Home & Hive

Live honeybee colony and swarm removal

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Why are honeybees so important?

Honey bees are an integral part of our ecosystem. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture these under-appreciated workers pollinate 80% of our flowering crops, which constitutes 1/3 of everything we eat. This is one of the reasons why we offer several effective ways to remove honey bee colonies from your home without harming the bees.

What is the difference between Africanised honey bees and other bees? 

The most notable difference between the Africanised honey bees and other bees is their increased aggressiveness. When a typical honey bee hive is disturbed they will send out a few bees to defend against possible intruders; Africanised hives will send out hundreds of bees which will defend a much greater area around the hive. 

What causes bees to look for a new home?

When honey bees reproduce in the spring, they can quickly become over crowded. This activates a natural event called swarming where about one half of the bees in a colony will leave with the old queen to search for a new home. The old queen will fly for a short distance and then land. The other bees will cluster around here forming a large mass called a swarm. Scout bees will leave the swarm and search out a cavity to form a new hive. 

Why did bees choose my home?

When looking for a new home bees prefer a hollow cavity which will protect them from the elements. This new cavity could be in a tree, an old barrel, a cavity in a wall in your home with an opening at least 1/4 inch. If the cavity in your wall had bees before and the opening was not sealed properly, the odor of the wax comb my attract them to that location. 

I have a beehive on the outside of my home not in a cavity. Why is this? 

The winters in Texas are not as cold as they once were. Bees are now able to occasionally survive the winter even if their hive is exposed by clustering together between the pieces of comb and vibrating to generate heat. 

Will the Bees cause any damage to my home?

NO. Honeybees will do not structural damage to a building. Unlike other pests, such as termites or carpenter bees, honeybees do not chew or eat wood. 

Can I just close their entrance kill the hive since they won't be able to get out?

If the entrance hole is plugged, the bees will look for another exit. They may find another crack or opening or they could follow light and enter your living quarters instead through gaps in baseboards, electrical outlets, recessed lights,  or vents. 

Why isn't simply spraying the hive enough to take care of the problem?

A honeybee colony within a wall can be killed with an insecticide by the homeowner or a licensed pest control operator. However, if the bees have been in the wall for more than a few days, wax combs and honey may already be stored within the wall. The longer the colony has been there, the greater is the liklihood that large amounts of comb and honey have accumulated. The remaining honey and wax will either attract another swarm of bees or eventually ferment and run down the wall or ceiling. Large quantities of decaying bees may also attract carpet beetles which could, in turn, attack natural fiber materials (e.g., wood, fur, or silk) within the house. 

Is it possible to tell the difference between Africanised honey bees and European bees just by looking at them?

No. The best way to tell the difference is through laboratory testing. You can also find more information about Africanised honeybees and what to do if you are attacked by clicking here.

What is a swarm of bees?

A swarm is merely a honey bee colony in search of a nesting site. Each spring a beehive who has grown too large will raise one or more new queens. The old queen will then leave with a portion of the bees. This swarm of bees will usually land on a tree or side of a building while scouts search for a place to build their hive. Swarming bees are not normally aggressive, but unless you are an experienced beekeeper it is best to avoid getting too close to swarming bees.

How long does a honeybee live?

The life span of honey bees varies, depending on the role of an individual bee within the colony.  All being well, a honey bee queen could live for 3 to 4 years, as long as she is free from disease. Workers raised during the spring or summer months may live for 6 or 7 weeks.   Their lives are especially busy, with lots of hungry larvae to feed, and honeycomb to be produced.   This is when the colony is at its most productive, with workers busy collecting nectar and pollen for feeding the colony.   At the most, drones may live for up to 4 months.

How many eggs can a queen bee lay in her lifetime?

The Queen Bee can lay approximately 1,000 to 1,500 eggs a day.

How many bees are in a typical honey bee hive?

Between 20,000 and 60,000 bees live in a single hive. 

How do honeybees communicate with each other?

Honeybees communicate through a series of dances done by foraging worker bees who return to the hive with news of nectar, pollen, or water. The worker bees dance on the comb using precise patterns. Depending upon the style of dance, a variety of information is shared with the honey bees’ sisters. They’re able to obtain remarkably accurate information about the location and type of food the foraging bees have discovered.

How is honey made?

Honeybees use nectar to make honey. Nectar is almost 80% water with some complex sugars. In North America, bees get nectar from flowers like clovers, dandelions, berry bushes and fruit tree blossoms. They use their long, tube-like tongues like straws to suck the nectar out of the flowers and they store it in their "honey stomachs". Bees actually have two stomachs, their honey stomach which they use like a nectar backpack and their regular stomach. Honeybees must visit between 100 and 1500 flowers in order to fill their honeystomachs.

The honeybees return to the hive and pass the nectar onto other worker bees. These bees "chew" the nectar for about half an hour. During this time, enzymes are breaking the complex sugars in the nectar into simple sugars so that it is both more digestible for the bees and less likely to be attacked by bacteria while it is stored within the hive. The bees then spread the nectar throughout the honeycombs where water evaporates from it, making it a thicker syrup. The bees make the nectar dry even faster by fanning it with their wings. Once the honey is gooey enough, the bees seal off the cell of the honeycomb with a plug of wax. The honey is stored until it is eaten. In one year, a colony of bees eats between 120 and 200 pounds of honey.