When Honey Bees Buzz Your House

Protect honey bees and your house by ensuring they build their hive elsewhere. Thrasher Termite & Pest Control is committed to protecting honey bees. Whenever possible we call upon our beekeeper associates, such as Doug Smith, to relocate a honey bee hive that is in or too near a human dwelling. Sometimes, a hive cannot be relocated or is Africanized, in these instances we perform the task of hive elimination. stopping a honey bee invasion before it gets out of control is a great way to protect bees and you! Doug offers the following advice for preventing a swarm from nesting in the walls of your house:

It is swarm season and I would encourage you to be watching for signs that a swarm may be considering the walls of your home as a potential new home. Bees are not too particular where they live. They typically look for a space that gives them a minimum of a cubic foot of space. If a space meets that minimum needs they don’t seem to mind whether it is the eves, chimneys, exhaust vent, sheds, recycling bins, meter boxes or the trunk of a car.

Swarming is an asexual way that honey bees reproduce, it is in their DNA.

A colony may decide to swarm for a number reason but the most common reason is usually they are feeling crowded and are looking for more room. A common scenario would be that at some point in spring the colony decides, that it is going to swarm. In perpetration for this event, the colony will start raising several new queens of which one will replace the departing queen.

Honey bees gathering necter

At this time the colony sends out scout bees to start looking for new living arrangements. Being alerted to this behavior can be a helpful early detection.  What you might first notice is a solitary bee sniffing around your eve or around an opening in your siding. Some examples could be, around the water line or cable, around the chimney, where the stucco butts up to a piece of wood. These are just a few examples of places that are very typical where the bees will try to enter from. They only need a crack in the stucco or siding no bigger than a pencil to access the inner wall.

What will typically occur next is that a single scout bee locates a space that she likes and goes back to the colony too communicates this with her sisters with a dance. Several other bees will then return to the potential space, verify her findings and return back to the colony to communicate their agreement of her assessment. With a scenario like this it is easy to see where within several days if not hours that you could observe the activity of several hundred if not thousands of bees coming and going, giving the impression that the colony has already moved in.

From late morning to early afternoon I have seen just a few bees multiply into several hundred bees visiting the new potential home. On three different occasions I have literally seen thousand of bees coming and going only to have the swarm arrive while we were closing up the opening. I was a very popular bee keeper with all three of these home owners.

We saved the home owner from the anxiety of having bees in their house walls and in some cases getting inside of the house along with the cost and inconvenience of an extraction.

So what can you do? You can keep an eye peeled, inspect your house and look for openings that could give the bee’s access to a space in the walls or the eves. Fill these openings temporarily with paper tissue, steel wool especially if you are seeing bee activity around an opening. For a more permanent solution caulk these openings.

One last point, for those of you who have hives on your property, the hive itself may show indications of an upcoming swarm.  Usually this is manifested by what is described as bearding. This is when you see lots of bees hanging around the opening of the hive giving the visual impression of a beard on the front of the hive.

Douglas Smith
President
Bees at Home
“Taking the sting out of bee keeping”
408 802-1331 (in Santa Clara County)
www.beesathome.com

 

About the Author:

Garrett Thrasher is Vice President and General Manager of Thrasher Termite & Pest Control of So Cal, Inc., Chairperson of the San Diego District of the Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC), a member of the bedbugFREE network, and a member of the National Pest Management Association. Author of The Bed Bug Battle Plan: Field Tested Solutions for Bed Bug Extermination and Prevention (ISBN: 1500838209), Garrett’s solid understanding of bed bugs, their behavior, current outbreaks, and experience on camera has made him a leading contact for news and media outlets. He is also a sought after speaker on the topic of managing online reviews for positive impact. He has spoken at PestWorld and PestTech, and was featured in PCT Magazine and the PCT Podcast. Thrasher Termite & Pest Control of So Cal is accredited by QualityPro–the mark of excellence in pest management.

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