Were one to only pay attention to popular presentations about the importance of bees, you could be forgiven for thinking these little yellow-and-black insects did nothing but good for the world. As one advocacy group puts it, “Honeybees — wild and domestic — perform about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day. Grains are primarily pollinated by the wind, but fruits, nuts and vegetables are pollinated by bees. Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops — which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition — are pollinated by bees.”
While such facts are indisputable (as is the truth that some bee species have seen worrying drops in their populations), a bee infestation is usually anything but good news. People may think they shouldn’t worry about a hive on their property or the sight of a few friendly bees buzzing about a chimney. However, a bee infestation in houses or on properties can spell serious trouble — and sometimes prove deadly. In this post, we’ll detail some of the problems bees can cause and when you should call a professional to deal with them.
Serious Issues Caused by Bees
On paper, bees seem — and are! — pretty impressive. In addition to producing honey, they make a number of additional substances with antimicrobial, wound healing, anti-inflammatory, waterproofing, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial properties. The little bees work hard to produce all of that stuff, zipping around at a max speed of 12 mph and flying an average of 55,000 miles in order to make a single pound of honey. And while queens can live for several years, drones only survive for about 40 days and worker bees live for a mere six weeks during the summer, a period that sees hives swelling to some 60,000 to 80,000 bees.
That great hive size is what can lead to problems, the most obvious of which is getting stung. Unless you have a bee allergy, you probably won’t face many problems from a single sting. However, even the most robust individual can go into anaphylactic shock. And that’s not the only risk that a bee infestation in walls or on your property can cause. From property damage to personal injury, a honeybee infestation can quickly turn serious.
When Do Bees Become a Problem?
So when exactly do bees become a problem and send you searching for bee exterminators? You should really feel concerned with signs of bee infestations become apparent. Some of these may include:
- The presence of large amounts of bees outside
- Bored holes in the wooden parts of your structure
- Stained and/or distended walls, ceilings, soffits, or floors
- A terrible musty odor
That last item may give you pause: Why would bad smells signal an infestation of bees? Well, bees produce honeycombs and honey, but they don’t always perpetually remain in one place. If they die off or abandon a hive that’s inside of home, that honeycomb and honey doesn’t simply disappear. Instead, it begins to decay, sliding downward and putrefying. This can lead to the introduction of other pests such as moths or mice, as well as the development of mold and fungi.
While the Ohio State University Extension states that “honeybees living within a building do not cause structural damage,” this isn’t universally true. Sometimes hives can grow so large that they displace structural elements such as chimneys, walls, or flooring. In such cases, having a beehive in your property definitely qualifies as a problem.
Finally, you may start wondering how to get rid of bees when the bees themselves pose a direct threat to you and your loved ones. Should a hive get too big, some bees may be displaced into your living areas. Trying to remove honey-bee hives poses a significant risk to homeowners. Like any other creature, bees react aggressively when their home gets disturbed, and trying to remove them on your own may prove truly dangerous.
Why You Need Professional Services
Sometimes homeowners think that all they need to do is kill the bees and voila! They’ll have peaceful enjoyment of their house once again. Unfortunately, the situation typically isn’t that simple. For one thing, some municipalities and/or states restrict what pest control companies can do. Finding a bee exterminator in your area or the perfect bee exterminator spray isn’t always an option. The first goal should be to remove and relocate the hive and its inhabitants.
Of course, doing so is rarely easy. Because bees like to tuck their hives into hard-to-reach areas, accessing them typically means dismantling not-insignificant sections of your house. Typical lists of equipment needed to remediate a bee infestation include:
- Hammers and nails
- Bee suits
- Facial veil
- First aid kit (including an EpiPen)
As you can see, bee control isn’t your typical weekend project. In addition to the potential risk to your person, removing a hive can put significant structural strain on your property. It’s the kind of job that’s tailor made for a professional, one who knows how to minimize messes.
You may also run into a situation where hive relocation isn’t an option. As the Clemson University Cooperative Extension states, “As good citizens, we should do everything possible to salvage honeybee colonies that become a problem in structural walls, but there are many instances when this is not possible. If a local beekeeper cannot be found to take the bees, the property owner has every right to treat honeybees as pests, especially when human health is threatened.” Still, extermination doesn’t make for an easier job. Any honeybee exterminator will need to undertake many of the same steps to eliminate a hive.
Signs of an Infestation
As we mentioned above, the signs of a bee infestation typically involve:
- A greater than usual number of bees in or around the property
- Damage to your property (e.g., bulging drywall, seeping stains, buckling floors)
- Honey leaking from walls, chimneys, or trees
- Unpleasant odors from damaged hives or rotting honey
- The presence of sawdust in your home (which is typically caused by carpenter bees)
- The faint and persistent sound of chewing (another indicator of carpenter bees)
Spending some time around the overhangs of your home, nearby trees, and your attic may quickly clue you in to the presence of a pest. At this point, don’t consider a bee removal service or bee exterminator cost. You have a problem on your hands, and it’ll only get worse if you don’t deal with it.
Checklist for Choosing a Bee Removal Company
While hiring a bee removal company is almost always an absolute must, you don’t want to choose one willy-nilly. Hiring an incompetent “expert” virtually guarantees that your problem will get worse. So before you sign on the dotted line, consider the following signs of a competent bee removal company:
- They have the appropriate gear.
- They’re educated and knowledgeable about bees.
- They let you know if the bees will be relocated or exterminated.
- They can tell you if the bees will likely return and how to prevent the problem from happening again.
- They carry liability insurance.
- They make any necessary repairs after dealing with the hive.
- They can provide references from satisfied customers.
- They can provide clear and transparent pricing.
Smithereen Pest Management has extensive experience remediating all sorts of pests, including bees. With top-quality service throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, and Wisconsin, we know how to restore your home in a professional and appropriately priced manner. We have more than a century of experience and are a Green Shield Certified company, meaning that our approach is tough on pests — not on you or the environment. Contact us today!