Bees are living inside my walls, do I need to worry?

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New Bee
May 29, 2012
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Hive Type
Firstly I shall say hello, and secondly apologise in advance for invading your forum as a new member just for my own question.
However, I shall start at the beginning and see what you think.

At the weekend we were in the garden and there was what sounded like a low flying aircraft above us, a huge swarm. We all shot indoors and went upstairs and tried to see in what direction they were headed. I phoned a bee friend and she and I went out later, hunting for the swarm, but with no success. We later saw rather too many bees flying around our kitchen and decided to check the roof with a long ladder. This found a huge entrance crack above an old bricked up window and there they were happily zooming in and out.

We have since set up a long ladder inside where we can observe them behind a glass window. My bee friend said they looked pretty established to her as the entrance looked a bit stained. We then listened with a glass indoors and have found a huge line of buzz along a long papered over crack. There is a very happy night time engine of buzz inside and it doesn't sound confused.

This has made many things make sense. Each year for the last two years, there has been a two to three day long hatching, I think in spring, of what seemed to be hundreds of baby bees with huge eyes, all indoors in our hall, bathrooms and bedrooms and buzzing at the windows to get out. We had been scooping them every hour outside with a jug, and then there would be more. We had never understood where they came from.

We now think possibly the swarm actually came from us rather than to us. We were quite happy to leave them there as we hadn't noticed all this time.... But..

In our ignorance, we had been unaware and so far unharmed, but unless it is an extreme coincidence, our dear passive dog has been stung right up his bottom, poor thing, the day before yesterday by a particularly aggressive bee, one actually attacked my face yesterday and now my daughter has been stung. Hers possibly caused by the dog bothering one.

Could this just be that the swarming has upset them? I'm not quite so happy about them any more, and my husband is not good with stings. I did phone the local swarm man and he said no-one would be particularly interested in a difficult removal because there were easier ways of obtaining bees, and it was harder with an established colony. He said this kindly and wasn't being unhelpful, just realistic.

I've read up about moving bees with an adjacent bee hive as a lure and a cone but it doesn't look like the results are so promising. Is it possible to lure a queen out? I would be most grateful for any thoughts on the matter.
Hello Mumsy

It does sound like an impossible situation. In answer to your last question, which you seem to have researched a bit anyway, you won't be able to lure the queen out and all the bees follow. The only time they do that is when they swarm and they leave behind the means for a new queen.....a sealed cell close to hatching and plenty of young bees in order to continue the life of the colony. I'm no expert on this but you have few avenues to try.....1) Have professional pest controllers in to destroy the colony......2) With a builder and a beekeeper, open up the wall/ceiling somewhere to remove them. Both have their drawbacks. The professionals are reluctant to do this because the legislation says they must leave the place so bees cannot get in in the future. This is an impossible task, once bees have colonized a place they are attracted back to that place and will make endeavours to get back in, so the professionals are reluctant to do the work on account of the high risk of being sued in the future. With the builder and the beekeeper, it's unlikely that a builder would tackle such a job until the bees have been removed, so you really need a builder who is a beekeeper and then when they are removed the same rule applies.....access needs to be permanently denied. Your situation doesn't sound quite as bad as someone with bees in their can hear your bees behind the wall so have a reasonable idea where they are. The final alternative is to seal the access in the winter when the colony is at it's smallest, they will then die out in situ......but as I said earlier sealing access is difficult, if the builder goes in he could potentially fill the void.

We live in a really old building, hence the enormous cracks, so we can do any work ourselves, but the bees would stop us doing that easily if they are buzzing around. We would be very reluctant to kill them and would only do that as a vey last resort if there was any direct threat to our own safety.

It seems from what I have read here, that they would be perfectly safe to leave there for a while until we can decide what to do. Eventually we could open up the window properly, so that the cavity wasn't there any more. They have actually done us a huge favour, because we hadn't even realised there was a window there. You cannot see it from the ground as it is on a high back wall just above two roof angles with a gutter between. Not that easy to get to either.

Our bee friend said we could possibly inject tiny amounts of smoke through the wall on the inside to make them decide to leave of their own accord, but if this resulted in an angry swarm and someone got harmed, then I would never forgive myself.

We thought of building them an inside extension so the inner hive moved into it and maybe the queen, but we don't fancy sharing our indoors with them any more than we already do. My husband wants to build a huge wooden platform outside, spanning the two pitches of roof, and arrange some hives upon it, so they move out of our wall and into the hives. We could then move them when established, but are bees that obedient?

If this is the new swarm and I am wrong about this, would that make them any easier to move?

I am dreaming bees every night at the moment.....

Rather than being a problem, it is a good perplexing puzzle. It may make for rather a good instructors film for someone beeish.
Although frisbee has offered one methods there is a less intrusive method of extraction

over the entrnace is placed and sealed to make it the only exit is a flexible pipe to direct the bees to a close by area that a small brood box can be placed, once the bees find the new exit and enter through the flexible pipe then extraction can start

the pipe is fitted with a one way value on the end either a cone entrance (funnel) or connected to a small void box with porter escape exits....this entrance is discharged into a brood box with drawn comb and foundation ( we use a converted 14x12 six frame nuc box being about Standard BS national volume and just support this box on two large bookshelf bracket but have another box that clips to a special location plate that is fixed over the hole) Any orientating and foragers from the wall nest are now outside in the new brood box and this becomes there home, the wall nest slowly dwindles

after a week a frame of fresh brood and eggs is added to the new nest, this causes the new nest to make a new queen and by the time this new queen has any emerging brood then the wall nest is now going silent with a starved old queen and few bees

after a further brood cycle remove the new brood nest and take away, seal the old wall nest entrance hole and get a biulder to remove the old wax and honey at your leisure and without getting stung

problems that arise....bees already get into your house, that entrance needs to be sealed....light fittings, wall cracks, central heating pipe holes, cable holes etc

don't despair it can be done, our swarm collector is doing one tomorrow and has another in preparation...i takes about 6 weeks though...and no builders or MumsywithBees are harmed in making the bees leave :willy_nilly:
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Although frisbee has offered one methods there is a less intrusive method of extraction

over the entrnace is placed and sealed is a flexible pipe to direct the bees to a close by area that a small brood box can be placed, once the bees find and exit and enter through the flexible pipe then extraction can start

There's stuff about that in JBM's post

and here
A good long term plan is what I am after. I have no idea what all those things are, but I shall look them up.

Will attaching a cone or tube annoy the bees in any way? Apart from whilst doing it.

I was watching them this morning and there are a few that enter with pollen on their legs. There are bees that wait around the entrance, and the ones arriving, do a little dance with them and go inside and the waiting dance partner flies off. Is this any clue as to whether they are established or the new swarm?
few points - if you've not noticed the bees before then sounds like the swarm arrived and set up home. could have been smoked out (maybe still can if a virgin queen).
the invasion of baby bees for a few days in spring doesn't make sense. more likely to be another type of bee.
We had wasps last year and when looking for those, I had seen flying activity in the direction we have now found these bees. I hadn't realised then.

The baby bee things came suddenly, lasted about two or three days and were all indoors, they arrived at the rate of about 50-100 per hour at least. Our windows don't open in the staircase, so we had to scoop them out onto flowers by the pint jugful. They were quite small and dark and fluffy with huge big black eyes. They were really cute, gentle and stupid. They only lived for about a day if they didn't get out. We had tiny bee hospitals set up in the garden of loads of saucers of honey with circles of dying bee babys being resuscitated. Some worked but most died.
Best not to feed any bees honey - unless it's saved from the same hive. Imported honey can contain disease spores that cause them far more problems long term than any short term gain feeding. If bees do need feeding use white sugar, mixed with equal weight of water to make a syrup. 1Kg of sugar in 1 litre of water or pro rata.
Thank you I shall remember that if it happens again.

The bees look as if they have calmed down now. There are not so many around the edge of the crack but they are still very busily in and out. Maybe it was because of the swarm, I presume swarming upsets the ones left behind for a bit. Does swarming make them aggressive?
I've been listening at the wall this evening and mostly it is just a fanning engine noise with the odd buzz. There is one very strident buzz though. Would there be any likelihood of that being the queen, or do they all chat to each other in hives?

We have a vague plan forming from all your advice here. The idea is to build a flat structure to walk on inbetween the two pitches of roof to try and mount another hive box thingy on the wall by the hole. Then somehow attach to the wall, a wire cone or funnel first and then cone it into the other hive box. Sort of.......ishy, and as far as I am understanding it.

I am reading up about all these things you say and seeing what they are. I am on a steep learning curve. Meanwhile the bees seem happy.

I am worried about bothering the area at all, as the idea of a swarm of very cross bees terrifies me. How do bees take to people messing about and building near their nest?
is it a long high pitch for about a second followed by a few short high pitched sounds , and is there more short sounds following but a slightly different tone
This one was a long tone that changed its pitch. The others I heard before were short bursts. I shall listen again.
Just sleepy, occasional buzzy fanning noises now, but it's night time. I wonder if there is a recording probe. If I didn't live here, I would feel more scientific about it and want to open it up like the Oxford natural history museum on their staircase. ...but I do, so I won't.
It sounds like it could be the queen piping a noise she makes when trying to find another queen due to be hatched which is why I asked if it was followed by a different tone as this would possibly be the other queen replying which would result in one being ousted by the other. I could be completely wrong but someone with more experience will be able to tell you better or even point you to the link on here of a queen piping. It is an amazing noise though when heard
First: they likely won't bother you if you don't bother them, but it's a dreadful idea to mess about with their front door without donning sting-proof clothing and veil. Most beekeepers wouldn't consider messing about with a hive of bees without at least putting on a beekeepers veil. Please don't try poking about with them without some sort of protective clothing - it's really asking for trouble.

I would suggest that you contact your local beekeepers assoc again and outline your plan. With any luck this will motivate someone to come out and help you: most beekeepers have lost swarms themselves so should be willing to at least try and help...they could be overwhelmed just now what with the good swarming weather.

It may be the case that they tell you the best action is for you to get Mr Pest Control to destroy them, but at least you'll know you've done your best and you'll not have had a severe stinging by trying an unprotected DIY approach.
I will be doing nothing without experienced beekeeper help. The bees are currently very happy where they are.

I'm not quite sure where I gave the idea that I intend to do anything either silly or unprotected. Please rest assured I have no intention of upsetting them. I'm terrified of bees and wasps..... I've only learned to be less so in protection of my children over the years.

I spoke to my neighbour at the weekend and he had two swarms collected from his garden, or it may have been two halves of the same swarm. They had collected themselves on his garden seat leg.

Sorry, mumsywithbees, I must've been reading the thread with my eyes closed....! Didn't mean to offend.
You haven't offended. I was merely surprised I had given the impression that I was going to do anything without proper advice and help. That is why I am here asking proper bee people first.

I had already been to the local swarm coordinator and they were not interested in such an inaccessible batch of bees when there are much easier ways to get swarms. The pest people are my last port of call because you can pretty much guarantee they will want to kill them.
From a fellow 'accidental' Bee keeper

A very interesting tale. You sound a very dedicated, capable and thoughtful family all very good traits for beekeeping!.
Sometimes a colony will try to swarm and for some reason the Queen does not go with them, in which case they return to their old home. I am wondering if this is what you witnessed originally?

Have you tried going in person to your local Beekeeper Association Meetings? If they are similar to our club there will be plenty of ideas and advice - there may even be tools and bee suits available to borrow. The beekeepers in our area are a decent lot and if your local beekeepers are the same you will gain a lot.

If your bees have been in situ for some time without treatment for varroa they must have plenty of resistance to this deadly mite which will make them a valuable strain to get hold of so I wish you luck and hope you decide to be a Keeper. [see ]

Do some surfing. I know I have seen [USA] manipulations that will remove a colony from a wall involving a wide tube [clear one is ideal] as mentioned by MuswellMetro. Have a looked at You Tube? There are even special bee vacuums made to collect bees. Bee keepers are a resourceful lot!

It may be in-advisable to take antihistamines ad hoc as they may contribute to increased sensitivity in the long run. Ibuprofen may also lead to sensitivity , see - this is a super website on all things Bee.

Will be looking out for more news from you – Bee lucky!

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