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How do I remove a bee hive from my wall?

Q. We have just acquired a "volunteer" hive in a wall of our house, just above the water heater - a nice warm spot! I want to move these bees to a hive where they will be safe. I do not want to call in a company who will simply remove the bees and kill the queen.

A. First, it would be best to identify what kind of insects these are if you haven't already. They actually may be Yellow Jackets, which tend to make hives in the sides of houses.

If a property owner suspects that a honey bee colony has entered the wall of a structure, he/she should attempt to confirm the insects are indeed honey bees. Other possible insects that might invade the wall of structures are carpenter bees, yellow jackets or European hornets. Honey bees vary in color from yellow to black, have black or brown bands across the abdomen and are much smaller than a carpenter bee. Honey bees are about 2/3 inch long and covered with hairs or setae. The foraging honey bees have pollen baskets on each hind leg, which will often be loaded with a ball of yellow or dark green pollen. The honey bee is the only stinging insect that can normally overwinter as a colony inside the wall of a structure.

The carpenter bee can be identified by having bright yellow, orange or white hairs on the thorax (chest region) and a black shiny abdomen on the dorsal side. Carpenter bees are robust, heavy-bodied bees that range from to 1 inch in length. These insects bore -inch diameter holes that appear to be perfectly round on exterior wooden surfaces.

Yellow jackets lack the dense body hairs that are found on carpenter bees and honey bees. Yellow jackets do not have the pollen baskets on the hind legs. The yellow jacket is about inch long, and the abdomen is characterized by having alternating yellow and black bands. European hornets are much larger (1.5 inches long) than honey bees and sometimes establish colonies inside structural walls.

Here's a link to a pesticide free way to get rid of them if they are Yellow Jackets:
http://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/spec/pick-yellowtrap.htm

If they are honey bees, I would recommend calling a local beekeeper or bee remval service and inquiring as to whether or not they will remove the bees and place them into a hive. If they won't, ask if they know of anyone who will.

Our Links page has a list of Bee Removal Experts for each state.

Also see our other two FAQs on bee removals.

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Article Id: 18 - Version: 5 - Created: 15-11-2005 - Last Updated: 13-09-2012 - Hits: 13023 
Keywords: bee removal,

Comments & Questions

Whitney
Saturday, 02 April 2011
MS Internet Explorer 7.0
I agree with Ted. I was hoping to learn about safely removing honey bees but instead got a discussion about flying insect identification.
Ted
Monday, 25 May 2009
Mozilla Firefox 3.0.6
Wasn't the question 'how to remove bees from the wall" not how to identify flying insects?

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