Sometimes bees in search of a new place for the colony ends up finding a place in your home. Bees usually nest inside the walls, ceiling or floor. The problem is that you are not willing to share your space with them and you have to find a way to remove unwanted guests from your home.
One of my friends had that problem and asked me if I could help them with removing the hive from his homes. I am not that experienced beekeeper but I love bees so I had to find a way to help them remove the hive without killing them so I did my research.
So how to remove bees from your home?
Here are the steps and suggested methods on how to naturally remove bees from your home:
A) Locate the hive
B) Identify if you have a problem with bees or some other pest (wasps, yellow jackets, hornets)
C) Contact the local bee-keeper (or pest control for other pests)
D) Choose the best time for removal (in case you want DIY)
E) Decide what of suggested methods for natural removal you will apply (DIY)
- Smoking the bees out
- Hang or Place Mothballs
- Relocating bees by luring to new location
- Incense (for indoor use)
- Plant bee repelling plants in your garden
F) Dress protective clothes
H) Remove empty hive
Locate the Hive
Signs for infestations are large number off bees in your garden, dead bees on the windowpane or close to doors. When dealing with bees in your home first you have to locate the hive/ colony. I have researched all the usual places you can find them and here is what I found. Usual places are exterior or concrete block walls, sheds, water, and electric meters, roofs and attics, gutters and drains, trees, debris, mailboxes, recycle bins, flower pots, trash cans, sheds.
Buzzing noise will attract your attraction and it can lead you to the hive. If you hear noise from the walls tap it with the hammer or similar tool and you will get buzzing response from the hive. In this case, you will be able to pinpoint the exact location. In case the hive is on the outside visually check the entire house especially roof joints or gutters or simply walk around the garden and check all usual places listed above. In case you suspect that bees are in the roof/attic you can take some time to observe the house from outside and you will notice the pattern of flight that will lead you to the entrance to the hive.
Identify if you have a problem with bees or some other similar insects (wasps, yellow jackets, hornets)
Very important is to identify what type of insect you have a problem with because you will use different methods to eliminate it. Honey bees are crucial for the ecosystem and they are endangered so you should take time and try to save them. All others are considered as pests so you can use insecticide and get rid of them Here are a few main differences and in case you want detailed description with pictures of all bee subspecies click here to read my post
The best to way to do an inspection is to find a dead bee for a thorough look
|Honey bees||Yellowjackets / Wasps||Hornets|
|Usually ½ inch long,||½ inch long||Up to 2.2 inches long|
|has hair on their body||No hair on the body||Has hair on the face|
|rounded shape body||Narrow waist body||wider heads and larger rounded abdomens.|
|2 set of wings||2 set of wings||2 set of wings|
|Black and brown coloration||Shiny black and yellow||largely black in color, with a mostly white face|
|Have sting on their body||Have sting on the body||Have sting on the body|
|They can sting only once and then dies||Can sting multiple times||Can sting multiple times, dangerous venom|
|Mostly feed on flowers||Feeding on fruit, sugar, meat, insects||Feeding on sugar-rich plants, insects, especially bees|
|Less aggressive than other species||Very aggressive||Aggressive only if the nest is threatened|
|Should be removed naturally without harming them||Removed with insecticide or pest control||Removed with insecticide or pest control|
Contact the Local Beekeeper
When you determine that you have a problem with honey bees the best thing you can do is to contact a local beekeeper.
Honey bees are endangered and their number is declining so local beekeepers will do their best to relocate the hive/swarm and save the bees. They usually do not charge for the service or some really small fee depending on the hive/swarm location.
The easiest way to reach the local beekeeper is to check the online American Beekeeping Federation. You can also ask at your farmers market (especially if they sell local honey) or plant nursery.
In case you are dealing with other types of bees and similar-looking insects contact local pest control.
Smoking the Hive (applicable for hives located outside the house)
Wait for the night when bees are less active/resting. First, dress protective clothes as instructed above and close all the windows and doors in your house. Prepare the bucket and put some newspapers and branches inside. Prepare the second bucket filled with water as a precision in case you have to put out the fire. Start the fire with BBQ lighter or simply matches. Let it burn for a few minutes and then blow it out, wait for the smoke to start and place it under the hive and move at least 60 feet just to be safe and lookout. Bees should start leaving the hive. This process should be repeated every night until it makes and effects and makes them move and build hive somewhere else. After they leave apply step removing the empty hive?
Relocating Bees by Luring Them to a New Location
Attract bees to a new location (bee-friendly but slower method)
To do this you need to make a bait that will attract them and water source close to it.
Bees like all drinks that contain a lot of sugar and they also enjoy apricots, watermelons, grapes, etc. Make sure you slice it a bit for bees to pick up the scent. Place the bait at least 20 feet away and every 7 days move further away from your property. When you reach the desired distance keep feeding them.
Make a water source by filling up an old bowl with water and placing few branches or wine corks that floats that will use as landing places for bees to drink.
This way you make this new location more appealing for the bees because they have food and water source close to potential new hive locations and they will not bother you anymore.
Moth Balls as a repellent
One of the smells that will repel the bees is mothballs. You should hang the mothballs close to the beehive – nest. The easiest way is to take old nylons (stockings) fill them with mothballs a hang it around the hive and around the house and garden, wearing protective clothes at night. This strong smell should make bees leave after a while. After they relocate and the hive is empty remove it the way it was explained
Cinnamon (for inside use)
One more natural and bee safe method that will make them relocate. Take the cinnamon powder and spread it around the hive every day for at least one week. Again do it at night wearing protective clothes. The smell should make them find a new place for the colony. After they relocate and the hive is empty apply step —
Incense sticks (for inside use)
While I was browsing for a natural way to remove the bees from your home I have found an interesting idea from James Heng that talks about using incense sticks that are able to make smoke for long hours.
He was having trouble with bees in his bathroom and wanted to remove them without harming them. He found Chinese prayer joss sticks that are very long, slowly burning and can last up to 12 hours. So in case you are up to unusual methods, you should try this one in case the bees are in your house and you have small nest place few sticks under the infested area and let it smoke.
Check it from time to time to see if it is burning in case you have to lit it up. Causon does not leave burning sticks when you are not in the house and place it in the proper holder to avoid a potential fire. Keep lighting the incense till the bees realize it is time to move. So be persistent and leave the window open so they have a clear way out.
One more unusual approach when dealing with bees is using citronella candles. They are very effective when it comes to mosquitoes but it can also help with a small swarm of bees.
You should put place a couple of candles and let it burn under the hive. Just make sure they are not too close to the hive because you want bees to go away not to burn them. This method is best for inside use but if you want to try it outside wait for a sunny day with no wind.
Plant Bee Repelling Plants
One of the slower methods but effective is plating a Bee Repelling Plants
Plants that repel the bees are a great way to keep bees out of your yard without having to remove them or kill them is to plant bee repelling plants around your home.
Having these plants around your home should stop bees from even stopping there. Citronella, Mint, and Eucalyptus plants are good bee repelling plants and easy to grow and you can even place them in your home(living room, kitchen, balcony)
Besides it has attractive colors that will cheer up your garden, it produces a smell that keeps the bees away. If you decide to grow red ones it will help you with wasps as well as they are not big fans of them. They are easy to grow especially when planted in the ground. It is a resilient plant that likes the sun and can stand up high temperatures.
Planting and growing
You can either buy seed to grow (takes 8 weeks) or get already formed plant in the pot.
In case you want to plant the seed wait for the spring when the soil is warmer. Fertilize the ground and moisturize it , then make a 6 inch deep holes, 10 inches apart to make enough room for it to grow a plant the seed and water it regularly but allow the soil to dry between watering.
Plant with a great smell and versatile use. The mint scent is good for keeping the bees and wasps away from your garden and home. And also you can use it in everyday cooking or adding it to your lemonade or just water to make a refreshing drink for summer
It is easy to grow inside and in the garden. Mint should be watered regularly but do not water it too much. Check the soil with your finger and if it feels dry water it.It likes a lot of sun so place somewhere sunny. For growing it outside you should be a bit cautious because all gardeners know that mint spreads very fast and take over the entire garden so check for detailed instruction on how to grow it in the garden
When deciding to grow it your home will smell nice and keep the bees and wasps away
A pleasant smelling plant koala favorite and your ally when dealing with bees. The oil in the plant keeps away bees and even wasps away.
The easiest way to grow it is to buy an already formed eucalyptus plant and keep it in the pot. Place it on a spot with a lot of sunlight but protected from the wind. Water it regularly but wait for the soil to dry out between watering. If you live in a cooler climate keep it indoors during autumn and winter.
Koala bears love this fragrant plant, but bees and wasps not so much. Eucalyptus can be planted in containers or directly into a garden. Either way, it needs a great deal of light. The eucalyptus plant is drought tolerant, so let it dry out a bit between each watering.
is a great plant and easy to grow and my favorite one. It has a specific scent that comes from citronella oil and efficiently repels the bees from your garden and home. You can even plant it in the kitchen or balcony and besides keeping bees away it repels mosquitoes as well.
Tips for planting and growing
Buy lemongrass stalks and put it in the shallow water and keep it for a week, changing the water each day. After a week cut the stalks to 3 inches and plant in your garden or prepare a big pot with quality soil and plant it. Water it daily for a week. Keep the soil moist and position it to have enough sunlight. After 5 months, the plant is ready for harvesting so you can use it for cooking or teas. That is the reason I like it so much a real multipurpose plant.
Wear Protective Clothing
It is very important to protect yourself when you are working with bees. Most likely you do not have a professional beekeeping protective suit so you have to improvise and here are the suggestions.
Dress several layers of light color clothes,
- Long sleeve clothes combining turtlenecks and sweatshirts with a hood.
- At least 2 pairs of pants or tracksuits.
- Hat and mask or anything you can use to protect the face.
- Preferably safety glasses or sports glasses that completely covers your eyes
- Use rubber bands or even duck tape to seal off the cuffs of your sleeves and pants to prevent any bee crawling in
- In the end, put on leather gloves
- Important Is to move all sents, perfumes from your body because it can rattle the bees
Now when you look that funny take a selfie for the photo album and you are set
Remove the Empty Hive and Seal Off the Holes or Cracks
When you move the bees from the nest your next step s to remove the empty nest because it can attract new bees to move in. In case the nest is easy reachable you can remove it by your self, but in case it is inside the wall or hollow. Depending on the location of the nest decide if you are able to move it easily or you have to look for professional help. When removed place the nest in a double bag and throw it in the trash with lid properly closed not to attract bees. Clean the residue of the nest thoroughly especially if the nest was attached to any part of the house.
In case there are holes in the house structure or you had to demolish part of the drywall, make sure you seal it off properly to prevent them from moving in again.