How to get rid of Bees

bees anthophila how to get rid of

Bees are small, flying insects belonging to the order Hymenoptera, but can be grouped into as many as 20,000 known species and 7 recognised families. Although they are closely related to wasps and ants, they are not as dangerous as them, and are generally considered to be beneficial. Bees are recognised for the important role they play in flower pollination, as well as for their honey, beeswax, royal jelly and propolis production.
Still, bees are capable of stinging when they consider themselves to be in danger, and no person should place themselves in a situation where they are unavoidably exposed to bee stings, especially when allergic.

bees anthophila how to get rid of

How to correctly identify bees

As is the case with most infestations, the most important step in the process of dealing with it, is figuring out the exact pest that you are facing. In the case of bees, they can be quickly confused with wasps, hornets, yellow-jackets, and horseflies, which are much more dangerous stinging insects, that also look and behave almost as bees do. In case you do get stung, you will need to know what type of insect caused this, in order to be able to get the correct treatment. Also, for preventive and deterring measures, it is very important to know what are you dealing with, so that you can easily and properly apply the correct steps.
You will need to inspect the insects carefully, from a safe distance, especially if you know you are allergic to them. Keep in mind that a bee colony typically contains anywhere from 8,000 to 60,000 bees. Remember that bees tend to congregate around the nesting area at sunrise and sunset, when they leave from, and return to the hive, so it would be better to avoid these busy times. If you decide to inspect the colony at night, when the bees are the least active, you should use a red light instead of a bright light, seeing as a bright light only serves to irritate them and to threaten them. Even so, you should tread softly when close to a beehive as vibrations from heavy footfalls also bother them.

An important thing to keep in mind is that, if the insects have a brownish orange colour and have fuzzy-looking bodies, they are honeybees. These do not sting and are even less dangerous than other species of bees; so, unless they are very close to your house and are a particular nuisance, you might be even more inclined towards leaving them be, as they do help pollinate at least 80% of the crops we depend on for living.  Wasps can also be helpful as a pest control measure for a lot of other insects which are able to infest your crops, gardens and ornamental plants.
If you have noticed the presence of more bees than normal in your yard or garden, it is best to check and see if a new colony has appeared on your property. They usually nest in hollow trees, fences, under the eaves of houses, in attics, in the cracks of walls, in animal sheds, or in any other places that offer ample space for the growth of larvae and protects them from unwelcome weather. It is necessary to locate the bee nest, because its setting, on the outside or inside part of your house, will determine the measures that need to be taken for their removal.

Types of bee infestations

Knowing the type of infestation you are dealing with will help in determining the type of measures you need to take and also the speed with which you need to react to get rid of it. Keep in mind that when dealing with a bee nest, you will need to dress in bulky protective clothing in order to avoid being stung by them, when disturbing their nest. The only way to rid your home of bees is to remove the hive entirely. This precarious task requires the correct tools and strategy.
If you find an open-air cluster of honeybees or bumble bees, of approximately the size of a football, it means you are dealing with a swarm. This happens when the bees decide to create a new colony. Around half of the bees from the original nest usually take off in a swarm to look for a new place to start a home. As long as they do not have a home to protect, they will not be aggressive and they should be left alone, unless they are causing a threat. Bothering them at this stage will only cause them to defend themselves, so it is better to keep away from the swarm, as it might even decide to relocate on its own, if they do not find the right place to build their nest.
Should you be dealing with a bee hive, this might cause more problems than a swarm. A bee hive can cause concern for your outdoor or gardening activities, as the bees already have a home they will be prone to protect, if they sense danger. Seeing bees come in and out of a hallow cavity in a tree is a sign that you are dealing with an infestation. The hives of honeybees can be located in hollowed-out trees, logs or even fence posts, as well as inside beekeeping hive boxes. While it is rare for honey bees to build a hive inside a home, they have been known to do so in attics, walls or crawl spaces that were not secured. Worker bees are known to sting when provoked, and even though they die after this, as their stinger remains in their victim, it is not an action they avoid, especially when they feel the need to protect their queen. Dealing with bees that have entered your home must be a priority, as you need to make sure your home is safe, especially if you have allergic members of the family.

If dealing with carpenter bees, you can recognise these by the burrows they make into wood surfaces in order to build galleries in which they raise young bees. However, they do not eat the wood they’ve tunnelled through. This entry point to their burrows may be found in eaves, rafters and attics in addition to trees, telephone poles or fence posts. From that initial opening, they will create galleries (similar to short tunnels) in which to raise their young. The bees also hibernate in these galleries over the winter months. While they will not cause a lot of damage at first, as their numbers grow, carpenter bees excavate more nests in the structure. They also drop pollen around the entry hole as they carry it in to stock the egg chambers. This can lead to stains on the wood’s surface. While they may chase people, they rarely sting, as this can only be done by females, which only protect their hive if attacked.
The bumble bees can often be found in fields, woods or parks. They make honey with the pollen they collect, and use it during the winter months when other food is not available. However, people are not able to eat the honey produced by bumble bees. They build their hives at ground level, and they can be found in holes abandoned by small rodents, under sheds or in compost piles. They may also build hives in trees or birdhouses, but their hives are a lot smaller than those of the honey bees, having an average of 400 bees as opposed to 50,000. Both worker and queen bumble bees are able to sting, but they will only sting when attacked or provoked. Unlike the honey bee, a bumble bee can sting multiple times and will survive after stinging you.

Natural repellents and methods of removal

Depending on the type of bee and type of infestation, you will have to apply a particular removal method. Some natural ways of deterring bees are the following:

  • A mix of vinegar and water applied onto the nest. Do this at night when the bees are dormant and always use protective gear. Also, spray the solution on the areas that the bees are congregating such as flower beds, plants, and bushes, and repeat the action until you see no remaining activity.
  • A mix of soap detergent and water sprayed on the nest and other affected areas can have the same effect as the vinegar solution one. Again, keep in mind to wear protective gear at all times.
  • Mix peppermint oil or tea tree oil with unscented baby shampoo and spray surfaces around your home or garden as the smell and consistency will not allow bees to come near these areas.
  • Plant a few mint plants around your house or place them on your windowsill to keep bees away, as they do not like the small of this plant.
  • Spread cinnamon around a bee nest daily for at least a week, as the smell will naturally lead the bees to relocate on their own.
  • Put out shallow bowls of sugary water or fruit juice far away from your location, so that the bees are attracted away from your location.
  • Sprinkle powdered garlic generously around outdoor areas where bees have congregated as it will keep them away.
  • Burn citronella candles to create a masking odor that keeps bees away.
  • Make use of lavender oil, jojoba oil, citronella oil and tea tree oils. Mix them in sprays in order to repel carpenter bees.
  • Ground-nesting bees can be encouraged to move to another location by sprinkling water on their nests.
  • Hanging mothball inside a thin nylon close to the bee nest, as the smell will deter them away.

You can also choose to relocate the hive, if possible. This is easier if the hive is built on a tree and you are able to cut the section of the tree, and relocate the hive in a secluded location, away from your home. You can also use a smoker to fumigate the hive in order to calm the bees and make its relocation easier. If choosing this option, do it earlier in the year, as the number of bees is lower in that period. Make sure you use protective gear, as the bees will probably become aggravated by the sawing or chopping near their hive.
After managing to remove the bees from your property, make sure you will prevent any others from returning. Seal up the holes in the exterior walls of your home, remove any traces of honey or beeswax, as the sweet smell will attract not only other bees, but also different insects that will want to feed on it. When it comes to your garden, plant less fragrant flowers to avoid having bees attracted to that area. Also trim your trees in order to reduce the amount of flowers they produce if you want to keep bees at bay.

Bees scavenge for food, usually pollens. Honey bees, in fact, may travel several miles from the hive each day in search of food sources. While they primarily need pollens, bees are also attracted to sweet foods. This includes things like ice cream, soda, fruits and juice. One way to make sure they are not attracted near your home is to remove these food sources. This may mean taking out the trash more often, cleaning out trash cans regularly and minimising open food containers when you are outside. For carpenter bees, another option is ensuring that all outdoor wood surfaces are painted or treated. Carpenter bees prefer unpainted wood, and are less likely to burrow into other surfaces. For more details about preventive methods, you can visit our related article “Prevent infestation with bees”, and you will find more details about how to keep your home safe from bees of any kind.

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