You may first be alerted to the presence of a new bee swarm or hive by the incessant hum of the bees ventilating the hive. Bee removal can be an expensive proposition if you have to hire professionals. Professionals will likely kill the bees and remove the honey and hive to prevent re-infestation. You may be able to find a local beekeeper who will do it for free, but you will likely be responsible for the cleanup afterward. Because of the danger of Africanized bee swarms, always get professional help to identify the swarm and to help you remove them. Here are some of the best ways to remove bee swarms and established hives.
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The most efficient way to remove a hive or swarm is to use either professional strength insecticides or a commercial soapy water formula that first makes the bees unable to fly and then drowns them. Insecticides kill by stopping the bees’ nervous systems.
Sealing The Swarm
Some entomologists recommend killing an established hive by using screen wire, steel wool or caulk to seal the bees up inside the space where they’ve established the hive. Once you stop the bees from foraging, the bees can no longer continue building the hive. The entire hive should die off within a week or two from starvation and dehydration.
Objections to Sealing
Professionals exterminators do not recommend that you attempt to seal in bees. They point out that the bees may chew through soft areas and break out into houses or interior spaces if they are inside walls and crawl spaces. Aggressive Africanized bees could be a serious problem if they escape. Once inside, bees, which do not fly in the dark, may follow interior lights into bedrooms and other rooms of the house. The next morning you will find them at the windows where they will die of dehydration in short order at which time you can suck them up with the vacuum cleaner hose. Be careful after vacuuming the bees. There may be a few live ones left in the bag.
Whichever extermination method is used, you must remove not only the hive and honey, but also any bodies of dead bees. You can sweep up those that die outside the hive. Then, use a shop vacuum and a long hose to vacuum up the ones inside the the hive, any walls and spaces where they might be. This prevents poisoning of birds and mammal that might eat the dead bee carcasses. Soap can be as lethal as insecticide to some creatures that might consume the dead bees.
If you want to remove the bees alive, you must find an experienced beekeeper. The beekeeper will do this at night after the bees have settled down for the night. The bees may be defensive, but the beekeeper will have protective gear to help. He may use smoke to dull the bees senses, especially if the swarm is in a difficult to reach place or inside a wall or attic. The beekeeper then simply sweeps up the dormant bees into a box and with a piece of the hive, removes the swarm from the premises. He may have to open the space around the hive to successfully remove all the bees. With a swarm in a tree, he may be able to simply slip a large plastic bag around the hive, tie it off and cut the limb free, removing the hive in one mass.
Remove the Hive
No matter how you remove the bees alive or dead, the honeycombs have to be removed as well. The honey and honeycomb releases a pheromone that, if left behind, attracts bees back to the same place. Even if you seal the old hive, the bees can still smell the pheromone and will scout around the rest of the building or hollow space looking for a place to establish a new hive.