Bee Swarms and bee removals
It is now the start of bee swarming season. I am going to talk about swarms, bees which have moved into your home or structure, what to do, and what not to do when you see bees.
First, let's talk about swarms. Bees swarm for a few reasons. Bees will swarm to replace an aging queen. Bees will swarm when they run out of room where the hive exists due to their own population growth. Swarming is how bees manage populations as well as protect their future existence.
What NOT to do
Do not spray bees with soap and water, or anything else. Why? This is dangerous. You only see a few bees, maybe even a few hundred, or few thousand. The problem with bees is what you cannot see; thousands upon thousands of bees live in a hive. This can easily turn into a bad trip to the hospital.
When you a see a swarm on a tree, or hanging on the outside of a structure, social media self proclaimed experts will tell you repeatedly "The bees are just resting. Leave them alone. They will move on." This is really expensive, bad advice to follow. So now the why... Why is this such terrible and expensive advice? Yes, the bees will go away. They are actively searching for a new home to build out their next hive. The number one place I remove bees from is from INSIDE the soffit, eave areas of a house. Yes, your house. What is the average cost of a bee removal from a structure? Bee removals range from $700 to several thousand dollars. The variables can be the size of the hive, is the hive inside of stone, brick, sheetrock, underneath something, what is the access ease or difficulty, and more.
Do not simply leave a swarm to go away on it's own. This swarm is going to move into a structure nearby to build out the hive.
Do not attempt to spray bees or a hive with poison. Again, you see a few thousand bees, Think about how many you do not see. This is dangerous and foolish. Much like spraying with a water hose, or soapy water, this can easily turn into a terrible trip to the hospital.
Do not call an exterminator. Why? Well, the exterminator is going to tell you to call in a bee keeper for the swarm capture, or bee removal. The exterminators know all of the above. We work with and are referred by several reputable exterminators for bees. It happens over and over.
Bees are typically calm by nature. They do not care about you, or your activities as long as it does not threaten the hive. In some cases, there are what we keepers refer to as "a hot hive". These are mad bees for either genetic reasons, or some other influence. The problem with "a hot hive" is you do not know until you are too close, too late, and in trouble with the bees.
WHAT TO DO
When you notice bees entering and exiting a structure, call a local keeper. This is NOT free. Bee removal is a skilled, paid service with tools, equipment, time, and experience involved, much like calling a plumber or appliance repair service.
When you see a swarm hanging on a tree, car, wall, or home, same thing. Call a local keeper and pay to have them removed. Paying a couple of hundred bucks to have a swarm professionally removed will spare you a real and unnecessary expense of a bee removal once the bees have moved inside your home and started to build out their hive.
Now is the time to call an exterminator in, after the bees have been successfully removed and relocated.
Bees have moved inside you home? Here is what to expect. We use a thermal reading device to show the heat signature, size, and exact location of the hive. This tells us where to open up your home precisely, to cause the least amount of damage, repairs, and expense. An armateur will not have a thermal reader. This work will be done by trail and error, and hoping to find the right spot on the first guess.
Once the bees have been successfully removed, a small repair to the materials cut out for access, caulk, and touch up paint are all that is necessary.
The best preventive for bees is not an exterminator, but to have the exterior of your home caulked and sealed annually. Texas weather extremes really do a number on caulking. It can create gaps and holes. Bees only need a bee-sized hole to move inside. The exterminators give the very same recommendations.