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Bees are both a pest and a necessity, making the decision to eradicate them a somewhat complicated one. As pollinators, bees are responsible for the reproduction of many of the foods we eat. But bee stings are also painful and even fatal in some cases. If a bee colony on your property is causing you stress, eradication isn't the only solution. It may be possible, as well as cheaper, to seek the services of a beekeeper that will remove and relocate the colony.
Bee Removal Considerations
Keep the following points in mind when considering a pro for bee removal:
Relocation vs. Extermination
Killing bees that are on your property isn't illegal and is the easiest way to get rid of a colony. Due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), however, wiping out honey bees may not be the wisest course of action. Then again, the spread of Africanized honey bees, which are more dangerous, makes eradication seem like a safer option. In fact, some state officials recommend the eradication of wild bee colonies that are in close proximity to humans. Before choosing how to handle a bee colony find out what officials from your state's agricultural department advise. In Florida, for example, there are strict bee removal regulations.
Swarms vs. Hives
A hive is an established home where bees nest, rear broods, and store food. A swarm is a mass of bees in search of a new home. Bee swarms may appear frightening but swarming bees are actually more docile than nesting bees (with the exception of Africanized bees). Swarms are only temporary and don't typically need to be removed; within a few days the swarm should move to a new hive location. Call a local beekeeper if you want a swarm cluster removed.
Bee Proofing and Preventing Future Infestations
Bees can fit through openings as small as 1/8". Common locations where bees build hives include trees, bird houses, sheds, rain gutters, A/C units, beneath the lining of a roof, and behind brickwork. Bee proofing areas by sealing up potential entry points can prevent the establishment of a colony. A professional can thoroughly bee proof your home and property. Do-it-yourself techniques such as these may also be employed.
Once a bee hive has been removed steps should also be taken to ensure that bees don't move back into the space, other pests aren't attracted to remaining hive materials, and organic matter doesn't damage the structure. In addition to sealing cavities this means removing honey, dead bees, eggs, and wax as well as cleaning and deodorizing (to mask pheromones). Look for a company that can guarantee its work (i.e. the company will remove bees that return to the site of the removed hive free of charge).
Eliminating a hive sometimes necessitates removing building materials (framing, insulation, stucco, drywall, paint, etc.). Expect to pay an additional fee for repairs and reconstruction. Some bee removal companies are able to perform this work. You may also choose to hire a separate contractor.
Bee Removal Average Costs
- A basic bee removal job starts at $75 to $150; more complex jobs can cost $200 to $800 or as much as $1,000 to $2,000+. In-structure bee removal (such as inside of a wall) is typically the most expensive.
- Additional repair and reconstruction costs may apply.
- Factors that affect the cost of bee removal include the size and location of the hive, the type of bee, and the accessibility of the hive.
- A beekeeper might remove an easy-to-access honeybee hive for free, but more difficult jobs often require a fee. Beekeepers may also leave repairs up to the homeowner. Perform an internet search for your state's beekeepers association to find a local beekeeper.