Bee & Honeycomb Removal from Inside Backyard Wooden Chest in Mesa, AZ

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 From Outdoor Wooden Chest

Bee Removal From Outdoor Wooden Chest in Mesa, AZ

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.

Honeycomb Removal from Wooden Chest in Mesa AZ

Honeycomb Removal from Wooden Chest in Mesa AZ


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.

Our Bee Removal Technician in Mesa AZ

Our Bee Removal Technician in Mesa AZ

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.

Fish pond bee removal

Bees at Fish Pond in Mesa, AZ

We were recently called to a home in Mesa, AZ where the owner reported a problem with bees at his fish pond. There were so many bees that he could not enjoy his backyard sanctuary without the worry of getting stung. It is a common problem for bees to gather near water sources, such as swimming pools, ponds, waterfalls and other water features. Here is the fish pond.

Bee Removal Mesa AZ

A customer in Mesa, AZ reported a problem with bees at his fish pond

Why Do Bees Gather Near a Water Source?

During the hot Summer months, particularly here in Mesa, Arizona and the surrounding area, we get a lot of calls about bees gathering water at swimming pools, waterfalls, fish ponds and other locations. Like most other living creatures, bees need water to survive. Bees use water to cool their hive and to hydrate. Bees also need water to raise brood (babies). To cool their hive, bees drink water at the water source, take it back to their hive, regurgitate the water, and spread it across the surface of their honeycomb. Other bees fan their wings causing the water to evaporate. This spreading and evaporation of water acts just like an evaporative cooler (aka swamp cooler) and helps the bees regulate the temperature of the hive at approximately 97 degrees Fahrenheit. Back to our story…

Upon arrival to the customer’s home, we observed a lot of bees gathering water around the edge of the backyard fish pond. We also noticed that there were fish in the pond. Specifically, they were Japanese Koi fish, which can cost a couple of hundred to a couple thousand dollars each if they are large. We have developed a proprietary method of keeping bees from most water sources if they are bothering people or pets. However, this method cannot be used near fish.

Locating the Bee Hive

The number of bees gathering water from the pond was so large that we suspected that a beehive may be located nearby. We searched for a beehive all around the pond and landscaping in the area. Eventually, we noticed a dried-up fountain (bird bath) located about 20 feet from the pond that had some bee activity around it. See the photograph below the see the fountain. Closer inspection revealed that bees were gathered near the lower portion of the fountain. It turned out that bees had nested in the pedestal of the fountain just below the lower water bowl.

Remove bees from water fountain

You can see bees gathering on the water fountain at a residence in Mesa, AZ

Bee Removal Options

Live Bee Removal

One way to remove the bees without killing them would be to disassemble the fountain and capture the bees in a vacuum. Saving the bees by performing a “live removal” is our specialty. Live removal would need to be completed between sunset and sunrise to prevent the bees from becoming agitated and potentially causing a bee-sting incident. Due to the size and weight of the fountain, disassembly would require two strong technicians. These factors elevated the cost above our customer’s desired budget; therefore, we were asked for a less expensive alternative.

Bee Extermination

In this situation, a less expensive alternative may be to exterminate the bees. This is not our first choice, but due to the circumstances it was considered due to the customer’s wishes. However, there was still one problem: fish in the pond. Virtually all pesticides are toxic to most fish species. It is highly likely that if we sprayed the bees at the fountain during the daylight hours, some pesticide-laced bees would fly away and fall into the pond as they died. If the fish saw these bees on the water surface, they would probably interpret them as a juicy snack and eat them. That could poison the fish. We didn’t want to risk poisoning the fish, so we proposed to exterminate the bees at night. Bees generally do not fly at night, so we would not have a problem with them flying away and dropping into the pond.

Did Our Customer Choose Live Bee Removal or Extermination?

Our customer agreed with our recommendation and price. So, we returned later that evening and exterminated the bees. Everything went per plan. Dying bees did not fly away, so there were no contaminated bees falling into the pond. Sad for the poor bees, but our customer was satisfied with the results. He got his sanctuary back from the bees who had taken over the area surrounding the pond. The fish were protected from pesticide. Problem solved….mostly. The honeycomb remaining inside the base of the fountain could be a source for re-infestation, but that was a risk our customer was willing to take to save money.

How to find the Bee Removal Solution that’s Right for You.

There are generally alternatives when bee removal is required. Finding the right alternative requires an experienced technician who has the support and supervision of master beekeepers who have over 20 years of experience keeping honey bees and removing honey bees; The Beekeeper Total Bee Control Inc. has the needed experience. If you have a similar problem or any other problem with bees or wasps and you live in Mesa, Arizona or a neighboring community, call The Beekeeper Total Bee Control and we will provide a free inspection and a written cost estimate.