*Honey Bee treatments should always be conducted at nighttime, when the bees are the least active and least likely to sting.
When is honey bee control appropriate?
Honey bees are a friend to man in most circumstances and are naturally beneficial in both the production of honey and pollination of crops and flowers. They should never be destroyed unless the honey bees are posing a real health and safety risk-for example when large numbers are nesting too close to a home or recreational area, especially where children or people sensitive to bee venom are present. In most areas, if you make a call to your extension office, they can give you information on how to contact a local bee keeper who will come out and remove the hive for free to another location.
Anytime you interfere with the routine activity of honey bees there is risk of being attacked and stung, so it is very important to wear protective clothing! (Note: people who have a history of severe or mild reaction to insect stings should not perform these treatments). At the very minimum, the following should be worn when treating for honey bees or other stinging insects:
Honey Bee Swarms
It is not uncommon in Spring time to find hundred or thousands of honey bees swarming trees, bushes, or other objects. If this happens, do not be alarmed! Honey bee swarmers are rarely aggressive, and are only looking for a place to relocate their nest. They will likely disperse in a very short time, anywhere from 30 minutes to a few days. Swarmers should not be destroyed unless they are posing a health or safety risk near the home. Even then, the best option would be to call out a local bee keeper to collect them and relocate the hive.
Treating Nests in Structural Voids
Sometimes honey bees will nest in various elements of a home or structure, such as ceiling and wall voids, in the eaves behind fascia board, soffits, in hollow cement blocks, and inside excavated wood galleries. This poses a special problem because multiple layers of honey and wax combs often interfere with effective application and distribution of insecticides. Also, the insecticide may bind to the honey making it ineffective. Such nests are best treated by drilling into the infested void and injecting the nest with appropriately labeled insecticides.
- Locate the nest. If you are not sure exactly where the nest is located, use a listening device to hone in as close as possible to the exact location.
- At night, drill numerous small holes (1 to 2 feet apart) directly into the nest from inside of the structure. The best method would be to seal outside entrances temporarily with modeling clay so the so the bees cannot escape during treatment. If it is not possible to drill from the inside, the drilling can be done outside.
- Before applying insecticide, make sure other people have left the room and that you are wearing protective clothing, in the case that an angry bee should find its way through one of the drilled holes.
- Apply a liquid insecticide labeled for honey bees, such as Cynoff WP or Demon WP, with the aid of a handheld sprayer.
- Follow immediately (within a few minutes) with a dust application. We recommend long-lasting Delta Dust. Apply liberally using a centrobulb duster.
- Seal any inside holes.
- You will hear loud buzzing for about two hours following treatment. Most bees will die within a few days.
- Once the honey bees have died, the wall will need to be opened to remove the nest. If you do not wish to do this yourself, you could hire a professional to do it for you. Otherwise, the untended honey will eventually rot, emitting a strong foul odor, and will soon attract other insects such as wax moths, carpet beetles, cockroaches, meal moths, or other various beetles.
Further Prevention for Honey Bees
- Keep bees outside the structure by repairing any holes in the exterior wall and making sure that all vents and windows have tight-fitting screens.
- Seal over the chimney flu temporarily with tape and plastic sheeting if bees are entering here.
Recommended Products for Honey Bee Control
Delta Dust Insecticide
Delta Dust is the only waterproof dust available, great for wall voids and cracks and crevices.
A loose white powder that is mixed with water to create an effective residual insecticide.
Demon WP Insecticide
for crack and crevice and/or spot applications for residual and contact control of many insect pests.
Honey Bees Identification & Biology
Swarming: Questions and Answers