In a wall, in a tree, in the eaves of a roof…honeybees often look for new homes – and can pick yours!
Aside from the inconvenience (and discomfort) of sharing your home with a swarming insect, honeybees can cause serious damage to your house, inside and out. Poisoning a colony is never effective – it only results in a worse situation and a bigger mess as the dead bees decompose, attracting other pests; and as the honey and wax melt, interior walls can become stained and damaged.
This costs homeowners both time and money to repair the damage. Unfortunately, most pest control companies will not remove honeybees. Molokai Meli has been extracting honeybee colonies since 2004 from homes, condos, businesses, and some very unusual places including the airport light towers. It’s a hard, messy job, but we do it – and do it right!
Extraction methods vary widely depending on where and how the colony is situated (in the roof, eaves, between drywall, dormer windows); how long they’ve been there; and what building materials are involved (siding, shakes, or concrete). We vacuum out the bees using a special “bee vac” that doesn’t harm the bees, then we move them to a place where they can forage. We remove all honey and comb as well to maintain the integrity of the structure and keep the bees from returning or rebuilding.
We’d like to give you a few tips on preventing a swarm from making its permanent home in your home. First, a bit of background: honeybees like to inhabit dark enclosed areas with a small entrance or opening; honeybees usually send out a crew of “scout bees” to look for possible locations; they often hang in a “ball” while they’re waiting for approval on their new location.
With these things in mind, there are some things you can do in advance to make sure your home doesn’t look attractive to the scout bees. 1) Make sure all joints in your exterior are tight, caulking where necessary. Take special notice of grooves where they meet the joining board or rafters. 2) Make sure all screens in vent holes are securely attached and without holes. 3) Make sure gaps around plumbing pipes and cables entering the home are filled with putty or foam. 4) Repair any outside drippy faucets or leaks–bees like water!
We don’t want to give honeybees a bad rap. They really are great little creatures to have around, especially if you have a garden or a few fruit trees. We’d just like to prevent them from setting up permanent residence in a place they’re not wanted or harmful to people. One reason you don’t want them living in your walls is the stress it causes on your structure.
Often mildew will form on the other side of the walls as the bees remove the moisture from their honey. Once a hive has inhabited your walls, the only sure way to remove the bees and relieve the structural stress is to open the wall and remove all trace of comb, bees and honey, then close the wall and seal the entrance to the hive. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of honey (in the jar)!