How to Safely Remove Bees From Your Home

Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Updated December 21, 2021
A wooden house in nature
Photo: Serge / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • A local beekeeper can identify the bee species at your home to help remove them.

  • Sometimes, you can’t safely remove bees from a home.

  • Live bee removal is not a DIY project.

  • More than 90 crops depend on bees for pollination.

  • Prevent bees from returning by bee-proofing your house.

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Bees are important pollinators for our farms and fresh produce, but that doesn’t mean you want them swarming around your home. Due to declining bee populations, many bee removal companies now consider live removal to be the most eco-friendly and humane option to rid homes of honeybees. 

Here’s what you need to know to remove bees from your property safely.

1. Contact a Beekeeper or Licensed Removal Company

The first thing you want to do is contact a local bee professional. From carpenter bees to bumblebees, a pro will be able to tell you which species pose a threat to your home and which are generally harmless unless threatened. Your bee pro can either be a beekeeper or a pest control company. If you opt for a pest control company, be sure to check their website for live bee removal practices, or you might end up paying for someone to come to your house only to offer extermination as the only means for getting rid of the hive. 

A live bee-removing professional near you will:

  • Accurately identify the bee species

  • Know about any diseases impacting local beehives

  • Help you assess whether or not it’s possible to safely remove the bees without the risk of shocking and killing them 

2. Vet Your Bee Removal Pro

Portrait of a cheerful beekeeper
Photo: rh2010 / Adobe Stock

When vetting a bee professional, don’t just pick any pro you can find online. Instead, consider asking a set of questions to determine if they’re the right fit for the job:

  • Ask for references.

  • Find out if they’re members of national, state, or local bee associations.

  • See how long they’ve been in the business and how many removals they’ve done.

  • Ask whether the bees will be exterminated or relocated.

  • See what they’ll do with the honeycomb: A honeycomb left unattended will melt into a sticky mess that could seep through walls and attract more bees and other pests.

  • Ask for their licenses, as some bee removals may require cutting into your walls to get the bees. Your pro may have to refer you to another contractor to fix the damage if they don’t have the license to do so.

3. Schedule a Live Bee Removal

Live bee removal can be a timely process that can take between six to eight hours in some cases. During live relocation, a pro will remove the honeycomb with protective gear. Some professionals use a smoker to calm the bees before gently vacuuming them and placing the bees into a cage with the honeycomb. Then, it’s a matter of waiting for the rest of the bees to migrate to the honeycomb on their own.

If the bees migrate toward the cage, it means the queen is already there. If they aren’t migrating, then your pro will need to locate the queen bee. This could add a few hours to the bee removal process.

Why We Need to Keep Bees Safe

If you like apples, pumpkins, broccoli, and even almonds, you have bees to thank for these tasty foods. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that around one-third of all American food is directly or indirectly derived from honeybee pollination. A surprising minimum of 90 crops are dependent on our bees, so safely removing these little pollinators is key to keeping food on your dining room table.

Just a single bee colony can contain approximately 50,000 honeybees, which is both amazing for crops and also quite frightening for homeowners when bees decide to make their home your home. That’s why humane bee removal is so important. 

What’s Happening to Bees?

At the same time, a few illnesses continue to hurt the bee population. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has plagued beekeeper colonies since 2006, while American Foulbrood is a widespread and damaging disease for the bee population. Both illnesses have had a major impact on bees, making it more important than ever to preserve the lives of our bee populations. 

When Live Removal Is Not Feasible

Sometimes, a beekeeper might say that live removal isn’t an option for your beehive problem. Bees don’t always survive the move, as the stress and heat from moving a hive from one place to another can kill the bees. In this case, the most humane way to remove the bees may be to hire a local pest control company to exterminate them. However, it’s best to get a second opinion here and speak to multiple pros. 

DIY Bee Removal vs. Hiring a Pro

Removing bees can be dangerous, so avoid DIYing a bee removal. Removing a beehive on your property can result in you getting stung (ouch!), and you could fall or cause structural damage trying to remove hives that have infiltrated your home’s walls, attic, or other hard-to-reach crevices. That’s why it’s best to contact a beekeeper or pest control company to do the job. 

How to Prevent Bees From Returning to Your Home

Your bee problem is now taken care of—but now what? The best way to prevent bees from building a new home at your home is to follow these preventative measures:

  • Keep sweet foods—like ice cream, fruit, candy, and soda—away from your trash.

  • Treat all of your wood surfaces to prevent carpenter bees from burrowing inside them.

  • Plant peppermint plants and marigolds.

  • Seal and cover outdoor sheds and grills.

  • Patch up any holes in your attic or sidings.

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