in my
what do I need to do to get rid of them?
Answer: Actually it is very common for honeybees to choose this type of location. The bees are not in your wall, but rather they are in the ceiling of the first floor.
The correct way to remove the bees would be to remove some weather boards, or whatever type of material there is above the brick line and expose the complete nest. The complete nest, will have to come out! Once the complete nest is removed, the cavity must be deodorized and returned to pre-bee condition. Next, the weather boards will have to be put back and that section of the house must be bee-proofed to prevent the return of any other honeybees.
4. Question: Honeybees have
been going in and out of a hole underneath the overhang of my roof. I
was told that all I need to do is get a beekeeper to put a queen in a new
beehive, place it next to the existing hole with a screen funnel over it and all of the bees will come out and
go into the new hive. Is this true?
Answer: We are asked this question quite often. There are a lot of variables in this question i.e. how long have they been there, how large is the nest, is there an electrical wire in there, will the hive beetles beat us to the honey, how much honey would drip if we were wrong, how long are we willing to keep fighting these bees??? We could write a small pamphlet on this subject and still recommend against this procedure. In the end what would you do with all of the nasty bee stuff left in the wall?
5. Question: I have bees
in the ceiling of my house. What are my chances that a beekeeper will
come and take the bees, in exchange the beekeeper can keep the honey?
Answer: Slim to none!
6. Question: I was told
that if I seal up all of the holes and cracks in my house that honey bees
would not be able to get into my walls to live. My question to you is,
do honeybees bore or
chew to get in?
Answer: No, honeybees are not a boring insect. If you are extremely careful to seal all entry points to the internal structural cavities of your house, you will be able to prevent honeybees for making entry.
The only areas that will be bee proofed will be the areas that you caulk, so you will have to caulk all open construction joints, gaps, holes, splits, etc... Remember, if you miss a spot the bees will show you where!
On the other hand, if you seal up an existing nest, bees will chew to get out and chew to get back in.
7. Question: The walls of my house are filled with fiberglass insulation. Can bees still build in them?
Answer: Yes, bees will move in with insulation in the walls. They are good house cleaners. Once in, they cut it up to a fine dust and take it outside. They even remove the paper off of the insulation. If you give them enough time, all you will find are the staples that held the insulation in place.
8. Question: I have bees in the wall of my house for several years now. There is an electrical outlet in the same location. Do bees chew the electrical wire?
Answer: Yes! If the bees are in the wall long enough, they will strip the sheath right off of the wire. Houses built in the late 1950's and early 60's until present time are using what we know today as the plastic sheathed Romex wire. It does take the bees a little longer to chew plastic sheath than the cloth sheath Romex wire that was used in the houses built back in the mid 50's and earlier. Either way, given enough time, the sheath is coming off!