How to Get Rid of Bees Without Killing Them

The importance of bees to our entire world ecosystem cannot be overstated. That said, when you have an infestation in the eave of your house, you have to do something. Learning how to get rid of bees without killing them is fairly easy.

And it’s the right thing to do.

Bees can save the world. However, if you happen to be one of the five percent of the population with an allergy to insect stings, they could be the death of you. Learning a bit about bees can help you develop compassion for these amazing little critters.

Understanding Bees

Bees are truly one of nature’s most interesting creatures. 

In the United States, bees assist in the pollination of about 130 different types of agricultural crops. 

These crops include fiber, fruits, vegetables, and nuts struggle with decreasing bee populations. Bees add about $14 billion of revenue per year in the form of increased quality and yield of crops.  

Moving bees alive is the best option to promote a healthy environment and ecosystem.

Pesticide Use and Environmental Impacts

Pesticides are wreaking havoc on bee populations. In the U.S. alone, estimates state that wild bee populations have decreased by 23 percent between 2008 and 2013. This drop can have a devastating effect on crops that depend on pollination by wild bees.

In the 1940s there were 6 million honey bee hives. Today, that number has decreased to around 2.5 million. In order to combat this decrease, we need to be aware of the causes and actively work to reverse this dangerous trend.

To replenish hives, we must all be diligent in how we handle bees.

Bee-Friendly Tips

Employing bee-friendly practices will help in maintaining and increasing bee populations.

Beekeepers, pesticide applicators, and farmers need to work together. An understanding of best practices will help all three communities to decrease the hazards to apiaries.

Implementing simple practices will help stop poisoning bees.

Now that you understand a bit about the importance of bees to our environment, we can discuss the best way to move them without causing harm.

How to Get Rid of Bees Without Killing Them

With an understanding of how important bees are to our ecosystem, removing them humanely becomes imperative. Whether you have bees under an eave or burrowing into a wall, there are several different methods that can get rid of bees without killing them.

Keeping the hive together is not as difficult as you might think. 

Try to identify the type of bees you have invading your space. There are online guides that will help you figure out what type of bees you are seeing. Many guides also include quick tips on removing the bees.

Almost every guide begins with “call a professional” or some variation of that sentiment.

Call a Local Expert or Beekeeper

To find local resources, use online search engines to find apiaries or beekeepers associations. 

Some beekeepers may charge a nominal fee, especially if the removal is difficult. Many will perform the service in exchange for free bees to enrich their hives.  

If you happen to live in an area with no local beekeepers, don’t rule out exterminators. The business name might put you off but many offer humane removal and relocation services.

Most professionals will attempt to cause no damage, but if the bees have infiltrated walls behind siding there may not be an alternative.

Moving Bees Without an Expert

If you decide to attempt the removal and relocation of the bees yourself, there are several methods that can be used effectively. Let’s discuss safety. If, like most of us, you don’t have a beekeeper’s suit lying about here’s what to wear:

  • Leather gloves
  • Long sleeve shirt or jacket
  • Denim pants
  • Leather boots

Use tape to seal openings between gloves and sleeves and around your pant legs. A veil, fashioned from screening or purchased inexpensively, should protect your head and neck.

Working at night is the best time to perform the removal of active hives. Planning around bee foraging schedules will be much safer for self-removal.

Smoke Method

Using smoke can be an effective way to cause bees to leave their hive. With a handful of incense sticks, you can create an immense amount of smoke without an open fire hazard. 

Smoke calms bees. It also creates the illusion of fire, causing the bees to grab as much honey as they can and flee. Once the bees have left it, you can move and relocate the hive in a safe place.

Make sure that you seal all your windows, doors, and other access points to your home before smoking bees out of a hive.

Bee Traps

If you are dealing with a low number of bees, you can use a bee trap or box trap. You can position commercially available bee traps near the hive. Then you just wait until the bees are in the trap to move them to a safe location.

You can also make a simple box trap out of cardboard. 

With a medium-sized box, place sticky traps inside. Add pollen or some flowers onto the sticky traps. Make small holes around the box to allow the bees to enter. 

Place the box near the hive and wait.

Both of these methods will make the bees angry, so it is best to contact a professional to remove the box once you have trapped the bees. 

Natural Deterrents

Bees are very receptive to scents and are sensitive to a number of natural ingredients:

Any of these aromatic solutions will deter bees from creating hives in and around your home and garden. You can use these aromatic solutions to remove bees from active hives, but may not work as quickly or efficiently as smoke.

Plants can also be an effective method to deter bees. Some good plants that repel bees are:

  • Citronella
  • Mint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Wormwood (Artemis)

Having these easy-to-care-for plants interspersed in your garden will deter bees from the area. Planting them around patio areas can serve as an effective barrier for summer entertaining. Keep in mind that deterring bees from your garden spaces may hamper the pollination of flowering plants and vegetables.

The Future Would Be Bleak Without Bees

If bee populations continue to decline, our world ecosystem will be greatly affected. Crops will begin producing less. Eventually, this can cause numerous problems. 

A lack of vegetation allows extensive damage from storms. Heavy rain can cause mudslides. Drought can cause dust bowl-like conditions. Animals would have difficulty finding suitable habitats to thrive.

Not a pretty picture to imagine, is it? That’s why it so important to explore how to get rid of bees without killing them.

The bottom line is to help bees when you can. They are vital to our continuing existence.

Featured image from Flickr via Andy Blackledge licensed as CC By 2.0