They say once bitten is always twice shy. But if you’ve ever been stung by a honey bee, chances are that you’ll forever remain wary of the buzzing. With the fear of Africanized bees spreading, you should know the basic points of dealing with honey bees.
Bees are an integral part of any ecosystem. They are essential for pollinating numerous plants. Without honey bees, the life cycle of such plants would be entirely disrupted.And of course, without honey bees, there would be no honey.
As for the stinging, honey bees use it as a last resort because they usually die after stinging someone. Honey bees sting only if they feel a personal threat or a threat to their hive or queen.
However, often there are times when the extensive bee activity can interfere and cause problems in a local community. Take Africanized bees, for example. While their sting is no more lethal than an average honey bee sting, they are comparatively more aggressive and attack in large numbers, causing more harm.
If you find a new colony being established in your garden, near your house or in a part of your house, you may want to get rid of them. Bee hives located in places where there is a lot of human activity is never a good idea. If you have small kids, pets, elderly or someone with a bee allergy in your home, it’s important to find a viable solution to deal with these creatures.
Start by locating the hive. Also, try to identify the bees you’re dealing with. If you can get in contact with local beekeepers, you can get some valuable advice and assistance. In many areas, the beekeepers may be able to relocate the hive without killing the bees.
If the problem is relatively small and you wish to deal with it on your own, there are multiple options to address the occasional honey bee menace. These solutions do not involve harmful chemicals that may harm your family or pets. If you wish, you can get rid of the bees without even killing them.
Here are three courses of action you can take to safely get rid of honey bees without killing them:
Method 1: Using Smoke
Using smoke is one of the best ways to get rid of honey bees for good. If you’ve had a recurring bee problem, smoke is your best bet as bees driven away with smoke don’t tend to return.
When the bees detect smoke, their instinct prepares them for a forest fire for which they may need to abandon their hive. Smoke also masks the pheromone alarm given by guard bees when the hive is disturbed, so they stay relatively calm.
If subjected to continuous and consistent smoke, the bees will start their migration process. They’ll consume as much of the honey as they possibly can before flying out in search of a new hive. When full of honey, the bees are not as aggressive because their stinging reflexes become slower.
Smoking the bees, when performed with caution, is one of the most effective remedies that is also compatible with nature and not harmful to the bees. To smoke the bees out, you’ll need to go through the following steps:
- Collect material like paper, cardboard, rotten wood and hessian that you can burn in order to generate smoke. You may also get pulped paper or compressed cotton online or from your local beekeepers for this purpose.
- Choose the time to smoke them out. Doing it at dawn will allow the bees to find a new hive (away from your area) before sundown. On the other hand, doing it after dark will give you leverage as bees are diurnal or “day creatures”, which means that they’re less active at nighttime. Also, the entire population will be at the hive, so you won’t be missing any.
- Arrange the pile of burning material directly under the hive, so that the smoke will pass through it continuously for a few hours.
- If the beehive is in any part of your house, seal the area. Close all the doors and windows, except for leaving a single window open to allow the bees to escape.
- When the smoke hits the hive, the bees will start buzzing around in confusion. You shouldn’t be around when that happens. So, light the smoking pile and make an immediate exit.
Depending on the size of the hive and the bee population, it may take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours for the bees to migrate. After making sure that the hive and the nearby area is free of bees, remove the hive and dispose it off.
Method 2: Using a Bee Trap
If the bee population that you need to deal with is small, the trapping strategy works as well. It is also a good alternative if you don’t wish to get close enough to spray bee repellent. Depending on your preferences, you may choose to trap and kill the bees. You also have the option to trap the bees alive. The bees then can be relocated with the help of a professional.
Keep in mind, bee traps with bees inside them should always be handled with care. Trapped bees are quite aggressive. Even if your trap is designed to kill the bees, caution should be observed while discarding the dead bees in case any survived.
Things you’ll need:
- Plastic soda bottle, 2 liter
- Scotch tape
- Fermented apple juice
Step 1. Cut off the neck of a bottle
Cut off the neck of the bottle with a pair of scissors. Make the cut down far enough so that you get a conical shape. It should appear like a funnel when inverted.
Step 2. Insert the neck of the bottle into the base of the bottle
- Invert the neck of the bottle so it is like a funnel and insert it into the remaining base of the bottle.
- Secure this funnel into place with some Scotch tape. You can also use a stapler for this job.
The funnel shape will allow the bees to get inside the bottle, but they won’t be able to escape through the opening due to the lack of any stimulus.
Step 3. Add the bait
- Finally, add the bait. Pour some fermented apple juice into the bottle.
- If you just wish to trap the bees, put only a little apple juice in the bottle.
- If you wish to drown the bees, pour in a couple of inches of juice.
Fermented apple juice will attract the bees and lead them inside the trap. You can also use flat citrus soda or any other fruit juice instead of apple juice. Set the trap in an area with unwanted bee activity. You can also hang the trap using wires. Wear gloves and exercise caution when disposing of the trapped or dead bees.
Method 3: Using a Homemade Repelling Spray
On the off chance that a honey bee or a few of them find their way into your house, you’ll need a foolproof solution to get rid of them. Trapped bees are often aggressive and it may not be easy to safely usher them out.
To protect your family and pets from these few stingers, you might need a bee repelling spray. And if you’re not willing to use chemical-based pesticides, this homemade bee repelling spray can come in quite handy, especially during springtime when the bee activity is at its peak.
Things you’ll need:
- Water – ½ cup
- Peppermint essential oil – 10 to 15 drops
- Soap solution – ½ cup
- Spray bottle
Mix water, peppermint oil & soap solution
- Pour ½ cup of water into the spray bottle through the funnel.
- Add in 10 to 15 drops of peppermint essential oil.
- Pour ½ cup of the soap solution into the spray bottle as well. Make the soap solution by mixing 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap in ½ cup of water.
- Close the spray bottle and give it a vigorous shake to mix the contents well.
Bees don’t like strong smelling herbs like peppermint. Adding peppermint essential oil to the spray makes it a good bee repellent. The soap solution can effectively drown and kill the bees.
- Spray the rogue bees trapped in your house to kill them on contact.
- Collect the dead bodies with a brush into a dust pan and discard accordingly.
- Always wear protective clothing while dealing with honey bees, swarms, hives, trapped bees or even supposedly dead bees. Thick sweats, long sleeves, thick gloves and protective headgear should be worn. Thick netting should be used to protect your face and neck.
- If you’re dealing with a large hive or a large aggressive swarm, you should seek the advice and help of a professional.
- The beekeepers may capture and relocate the queen bee. The swarm will leave the area to follow their queen. They may also bring a new queen to lure the swarm out and relocate them. The old hive along with the queen bee can then be disposed of.
- Don’t go near or disturb a hive that’s in a tree or in the ceiling or a wall of a building. Even if such hives appear small, they usually cover a large area. Such hives may extend deep inside the walls or inside the hollow of the tree trunk. Have the site examined by a professional.
- Keep family members, children and pets away from the area before attempting to get rid of bees. Aggressive bees tend to attack those in the vicinity.
- Caution your neighbors and advise them to close their doors and windows.