Honeybees play an important role in pollination, and they provide us with honey. But when they decide to take up residence inside the walls of a house, they can become a nuisance. If the entrance to their nest is near human or pet traffic they become a dangerous nuisance, as they may sting to defend their territory.
Bee hive removal from the walls of your house is a dangerous undertaking, and you should contact a professional bee removal service or beekeeper in your area to do the job. A beekeeper may be able to remove the colony without killing the bees, an important consideration due to the diminishing numbers of honey bees caused by colony collapse disorder.
Whatever way you decide to remove the bees, protect yourself by wearing bee-resistant clothing, a veil, and gloves for working with bees. Conduct the bee removal during a time when no people or pets will be in the vicinity.
Removal by Pesticide
Determine the size of the hive by listening for bee activity. Tap lightly on the wall with a screwdriver or hammer to increase the buzzing from the hive, then move outward until the buzzing noise diminishes drastically or becomes muffled to determine the edge of the nest.
If the bee colony has only been inside the structure for a day or so, inject a pesticide for bees into the hole. The bees will not have had time to build much comb or store much honey at this point, so removal and cleanup will be a bit easier. If you do not remove the bees from the cavity, expect a bad odour in the vicinity of the nest for several weeks as the bees decay.
If the bees have been in residence for more than a few days, removal will be trickier. By this time, the bees may have built a lot of comb and produced a sizeable brood and store of honey. If you kill the bees with pesticide but don't remove the comb and honey, it may attract wax moths, mice, and ants. The comb will melt during hot weather, which may cause the honey to ooze through the wall or ceiling and cause severe damage.
To prevent these problems, cut out a section of wall to remove all bees, both dead and alive, along with all of the comb and honey. Thoroughly scrub the wall cavity with soapy water. If possible, leave the cavity open for a couple of weeks to allow for drying and airing out of colony odours. Then fill the cavity with foam or fibreglass insulation, replace the wall section, and seal all openings such as cracks and knotholes to prevent another colony from taking over the nest.
Removal by Trapping
If the exterior wall is stucco, brick, or cement and the interior wall is inaccessible, normal bee removal is impossible. In this instance, or if you are not in a hurry to get rid of the bees and want to remove them alive, you can use a one-way bee removal trap to trap the bees out of the wall. This procedure is not a quick method of bee removal; it will take 2 to 3 months and you will need to be careful to seal the cavity to prevent another colony from taking over.
A one-way bee removal trap is a cone-shaped device made of window screening. Fasten the large end over the primary colony entrance and seal off all other cracks and holes that could provide entrance. Place a commercial hive body with a new queen bee on a platform just below the trap with its opening as close to the primary entrance to the bee colony as possible. The bees will be forced to leave the colony through the trap; upon returning to the hive, they will fly to the base of the trap where the entrance is located and will be unable to get in. Eventually, they will find their way to the new hive.
Check now and then to make sure the bees have not found another way into the wall colony. The wall colony will weaken as more bees make their way to the new hive. The old queen is unlikely to leave her brood in the old colony, so once most of the bees have migrated to the new hive, inject a non-residual pesticide or CO2 into the old cavity to kill the queen and any remaining bees. Be sure the pesticide will not leave a toxic residue.
A few days after pesticide injection, remove the cone trap but leave the new hive in place to allow the bees to return to the old hive and remove the honey from it. Once they have completed this task, remove the new hive and seal all entry sites to the old hive to prevent reinfestation. Inject an expanding foam insulation into the cavity to further prevent another swarm from taking over.
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