How to Remove Beehives Safely

Wasp nest on house, eviction notice attached

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How (Professionals) Remove Beehives

Wondering how to remove beehives or get rid of bees? Well, these insects get special treatment, as they are deemed the most beneficial insect of all! Major crop industries like almonds and apples depend on honey bees to pollinate the crops that you buy from the grocery store. Bee “salvaging” is a popular practice of relocating bees on your back doorstep for use in agriculture.

There are many “free” bee removal services out there, but we will go into why this is not a good idea. Keep reading to learn how to remove beehives and what precautions you need to take. 

Did you know?

A mature honey bee colony can range in population size of 20,000 to 100,000 bees depending on the season. The colony population will peak from late spring to summer and reach a low point in winter.

Beehive Removal: Step-by-Step Guide

Information provided by the Clemson University School of Agriculture

WARNING: Honey bee removal should ONLY be conducted by a trained professional. Bee stings can be potentially fatal, and can be dangerous even for experienced bee handlers. 

Step 1 – Identification

Trained beekeepers or pest control professionals will assess the hive and determine what species it is and come up with the best case of action. Depending on the maturity of the hive and how accessible it is, there are a few different treatment options.

Want to get a head start? Read our article explaining the difference between bees, wasps, and yellow jackets here

Step 2 – Collection

Ideally, the beekeeper or pest control professional will collect or “salvage” the honey bees for use in a bee mill or farm. Because bees are uniquely valuable for their pollination capabilities, extermination should be a last resort!

Professional bee handlers use a bait trap to “coax the bee colony out of the hive into a box hive.” From there, the bees are safely relocated to a bee mill, farm, or sanctuary.

Step 3 – Prevention

Just because the bees are gone, does not mean the job is over. A ghost hive can invite new colonies to easily set up shop, or even other pests to come in and take over. The scent of the comb and honey will act like a beacon to new bee colonies, ants, and even rodents. Furthermore, the site of the hive might be prime real estate for bee colonies, so any holes or cracks that allowed the infestation must be repaired.

In order to properly wipe the slate clean, neutralization is necessary to keep pests away from the site down the road.

Neutralization involves the complete physical removal of all bees (dead or alive), comb, and honey from the wall following extermination to prevent future infestations.

A proper washdown of the cavity with soapy water is necessary to remove any odors remaining of the previous colony. We recommend leaving the cavity open for a couple weeks to dry and dissipate the remaining scent. Finally, “Filling the void prior to wall closure with spray foam insulation or fiberglass batting will prevent the space from re-colonization.”

Tip: This is why we do not recommend “free” beehive removal. In most cases, property owners are left with ghost hives prone to future infestations. This is great for a beekeeper looking for free bees every season, but not a homeowner or property manager that requires a permanent solution. Only a trained exterminator will provide you with ongoing pest management and monitoring to ensure the cavity stays insect-free. Read more about A1 Exterminators Bee, Wasp & Stinging Insect Removal Services here.

How to Remove Beehives within Walls

When colonies form inside the walls, it’s especially difficult to fully remove the hive and prevent future infestations and damage. Imagine a hive that’s found a hole in a brick wall, and set up a well-protected hive on the other side. In hard-to-reach places, it may not be practical to salvage the bees – and a careful treatment plan must be developed to prevent future infestations & structural damage.  

The honey bee colony should be salvaged alive if possible, but sometimes this is not practical.

If it’s only been a day or so, they can be treated by injecting a pesticide by a trained exterminator into the cavity. Once the bees have “set up housekeeping for more than a few days”, however, the job becomes more difficult… 

Sometimes, much comb (beeswax), brood, and honey are stored in the wall of a structure. Simply injecting a pesticide in the wall to kill the bees and leaving is risky. The comb will attract wax moths and mice for nesting sites. The honey will attract ants and other insects and may ooze through the wall or ceiling when the comb melts during hot weather causing extensive damage.

Tip: “Removal of established bee colonies from structure walls can be made more pleasant by scheduling the job during the time of year when bee populations are low, a minimum of stored honey is present and the bees are less defensive.”

These types of hard-to-reach infestations must be neutralized properly with oversight from a trained exterminator. “Free” bee removal from local beekeepers will not assist you in ongoing pest prevention. The ghost hive will attract new colonies, if not other invasive pests, and damage your walls from the inside out.

Beehive Removal: What Not To Do

Remember, beehive removal should only be conducted by a trained professional. It is a dangerous procedure and mishandling bees can end up killing the valuable colony you wish to salvage or presenting a danger to those nearby.

Internet research and protective clothing won’t be enough to get the job done.

Some Definite Do-Nots though, are: 

  • Do not use diatomaceous earth.
  • Do not seal the exit hole of a bee hive.
  • Do not spray chemicals yourself.
  • Do not pour boiling water directly into a hive.
  • Do not cover a hive with a tarp and weigh it down to starve bees.

Professional Bee Removal with A1 Exterminators

“Free” beehive removal services will leave you with a ghost hive, and an unneutralized cavity, leading to infestations of even nastier pests like wasps and rodents.

A1 Exterminators provides proper identification, removal, and neutralization of hives equipping you with ongoing pest management.

A1 Exterminators will salvage the bees, if possible, by ethically collecting the bees and transporting them to a new home. When salvaging is not possible, however, A1 Exterminators will properly neutralize the hive and prevent future infestations and structural damage. 

Learn more about A1 Bee Hive Removal here.

Ready to get pest free? Contact us here.

Massive 100,000+ bee colony formed in Boston

Watch: Massive Beehive Removal in Boston!