Bee Exterminators Talk: Can Bees Build Honeycombs Inside Your Walls?
Most people love fresh honey. However, few of us in the modern world want a honeycomb built into the walls of our homes. According to knowledgeable bee exterminators, there was a time before grocery stores and farmer’s markets when “wall hives” were all the rage.
The property owner would prepare a space between wall studs or under window framing where the bees were free to do what bees do best. But, access was built in so that the homeowner could get some honey whenever they needed it.
The practice was popular in Asia, Egypt, and parts of Europe, and it dates back to the first century AD.
Jump to now, and homeowners renovating older buildings have been surprised to discover beehives, complete with honeycombs attached, thriving inside the walls of their investment. This problem doesn’t necessarily exist only in older buildings. Bees will nest in any space that’s relatively sheltered, warm, and protected from the elements.
If you have crevices that bees can enter, they will.
Finding a random honeycomb from an evacuated nest isn’t a problem in and of itself. However, the honey could be contaminated because it draws moisture from the surrounding environment once the bees that protect it are gone. This allows bacteria and fungi to develop which will cause the honey to ferment and turn sour. Throw abandoned hives away.
Live colonies filled with busy bees are a whole other problem.
Before you try to tackle the job of removing these unwanted guests from your property, allow professionals to weigh in on how to detect the problem and safely manage an infestation.
How to Handle Finding Bees in Your Wall
Hearing a buzzing noise in your ears doesn’t mean that you’re losing your mind. But, it could be the first indication of bees in your walls. The louder the buzzing, the more bees there are.
The second indication is the sudden appearance of a bee or two flying around your home when there are no doors or windows open.
Rather than chalking it up to a random bee getting through a hole in the screen or gap in a door, you need to investigate further. According to experienced bee exterminators, wall-based colonies containing thousands, even millions of bees, are not uncommon.
Get rid of all ambient noise you can and concentrate on the location of the buzzing. You could also lightly tap on the walls at intervals around the home to see if it stirs them up. Feel the walls of the suspected location with your hand. There will be a warm spot on the surface over the location of the hive that’s several degrees higher than the surrounding area.
When there are insects flying around the house, try to track them so you can locate where they’re getting into the wall. If possible, seal off the room you believe they’re using for access and call a professional bee exterminator to take over from there.
Finding the Right Bee Exterminators
The job of removing a hive from inside your walls is a complex and possibly dangerous operation. You should never attempt to do this yourself. It may also be illegal to try to kill them with insecticide.
Although there is a definite swarm season in Nevada that makes outdoor activities hazardous for those with allergies to bee venom, there are regulations regarding how and when you can exterminate pollinators. It’s the safer choice all around to contract professional pest control in Las Vegas to tackle the problem.
You’ll have the best results when you choose the right team for the job you have. Don’t hire someone who specializes in scorpion extermination when honeybees are the issue.
Once you’ve identified the problem, the first thing you should do is contact a company with experience removing bee colonies from residential properties. A rat exterminator in Las Vegas might take a different approach than a pest exterminator who specializes in removing beehives.
Check to make sure that the pest control company is licensed and insured in your state or county, and that they use only approved products and methods to combat the problem.
Once the problem is under control, you can begin the task of bee-proofing your home. Take note that the comb can be removed and used after the bees have been removed, It could also be donated to a licensed beekeeper to provide for a managed colony.
Bee-Proofing Your Property
Unless your home is hermetically sealed, there will always be a way for insects to get in. Workers bees can squeeze through a space as small as three-sixteenths of an inch high. However, they’ll likely enlarge any crevice so they can slip in and out easily without losing precious pollen.
The most common ways for bees to penetrate your home are:
• Gaps around light fixtures, pipes, or utility meters
• Spaces between brink or cladding and siding
• Gaps under eaves
• Cracks between mortar
• Gaps between windows or door frames, or under doors without weather stripping
• Spaces around fans, AC units, or vents
Carefully inspect your property inside and out. Replace broken or missing screens, Seal any cracks or crevices you find.
If you’re bee-proofing a home that had a live colony living in the walls, or anywhere on buildings or fences, you should carefully clean the wall with bleach or ammonia after all traces of the insects, hive, and honeycomb are gone. Make sure to scrub any wood or wax that was left behind as well. This will remove any traces of pheromones bees use to locate the hive and prevent new colonies from forming.
Patch the access hole that the bees used to get in.
Another possible complication comes from residual traces of honey inside the walls. This happens when the wax used to create the honeycomb melts in excessive heat, bursting the cell wall and allowing the honey to drip down. It could also spill onto other objects inside the walls, like conduit, wiring, or insulation.
This will require additional cleaning in order to prevent ants and other sugar-loving pests from making a beeline for the space the honeybees just vacated.
If the colony was especially large, the entire wall that shielded them may need to be replaced. However, your bee exterminators will try to remove the hive without damaging your property whenever possible.
Outside your house and outbuildings, make sure to clear any areas that could harbor or attract insects. That means getting rid of yard debris, woodpiles, and discarded furniture and vehicles. Keep any foliage trimmed, and plug up knot holes in trees and wooden structures.