We recently received a phone call from a homeowner in Mesa, AZ. She reported a problem with bees around an old wooden chest in the backyard. She had noticed bee activity around the chest for several months, but they were not bothering her or her dog. Eventually, as the months passed, she noticed more and more bees coming and going, but still, they were not bothering anyone. She preferred to leave the bees alone due the reported shortage of bees she heard about in the news. Finally, in November, her husband was running a weed whacker near the bees and they stung him twice and he had to run indoors to avoid additional bee stings.
Bee Removal Options
Live Bee Removal
The customer and her husband discussed it and decided that the bees needed to be removed for the safety of themselves, their dog, and their neighbors. They called several pest control and bee removal companies and inquired about saving the bees. But most of the companies only exterminate the bees. When she called the Beekeeper Total Bee Control Inc., we told her that we could perform a live removal in many circumstances. This generally includes those instances when the bees are fully exposed or when they can be exposed by opening their hiding spot.
When we arrived at her home, we carefully inspected the beehive location and the neighboring back yards. After careful consideration, we informed the customer that “live removal” was a good option for this location. Our decision was based on the following factors: the bees were not behaving aggressively, there were no pets or people in the backyards of adjacent homes, and the lid of the wooden chest was hinged allowing it to be opened fully exposing the bees and honeycomb.
After getting approval from the customer, we set up our live removal equipment and began the process of capturing the bees. We then carefully opened the chest lid and proceeded to capture the bees using a specially made bee vacuum. Within about 30 minutes we had captured the bees and their queen. We carefully removed all traces of honeycomb to prevent re-infestation. The captured bees were relocated to our bee farm located in Mesa, AZ. Our customer was very grateful that the bees could be saved for a reasonable cost.
In some instances, live bee removal costs more than extermination. This is because live bee removal requires more training, equipment, and time on the job than extermination. The cost for this job was $225 because honeycomb was present thereby requiring more time to remove all traces of honeycomb. If honeycomb had not been present, the cost would have been approximately $195.
Bee extermination is sometimes the only safe method to remove bees. Remember, all honey bees in Mesa and the surrounding cities are Africanized. In some situations, the bees are agitated and will sting any living thing that comes near them. We have arrived at many emergency calls and the bees were stinging anything that moved 100 yards from their beehive. In these instances, the bees must be destroyed for the health and safety of people and pets. In other situations where the bees have made their nest inside a wall or other structure, live removal may not be possible; the act of cutting open the wall or other location can often cause the bees to attack in large numbers. It is not possible to know how the bees will react in every situation. Therefore, our highly trained technicians must carefully evaluate the situation and make one or more recommendations to the customer based on the facts and our informed opinion of the safety or lack thereof. In some circumstances, where a live removal is mandatory, it can be performed at night rather than during the day; additional charges may apply for night work.
Why do Bees Swarm?
When bees become crowded in their existing home they make a second queen so the hive can divide in half and relieve crowding. Each half of the hive keeps one queen. This also serves as the bee’s method of species survival. The bees that fly off with one of the two queens is called a “swarm.” This new swarm must quickly find a new home so they can begin to build new comb, store food, and raise baby bees. They sometimes chose a home on a tree branch, inside a wall, or in any other cavity that provides protection. In this case they chose an empty wooden chest.