Honey bees are some of the most important pollinators in the world. In fact, they are responsible for pollinating over one-third of the world’s crops!
These little insects play a critical role in maintaining the ecosystem and the food chain. Without them, our diets would be limited, and the cost of food would skyrocket.
However, there are times when honey bees need to be removed from certain areas, such as:
- When they have established their hive in a location that poses a threat to human or pet safety
- When they are causing damage to property
- When they are raising concerns about health
- When they are creating agriculture concerns
In these situations, it is important to work with a wildlife removal professional, like those at Covenant Wildlife, who understands the best practices for honey bee removal.
Attempting to remove bees without the proper knowledge and equipment can be dangerous for both the person and the bees.
Additionally, it can cause unnecessary harm to the bees, which are already facing a decline in their population due to habitat loss and pesticide use.
Because of these reasons, it is important to approach honey bee removal with caution, and only when necessary.
This article will outline how you can spot a honey bee, the reasons they should be removed, and the do’s and don’ts of honey bee removal.
Are They Actually Honey Bees?
Before doing any type of removal, make sure what you are getting rid of are actually honey bees. Too often, people confuse honey bees with bumble bees.
This may not seem like a big deal, but more often than not bumbles bees do not need to be removed. This is because their nests only last for a season and will likely be gone in a few weeks.
Thankfully, if you know what to look for, you can spot the difference.
Tips for Spotting a Honey Bee
It’s often difficult to distinguish between different types of bees because they all look very similar. However, some characteristics can help you identify if the bee you are trying to remove is actually a honey bee.
Characteristics of Honey Bees
Honey bees are usually brownish-yellow or black in color with distinctive black bands across the belly. They are not as harry as bumblebees which gives them a shinier appearance.
Honey bees are typically around ½ to ⅝ inches long. For reference, that is about the size of a small grape or just a little bigger than a housefly.
3. Wing Shape
Honey bees have long, slender wings that are transparent. If you look close enough, you may be able to see the veins running through their wings.
Honey bees are usually not aggressive unless you disturb their hive or they feel threatened. They typically swarm in large groups when they are looking for a new hive, which is a sign that you have a honey bee colony nearby.
5. Nest Location
Where the nest is located can be a good indicator of the type of bee. Bumble bees typically build their nests underground, while honey bees build their nests above ground and in sheltered locations.
6. Number of Bees
While it’s impossible to count the bees, a good guess can help you spot the difference between bumble bees and honey bees.
Bumble bees usually only gather by the hundreds while honey bees tend to gather by the thousands.
If you can’t determine the species of bee or are unsure, the best approach is to contact a professional beekeeper or wildlife removal company for help with identification.
Are You Dealing with a Swarm or a Hive?
Before deciding on removal, it’s important to determine if you are dealing with a swarm or a hive. These two things should be treated differently.
A swarm is typically in a tree, bush, or other unsecured location. If this is the case, removal will not be necessary because they will usually disperse within a few days.
A hive is typically in a more permanent location, like the side of your house or the corner of your deck. In this case, removal may be the best option as hives typically stick around longer and continue to grow until they are removed or the weather pushes them away.
Reasons to Remove Honey Bees
Honey bees are important pollinators and play a crucial role in our ecosystem. However, there may be a time when it is necessary for you to remove honey bees from your land.
Here are some valid reasons for removing honey bees:
If honey bees have established a hive in an area where they’ve become a safety risk to you or your pets, such as a high-traffic area, school, or daycare center, removal may be necessary to prevent stings and potential allergic reactions.
Unfortunately, the weight of honey bee hives can cause damage to structures. This damage typically rears its head when they build their hive inside walls, ceilings, or other essential areas of a building. Removal may be required to avoid costly repairs.
If a hive becomes diseased or infested with pests, it can pose a threat to the health of other bee colonies in the area. Removing the hive can help prevent the spread of disease or pests to other colonies.
Honey bees may need to be removed from agricultural areas if they are causing damage to crops or if their presence is getting in the way of day-to-day operations.
Don’ts of Honey Bee Removal
First, we will cover the don’ts of honey bee removal. This can be a potentially dangerous process for both yourself and the environment if done incorrectly, so pay close attention to these honey bee removal no-no’s.
1. Don’t ignore a honey bee infestation. As we mentioned, honey bees can cause damage to your home or building if left untreated.
2. Don’t use pesticides to kill the bees. These can be harmful to the environment and to the bees themselves. Honey bees create honey and other products which can be contaminated if pesticides are used.
3. Don’t seal or block the entrance to the hive. This agitates the bees and could result in them finding another way into your home or building. This can also increase your risk of getting stung.
4. Don’t try to move the hive on your own. Oftentimes, moving the hive is a good option for removal, however, special tools are required and the hives can be very heavy.
5. Don’t attempt to move the bees yourself if you’re not trained and experienced in beekeeping or wildlife removal. This can be very dangerous and harmful to yourself and the bees.
Do’s of Honey Bee Removal
Now that we’ve covered the things to avoid when dealing with honey bees, it’s time to discuss the things you should do throughout the removal process.
1. Do contact a professional beekeeper or wildlife removal service for help with removing honey bees. Honey bees play a major role in our environment and need to be handled with care for your and their safety.
2. Do stay calm. As long as the bees are not disturbed, the bees will not be a bother. Stay calm as you wait for the wildlife removal service to arrive.
3. Do point the wildlife removal service in the right direction. Make sure they have adequate access to the hive and that all personal items are away from the area, if possible.
4. Do be patient. Honey bee removal can be a long process. Be sure to give the wildlife removal service plenty of time to do the job correctly and safely.
5. Do wear protective clothing. If you need to be around the bees, make sure you are dressed appropriately to avoid stings.
Safe Honey Bee Removal
It’s important to remember that honey bees are essential for the sustainability of our ecosystem and the world’s food supply.
While honey bee removal may be necessary in certain situations, approach the process with caution and the help of a wildlife removal expert.
Trying to remove honey bees without proper knowledge and equipment can be dangerous and potentially harmful to the bees. By working with a wildlife removal expert, you can ensure the bees are removed safely and relocated to continue their crucial role in pollinating crops and maintaining the ecosystem.
By following the do’s and don’ts outlined in this article and working with a wildlife removal expert, we can ensure the safe removal of honey bees while minimizing harm to the bees and preserving their important role in our ecosystem.
If you’re searching for a wildlife removal expert, consider Covenant Wildlife! We will provide an inspection of your property and assess the safest and most affordable manner in which the honey bees that have taken up residence there can be removed. We will also provide you with a blueprint on how to guard against the possibility of future infestations.
Contact our team at Covenant Wildlife today by calling 205-651-1547 or sending us a message here!