Live bee removal is a humane and eco-friendly bee removal option.
It’s more complex and costly than using pesticides.
Always use a certified, insured, and licensed bee removal professional.
Even if you don’t have apiphobia (an intense fear of bees), finding a swarm or colony in or around your home makes most people feel a tad uncomfortable. After all, an established hive can host over 50,000 bees. Fortunately, when it comes to moving these prolific pollinators, it doesn’t always have to mean curtains for the bees. Bee relocation is becoming increasingly common and, as well as easing your conscience, has many other buzzy benefits.
Learn more about why and when live bee removal is worth considering when endangered honeybees decide to hang out in or around your home.
Why Is an Established Bee Colony Problematic in and Around Your Home?
While the live and let live approach is good where possible, sometimes leaving a bee colony to thrive on your property brings problems. The hive grows over many years, and swarms from the colony may invade other parts of your home to build new nests.
Bees often nest in dark ingresses like chimneys, wall cavities, water meters, utility boxes, soffits, or under decks. If it’s a location you need to access regularly, you could be subject to an onslaught of angry bees defending their patch.
Their nesting habits and heavy hives also occasionally lead to damp problems, holes developing in drywall, damage to insulation, and wax and honey stains.
Benefits of Live Bee Removal
When it’s possible, live bee removal brings a host of benefits:
It’s a humane process.
In a safer site, healthy bees continue to pollinate and produce honey.
There’s no need for harsh, potentially harmful side effects of pesticides.
Complete hive removal means less chance the same spot will attract future bees.
There won’t be any leftover fermenting honey or dead bees to cause foul odors or seep into your home’s structure.
There are no worries about agitated, dying bees trying to escape pesticide applications.
What Does Live Bee Removal Involve?
Certified bee removal experts use different methods, depending on their expertise, preferences, and the individual colony location and behavior. Accurate location of the nest is the first step, and you may even see the beekeeper getting out a stethoscope, thermal scanner, or fine drill at this stage. Pinpointing the nest minimizes structural damage when accessing the nest.
Pros may need to cut a hole in a wall or other structure to access the colony. Some smoke the bees to calm them and then use vacuums to suck them gently up for transportation, but this isn’t always the most humane option, and stress makes for a lot of angry bees. Trap-outs that encourage the colony to move into a mobile hive are less invasive and more humane. Once the bees are in their new temporary home, they can’t get back into the old nest. However, you need a lot of patience; it can take up to two months for the colony to move over completely.
Most beekeepers won’t make good on any damage they cause when accessing the hive, so you may also need a carpenter or other contractor to repair walls or other structures and to block access so a new colony can’t make a home in the same spot in the future.
How Much Does Live Bee Removal Cost?
Average costs for live bee removal range from $100 to $1,000, but complex jobs with extensive repairs could cost up to $2,000. However, how much it costs depends on the location of the hive and the method of removal. When there's a cut-out, you may need to hire a local carpenter to repair any damage caused when accessing the hive.
Still, you might find an enthusiastic and certified beekeeper willing to remove the colony from your property for free humanely if you're lucky. However, typically there is a charge for this service. It tends to cost more than bee removal using pesticides because it’s often more time-consuming and challenging.
Can I Remove a Live Bee Colony Myself?
To minimize stress for the bees, avoid the risk of serious injury, and ensure proper hive removal, always look for an insured and certified beekeeper or a licensed pest removal company to complete the job. Not done correctly, you risk violating state or federal laws.
When Might Live Bee Removal Not Be Possible?
If the nest is in a difficult-to-access area or one with high footfall, sometimes using pesticides is the quicker, safer, and more practical option. It may also come down to budget—live bee removal is typically more expensive. Safe bee removal is always best done by the pros, and if you can’t find a certified beekeeper willing to aid you in live removal, hiring a local pest control company that only uses pesticides may be your only option.