I.D.Your Bees

Before you kill those Honey bees

4 things you should know

  1. Know your bees.
  2. Where they are
  3. How long they have been there?
  4. Know your options: how to get rid of them

The warm months bring the flowers and the air is filled with busy bees doing their job of gathering nectar. Bees outgrow their space , grow new queens, and the new queen will split the hive take to the air in something called a swarm. It Is not uncommon to find huge swarm of bees on a tree branch or the side of a house even a car. The queen might just be resting and left alone the swarm might fly away on its own, but it also might find its way into the walls of your house..Many people are understandably freaked out by bees especially if your allergic to stings and the first person they call is the Pest Control service to have them sprayed. But with honey bees disappearing all over the planet at alarming rates putting our 1/3 of our food source at risk, and the with the populations of African Killers bees on the rise these are the four things you need to know before you kill those bees.

Identify what you have (see photos and info below) To some inexperienced eyes everything that flies with a stinger is a “bee” Knowing what you have buzzing around is the first step to deciding what to do about your problem.. There are a number of good web sites that can help you identify what you have. .Wasps, Yellow Jackets and Bumble bees generally do not make big nests, or travel in large swarms and can easily be identified. Honey Bees and Afincanized bees have large colonies and can fill large cavities in the walls, attics, and floors with honeycomb and honey. The prospect of having a large, aggressive Africanized colony of bees in your walls can be a bit scary, but a little knowlage can calm your fears and what if they are friendly bees? The first thing to do is to I.D. you bees. (Scroll down for more pics and info on bees and wasps)

Where are they and how long have they been there. One of the first questions a professional bee remover is going to ask you is where do you think the bees are located? You may only see dead bees below the porch light, or you might see them in pile up in the light fixture and wonder where they are coming from? But most times people will see the bees coming in and out of a hole in the wall left by a sloppy electrician, or a crack in the trim to a roof sofit. .. What is the wall or building made of; concrete block, dry wall, wood siding? This will determine what the cost will be for your bee removal. Please note when the bees enter a hole inside the cavity of the block wall or up between the studs in the wall, they fly up to the very highest portion of the space and its there that they begin building their comb. They will fill the space no matter how big it is, its only a matter of time and “how long have they been there” is the obviously the next question. The longer the bees have been in your wall the more of a bee problem you will have. Once they fill the space with honey comb they will then move onto another available space if there is access. It may be to the next spot in the wall, another hollow spot iand maybe into the ceiling or between the floor joists.. The older the hive the more comb there will be, and that means more of the structure that has to be removed to get at the honey comb. . And this is a very important point. Removal of the honey comb is very important if you want to solve not only this bee problem but future bee problems as well, as you know, “bees love honey” There can be 20 pounds of honey in the walls of an established hive. and all manner of pests are attracted to that honey including other honey bees that can smell it and are drawn to it..

Know your options If it is determined that you have bees in your walls or somewhere in a structure on your property ( water meter, valve box, old shed, dog house, etc..)there are only three options to resolve your bee problem.Plug the holes, Exterminate the bees or Remove the colony Plugging holes does not work. Bees get trapped and will look for another way in or out and just they may end up in your house. If you do manage to block all entrances, there is still the issue of the honeycomb in the walls. Plugged holes, with dead bees will cause the honey to heat up and melt and the mess in the walls will grow into a deeper problem of stains and rotting or worse yet a return of a bees the next season.who are attracted to the honey. Call an exterminator to kill the bees. Frankly exterminators don’t want to mess around with Honey Bees and only about 50% will come out on a call to kill them. Honey Bees are protected in some states and in others there are restrictions to when and where you can spray them.. Exterminators generally do not remove honey or honey comb and even when they do spray they are often not successful to kill all the bees because the nature of the honey comb blocks the walls and then the remaining hive members regroup and continue to grow. Remove the colony The last and most effective way of handling a honey bee problem is to hire someone to remove the colony. Preferably finding someone skilled in Live bee removal will achieve success on a number of levels. Previouisly mentioned, live bee removal includes the removal of the honey comb. The beekeeper removes the comb filled with honey and larva and inserts it into the frames of a bee hive box. that will be the new colony home. He will then scoop up the remaining bees or vacuum them up in a special bee vacuum. The bees will then be relocated in the care of a beekeeper. Even African bees can be cared for. Though some counties and beekeeping associations across the US recommend killing Africanized hives, others like myself do not agree with the policy. There are different levels of hybridization of the African/European honey bees . Some are just a “moody” version of the regular homey bee, others are more aggressive. But try as they may contolling them s a loosing battle and the African bee will dominate in the end, at least in the warmer regions, which is their geographical limitations.. Like any wild animal, they can be tamed via breeding and the are viogorous honey producers that are resistant to diseases. Some of us are willing to work with African killer bees and so we hive them and re-home them.. Bee removal speicailist are most often skilled in handy work and can remove and re-install structures after the bee removal is complete. If you are handy yourself or have a family member who can handle tools then you can save money by just paying a professional bee remover to do the “cut out” and remove the colony, and the honey comb., You can button things up when he is done.
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Identify your bees Honey Bees Honeybees range from ½” to ¾” in size. You might see a few of them coming in and out of a hole in your wall or if you came home to a big beared looking thing on the tree, crawly with bees, that’s honey bees , a swarm of them who have just left a crowed hive to find a new home.

Steven-Behncke

Swarm

can be 4000 to 6000 in number and established hives can range 10k to 50 honey bees. Its a ball of bees looking for a home. Believe it or not when bees are swarming they are least likely to sting your because most of the stinging reaction has to do with defending a colony. A swarm has no colony (no home) and therefore, nothing to defend. The may indeed have fed chosen the location where you found them or they may just resting.




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Honeybees

​ live year round . They have a barb-like stinger, and can only sting you once, then they die.




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Africanized Honeybees (AHB)

Africanized Honeybees (AHB) You cant hardly tell the difference between Africanized honey bees and regular European varieties. Until you approach them that is. They can be very agreessive when it comes to protecting their hive and are provoked by loud vibrations and noises. They are a little less logical when choosing where to live and you will find their hives in odd places.




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Bumble Bees

You are most likely to find no more than 15 to 100 bumble bees in a nest in the ground, or outbuildings. Unlike the Honey bee , Bumble bees are seasonal, only the queen survives the winter to start her colony all over again. Bumble bees are good pollinators whose populations are in decline. Please do whatever you can to save Bumblebees!




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Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are about an inch long and can be mistaken for Bumblebees except that.Carpenter bees have less hair and are shiny. The males are black and the females tan, and only the females can sting. They live a solo existence, make holes the size of a dime in the wood structures around your house or other places. The way they flyer is jerky, like a hummingbird flight pattern.




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Stingless Bees

Stingless bee species are being considered as an options for pollination with the decline of honeybees, Stingless bees defend themselves by biting, they nest in tree trunks, ground cavities.and branches.




Wasps

​Wasps are a benefit to the environment. Wasps species organically control pest in gardens, farms, and crops. There are two types of wasps, solitary and social wasps.
Social wasp species live in larger numbers. Wasp nests are abandoned in the fall; the queens leave too and over-winter until spring. Wasps eat meat and sweets. Wasps can be meaner than bees,be careful and its best to work with them at night or very early in the morning.

Below are pictures and information on common wasps



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Yellow Jackets

Often mistaken for honeybees, yellow jackets are a bit smaller in size, and are also brighter yellow as to the more orange color of honeybees. Yellow jackets may have a rapid side to side flight pattern prior to landing. They are scavengers eating meats and sweets and often found in parks or disrupting parties, picnics or other park events. Yellow jackets are sometimes called meat wasps, meat bees, or hornets. They have a stinger without barbs and can sting repeatedly without dying. Yellow jacket stings most often cause a swelling reaction followed by itching for a couple days. They are very aggressive defenders and are generally found nesting in holes in the ground; though occasionally nest in wall voids and attics. Seasonally, yellow jacket colony’s reach a size of 4,000 and 5,000 workers and a nest of 10,000 and 15,000 cells in August and early September. Like all wasps, yellow jackets abandoned their nest by late autumn. It’s generally considered unwise to try to remove a yellow jackets nest yourself. Occasionally yellow jackets can end up in the house in large numbers. This is usually preceded by a slow growing wet spot on the ceiling, caused from liquid dripping from the established nest onto the drywall day after day. Every so often, a curious homeowner will poke or push their finger right through the deteriorated ceiling and end up with an unfortunate surprise. Yellow jackets attached to the house will not survive through winter. However, the queens abandon the nest and will hibernate until early spring, with 95% of them hibernating in attics. If you have yellow jackets in your attic, one thing you can do to discourage them returning next year is to put up some chemical cards labeled for yellowjackets like “hot shot,” perhaps one to every 3 studs / bays. Yellow jacks tend to choose either the eave or the foundation of the house, and occasionally where the chimney and the wall meet.




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Hornets

Hornets are about 2 inches long. They may look similar to yellow jackets except they are larger and thicker, they can be yellow and black, but there are also white and black hornets. Less aggressive than yellow jackets and like most wasps, hornets can sting multiple times with a very painful sting. Hornets build warped shaped nests the size of a soccer ball in eaves, attics, and in buildings, and you will find them in trees, bushes. .Only remove hornets nests if you have experience Social insects with about 700 per nest. Found in the north east.




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Paper Wasps

Paper wasps average in size from 3/4″ to 1 1/2″ long and have social colonies. They are yellow and black..and are found in the West and South east regions. Paper wasp nests contain only about 4 to 30 wasps per nest (unlike hornets which are the same size but build much larger hives) Paper wasps attack when aggravated and their stings are painful, they also can sting multiple times and do not loose there stinger. When a nest is living in the attic and there is light entering the attic from a ceiling fixture, wall or vent you will find paper wasps in the house because they follow the light..




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Mud wasps ​

There are 3 types of Mud wasps; mud daubers, potter wasps, and pollen wasps. They construct their homes from mud or clay.
Mud wasps nest in the ground and on walls of homes. They are solitary wasps and vary from 1/2 inch to 1 inch in size with small nests.
Mud Daubers : You will find Mud daubers hard mud nests attached to the eaves, porches, and walls which they abandon in the in the fall. They are not super defensive of their nest and seldom sting. They have the skinny, thread-like waists.




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Potter Wasp

Potter was build “pot shaped” nests, and are sometimes known as “mason wasps” Their nests are the size of a small avocado.There are tons of varieties of Potter wasps and they are about an inch long. The generally are solitary in their behavior.




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Pollen Wasp

Pollen wasps are ¾ of and inch and look like yellow jackets except for their large clubbed antennas. Pollen wasps get their name from the fact that like solitary bees, they feed their young entirely on nectar and pollen.. Rocks or crevices low to the earth is where you will find Pollen wasps.in burrows constructed of mud.