Honey Bee Removals

We do honey bee removals from homes and structures in the southern Low Country of South Carolina.   The area we serve includes Jasper, Beaufort, Hampton and Collington Counties.  I have been removing bees for the past 30 years.  Prior to becoming a commercial beekeeper I was in the construction industry for many years.  This is where I learned how buildings are put together and what cavities are created that make great homes for honey bees.   If honey bees move into your home don’t freak out!  Honey bees are much more docile than hornets or yellow jackets.  They don’t destroy your home like termites do either.

Swarms

Honey bees reproduce by making new queens.  When the new queen is about to hatch half of the bees in the hive leave with the old queen to start a new hive.  When they first leave the hive they hang in a large group while scouts look for a new nesting place.  This hanging bunch of bees is known as a swarm.  We collect swarms at no charge.

swarm

 Residential Removals

If honey bees move into your home do not spray them with insecticides.  If you do the bees die and other honey bees will rob out the contaminated honey and carry it back to their nests killing them as well.  Honey bees are an important part of our ecosystem.  Do not seal them up.  If you do the bees will die,  the wax combs will melt, and honey will drip down into your walls and ruin the sheetrock which will have to be replaced.  South Carolina Law does not allow exterminators to kill honey bees, they have to be removed by a beekeeper.   We do not kill the honey bees, we relocate them.  The only thing were need from the homeowner is access to electricity and clean water.

What you can expect when we do a honey bee removal

First we have to determine where they are in the structure.   After determining where they are located we carefully open up the cavity to expose the nest.  If the bees are elevated we erect scaffolding for safety  and accessibility.

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Once we open the cavity the removal can begin.

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We have a special vacuum that sucks up the bees into a screened cage.  This severely weakens the hive and makes the comb removal easier.  Then we start removing the combs and honey.  Each comb is vacuumed to remove  remaining bees and placed into buckets.

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Once the bees, combs, and honey is removed the cavity is scraped down to eliminate as much smell as possible.   The cavity is then filled with fiberglass insulation.  All this helps to keep new swarms from moving in.

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Then we reinstall the building materials to close up the cavity followed with caulking all cracks and crevices to prevent reentry by the bees.   We wipe down the walls with water and clean up the site.  Our goal is leave the site as if we and the honey bees were never there.  The picture below is how we left this site.  The only hint that a removal took place is a line across the panel where we cut it to expose the nest.  The next time the house is painted that too will disappear.

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Then we go back to the shop to finish the job.  The bees are dumped into weak hives to live out their lives.  The buckets with the honey and combs are left out for the bees in our apiaries to clean up.  The empty combs are put into our solar wax melter and the bees wax is reclaimed.

Commercial Removals

 

We will make every effort possible to work with businesses to minimize any impact with their patrons and employees when we do a bee removal.  We removed two colonies from the inn pictured below on a Sunday when they typically have the fewest patrons.  We built custom structures to provide the safest environment for us , the patrons, and employees.

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Trap Outs

Occasionally honey bees move into a structure where it is not feasible to open up the cavity for the removal such as in a masonry wall.  That doesn’t mean that we can’t get them out.  We use a technique known as a trap out.   In a trap out the entrance to the hive is covered with a one way bee escape and a small hive with a few bees and a queen is placed right by that bee escape.  The bees leave the hive but when they return they can’t get back inside.  They end up going into the little hive next to the bee escape.  The little hive quickly becomes their new home.  With no nutrients coming into the old hive the queen slows her egg laying down and the hive dwindles.  Once we observe that the bees have stopped leaving the old hive we remove the one way bee escape and allow the weakened hive to be robbed out by other bees.  Once the robbing has stopped we remove the little hive and seal the entrance to the old hive.  Trap outs are more expensive than the standard bee removals.  The reason being is that it takes a minimum of six weeks to perform.  Additionally trap outs have to be monitored once or twice a week to make sure the bees haven’t found a new entrance into the old hive.

TrapOut