An effective honeybee removal requires they be extracted from the structure with comb and honey and then the area secured. This will reduce the likelihood of attracting other insects like moths or mice that infest vacant comb as well as prevent re-infestation. At removal, the cavity is rendered uninhabitable to future colonies from the inside. Most often you are provided a written warranty against re-infestation in the exact same location. Exterior gaps are sealed with latex, paint-ready caulk. As a Beekeeper, I will relocate the colony and re-establish it to help preserve the population within the Kansas City Metro Area.
As due diligence, I will perform an inspection to verify you need a structural removal. An active colony on a warm sunny afternoon looks like a busy airport. Some bees return with visible pollen on their legs as they go back into their hive. Bees can be observed circling or hovering back and forth in front performing an orientation flight. You can visit the Success Videos section for pictures.
Most often your removal is performed and the structure sealed the same day. In some cases, it is necessary to let loose honeybees re-group. They are later removed as a group; requiring more than one trip. Jeffrey works out options and requirements for your specific case.
The advantage of a live bee removal is watching bees move through the cavity. This allows me to effectively identify and seal cavity openings. You will want to bee-proof your property to avoid any future infestations. For this process you can't go wrong applying University of Florida's recommendations: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/IN741.
Swarms are found hanging out on trees, fences, picnic tables and the side of structures. Swarms number between 10,000 and 16,000 honeybees on average. Dr. Chip Taylor of University of Kansas, says, "based on experience with thousands of Africanized Swarms in Central America, a swarm in the midwest will travel no more than a couple of miles from their original hive."
Honeybee swarms are generally not aggressive and do not sting unless provoked. One can actually reach their hand into the swarm and draw out honeybees in bunches so long as they do not feel trapped. Africanized or "killer bee" swarms behavior and anatomical appearance is indistinguishable from natives except when their body is viewed under a microscope.
Scout bees, which make up about 3-5% of the swarm, hunt for a location to form a permanent colony. They like a confined space about the size of a five-gallon bucket, with a minimally sized entrance. Swarms move to a permanent location within a few hours to a few days. In the wild, they will take up residence in a hollow tree.
In neighborhoods, they may take up residence in man-made structures. I often remove honeybees from a roofline overhang area or adjacent to a fireplace where it has pulled away from the house. A favorite entrance is behind a woodpecker hole in exterior siding where insulation is missing. They scout for a one-eighth inch or larger opening where caulk is split and they can easily slip through.
Honeybees can be captured and relocated when they are within reach. Swarms can be slid into a 5-gallon bucket while leaving a few stragglers to disperse over 24 to 48 hours. Sometimes it is not desired to leave confused stragglers at the location because they buzz around and scare people (unnecessarily, of course). However, taking bees in a bucket is the fastest method because it requires only one trip.
It is effective to shake and leave bees in a commercial beehive until nightfall to gather up bees. Honeybees almost always take up abode, and move completely within it after dark. The hive is removed and relocated outside of daylight hours.
In some circumstances, a honeybee vacuum is used to draw bees into a netted box where they can be easily placed into a commercial beehive. Using a honeybee vacuum is not 100% effective because it leaves a few stragglers flying around. Sometimes vacuuming is necessary when honeybees must be removed immediately from a highly populated area. For example, I removed bees from a tree in an outside beer garden in Westport using this method-- finishing in plenty of time for their nightly patrons to arrive.
Once honey bees settle into a structure or tree, it is not easy to remove them. The sooner you call the better! Swarms are normally quiet friendly but can turn on you and sting you if you try to kill them. In most cases, the on-surface swarm removal is free. I may charge a small trip fee to help cover expenses and make it possible to use a $3M liability insurance policy to cover any accident that so far has never happened.
See swarm catch pictures here.
First, let's keep in perspective that many urban cities allow backyard beekeeping. City Councils have legally acknowledged that a managed bee hive presents no danger to nearby residents. Consequently, there is precedence for leaving honey bees in trees without any threat.
Having a colony in your tree will keep out other insects and animals like raccoons. The colony will pollinate your garden. You will have the great feelings that go along with doing your part to keep our important honeybees going strong!
I have seen honey bees living in rather inconvenient locations. For example, a hive could have a flight path right next to a public sidewalk at walking level. This might be rather difficult to justify leaving. So we need options to relocate.
What can be done to relocate honey bees inside the tree? A beekeeper does what is called a trap out. To trap out a colony, all entrances are closed except one. A screen cone is fashioned over the single remaining entrance that will permit the exit but not a return entry of the bees to their old home. This cone can be made of wire screening that extends 12-18 inches outward, narrowing from several inches in diameter to an outer opening of 3/8ths inch.
A dummy beehive is supplied with foundation or preferably a hive with one or more drawn combs adjacent to the screen cone opening. The hive is held in place by a temporary scaffolding or affixed to the tree. As the foraging bees exit their nest they will be unable to return to their home and most will adopt the substitute hive. After two or three days of trapping a caged queen is placed in the dummy hive in her cage. She is released by the beekeeper or the bees are allowed to release her after several more days so the substitute hive may function as a normal hive.
In between 2 and 6 weeks, the substitute hive will be a normal functioning colony and it can be removed from its temporary position. Most of the bees from the original nest will have been trapped with this arrangement and will have become inhabitants of the new hive.
Honey bees send scouts out to guide their swarm into a permanent residence and start building comb, raising brood, and storing nectar. They like a confined space about the size of a five gallon bucket (40 liters), with a minimally sized entrance of two square inches in diameter and at least six feet up.
In the wild, bees will take up residence in a hollow tree. In neighborhoods, they may take up residence in man-made structures. They may begin looking for place in your attic or walls. The are looking where caulk is split or the wall or ceiling have a gap they can slip through.
Honeybees swarm to propagate themselves and form a new colony. In swarming, approximately half of an established colony departs with the original queen to form a new colony. Remaining honeybees raise a new queen and continue their original colony.
The swarm in transition may 'hang out' together and are about the size of a volleyball or football depending on their numbers. Often you will find swarms hanging in trees or on fences, picnic tables and even the sides of homes. Scout bees hunt for a location to move into and form a permanent colony. Swarms usually move to a permanent location within a few hours to a few days of swarming. Although they appear ominous, swarms are not usually dangerous and will not usually sting unless they have been without food for a while.
Professor Thomas Seeley explains his research on how bees choose their new home in an absolutely spellbinding ground breaking research presentation.
A fruit grower last month became concerned about abnormally aggressive behavior of a hive.
Officials say this is the farthest north that Africanized honey bees have been reported. Health officials say they once believed Africanized honey bees could not survive harsh winters, but these bees survived this past winter.
The Mesa County Health Department says the bees were sent for testing and once the tests came back, the hive was destroyed.
Africanized honey bees can be a threat to humans and animals when they are present in large numbers, and they can kill humans who suffer multiple stings.
Africanized honey bees are similar to the more familiar European honey bees, and the test requires measurements of wing and leg segments.
(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)
(CNN) — A Texas man died after a swarm of Africanized bees disturbed by his tractor attacked, stinging him more than 1,000 times Saturday.
The bees were living inside an old chicken coop that Larry Goodwin, 62, was pushing over to clear off his Moody, Texas, property, neighbor John Puckett told CNN affiliate KCEN-TV.
“He lifted the whole hive and disturbed them all and they just came swarming out of there and trapped him on his tractor,” Puckett said.
His daughter and neighbors rushed to help, but they said there was nothing they could do to save Goodwin.
“When we got to him, he was purple, he had thousands and thousands of bee stings on his face and arms,” Tanya Goodwin said.
Puckett said his wife and daughter were stung 100 times. “I came pretty close to losing my family,” Puckett said.
Allen Miller, whose company Bees Be Gone removed the hive after the attack, said he’s seen more Africanized bee hives in the past few weeks than he normally sees in a year.
“If anybody has any brush or anything on their lands, please clear it, because they don’t want to go through this,” Tanya Goodwin said. “Nobody needs to go through this.”
Africanized honey bees, known colloquially as “killer bees,” are believed to have entered Texas in 1990 and have since spread to at least 10 other states, from California to Florida.
Africanized honey bees, which are hybrids of African and European bees, can be highly defensive around their nests and swarm more frequently than other honey bees, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The venom carried by honey bees has similar potency.
Photo Caption: Larry Goodwin, 62, died from a swarm of Africanized bees on Sunday. Goodwin was consolidating a brush pile on a neighbor’s property when he upset a killer bee hive living in an old chicken coop.
Photo Courtesy: KCEN
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