Non destructive solution??

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

Willm 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Location
Stratford-Upon-Avon
Hive Type
other
Hi everyone, I’m really hoping someone is able to offer some advice. I’ve noticed a large number of bees entering/leaving the roof of my house near the ridge at the gable end. I’ve checked in the loft and there is no sign of them inside and also, fortunately, there are a few missing bricks that mean I’m fairly confident they are not in the cavity wall. I assume therefore they are entering into space behind the fascia board.

I’m pretty certain they are honeybees so I’ve tried phoning a couple of the local beekeepers/swarm collectors listed on the bbka website for advice, couldn’t get an answer from one and the other ultimately suggested it was a job for rentokill (to his own admission, he wasn’t terribly experienced) but I’m very much hoping there is a solution that doesn’t involve destroying them - hence asking here for another opinion.

I’d prefer to remove them if possible but if waiting a while would make relocating them simpler then that’s an option, assuming they’re not going to do major damage to the house in the meantime. They are not bothering us in the garden or house at the moment.

How concerned should I be that there might be a colony setting up in there? We’ve only just moved in so they could have been there for some time already?! Any advice on what to do next or who I should contact? We’re in Wolverton, a small village just north of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Thanks very much for any and all suggestions.
 

Attachments

madasafish 

Queen Bee
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
9,709
Reaction score
996
Location
Stoke on Trent
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
6 to 8 Langstroth jumbos, a few Langstroth and National nucs.
" I’m pretty certain they are honeybees "

Are there any dead ones on the ground under the eaves? If yes, try to take a closeup photo.

The reason I asked is that eaves are a favourite place for tree bumbles - a French immigrant- and at a distance they look like H Bees to the uninitiated. In close up they look like:

If numbers are low and they are honeybees, a competent experienced beekeeper could get them out but I am afraid a lot of hassle.

If tree bumbles, they will fie die out August. You can then close up the entrance and they will not return there next year - but maybe to other holes! They are harmless but can sting.
 

Willm 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Location
Stratford-Upon-Avon
Hive Type
other
" I’m pretty certain they are honeybees "

Are there any dead ones on the ground under the eaves? If yes, try to take a closeup photo.

The reason I asked is that eaves are a favourite place for tree bumbles - a French immigrant- and at a distance they look like H Bees to the uninitiated. In close up they look like:

If numbers are low and they are honeybees, a competent experienced beekeeper could get them out but I am afraid a lot of hassle.

If tree bumbles, they will fie die out August. You can then close up the entrance and they will not return there next year - but maybe to other holes! They are harmless but can sting.
Thanks for the reply, I have hung around for quite a while trying to get a better view of the bees themselves. Will try again and check if they’re tree bumblebees, I definitely fall into the uninitiated camp!
 

madasafish 

Queen Bee
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
9,709
Reaction score
996
Location
Stoke on Trent
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
6 to 8 Langstroth jumbos, a few Langstroth and National nucs.
Thanks for the reply, I have hung around for quite a while trying to get a better view of the bees themselves. Will try again and check if they’re tree bumblebees, I definitely fall into the uninitiated camp!

If they look fluffy with white tails, they are tree bumbles.

Binoculars help. Or a telephoto lens
 

Ian123 

Queen Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jun 20, 2018
Messages
3,228
Reaction score
903
Location
surrey
Hive Type
none
Very much as above a colony up that high should also not be a nuisance. However if you leave a light on and window open particularly on warm evenings you may have some unwanted guests.
 

Willm 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Location
Stratford-Upon-Avon
Hive Type
other
" I’m pretty certain they are honeybees "

Are there any dead ones on the ground under the eaves? If yes, try to take a closeup photo.

The reason I asked is that eaves are a favourite place for tree bumbles - a French immigrant- and at a distance they look like H Bees to the uninitiated. In close up they look like:

If numbers are low and they are honeybees, a competent experienced beekeeper could get them out but I am afraid a lot of hassle.

If tree bumbles, they will fie die out August. You can then close up the entrance and they will not return there next year - but maybe to other holes! They are harmless but can sting.
Much easier to find dead ones on the floor, they’re well camouflaged against the paving so hadn’t spotted them before. Hopefully the attached will be enough to ID.4DFFC204-B11B-46EA-9DD8-8093458FADF9.jpeg7FC1A006-08BF-4F23-A095-5C239E8DB5D7.jpeg
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
21,418
Reaction score
3,170
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
Honey bees
Have a look at this thread. There are some contact numbers there
 

Willm 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Location
Stratford-Upon-Avon
Hive Type
other
Thanks for confirming, I’ll have a read of that thread too.

Generally would you suggest we need to get these relocated sooner rather than later?
 

madasafish 

Queen Bee
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
9,709
Reaction score
996
Location
Stoke on Trent
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
6 to 8 Langstroth jumbos, a few Langstroth and National nucs.
Sooner is easier: numbers could double (or more) by summer.
 

Swarm 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
8,253
Reaction score
1,040
Location
South Wales
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
more than 30, less than 100.
It's not so much the bees as the stored honey which is the potential, leaky problem.
 

Willm 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Location
Stratford-Upon-Avon
Hive Type
other
Thanks for the info, have a couple of numbers for relocation companies as no beekeepers seem interested (understandable since access both to the height and getting behind the fascia is rather tricky). Will update here once sorted.
 

pargyle 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
12,546
Reaction score
2,613
Location
Fareham, Hampshire UK
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
6
Thanks for the info, have a couple of numbers for relocation companies as no beekeepers seem interested (understandable since access both to the height and getting behind the fascia is rather tricky). Will update here once sorted.
It's a really difficult job - few beekeepers (certainly at hobby level) will have the expertised to dismantle the structures necessary to get at them and rebuild them afterwards .. plus adding the issue of working at height and most won't have insurance cover for this type of work. Not really surprising that people were reluctant to get involved ...
 

viridens 

Field Bee
Joined
Jul 24, 2010
Messages
717
Reaction score
59
Location
Somerset
Hive Type
warre
Number of Hives
4. Experimenting with Warres after 30 years of Nationals
Willm. In my opinion they are unlikely to do any damage to the structure of your home or bother you if you don't bother them. Removing them will be difficult, and far more likely to cause damage, including the "potential leaky problem" of stored honey mentioned above.
I have known a number of householders who have happily co-existed with bees in their roofs, and they will have been in yours since last spring or summer. Do you have a particular reason to remove them?
 
Last edited:

Willm 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Location
Stratford-Upon-Avon
Hive Type
other
Willm. In my opinion they are unlikely to do any damage to the structure of your home or bother you if you don't bother them. Removing them will be difficult, and far more likely to cause damage, including the "potential leaky problem" of stored honey mentioned above.
I have known a number of householders who have happily co-existed with bees in their roofs. Do you have a particular reason to remove them?
Thank you. I’d read very mixed advice about potential issues of leaving them be. At the moment we have no issues with them and they are not bothering us at all but it’s early in the season so it might get worse. But, that being said, we’ve only just moved in, so there is a reasonable chance they’ve been established there for some time anyway.

We’re very much in favour of coexisting if the risk of them causing significant issues is relatively low, opinions on here seem mixed too, tbh! The fascia/bargeboards/cladding do need replacing anyway (along with a host of other projects!) so I’m not overly concerned by damage to those but if they migrate inside the wall or start bothering the kids then we will need to do something sooner.

I’m going to get quotes for removing now and go from there...
Thanks for the advice so far
 

drex 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
2,884
Reaction score
344
Location
N.E. Essex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
10
If you are going to have fascia etc replaced some time, I would wait, if you can, until that time. A local beek is far more likely to do a removal, if there is a professional builder around to repair/ replace the damage
 

Newbeeneil 

Drone Bee
Joined
Jan 1, 2018
Messages
1,889
Reaction score
793
Location
Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
40 plus 25 that I maintain for clients.
If you are going to have fascia etc replaced some time, I would wait, if you can, until that time. A local beek is far more likely to do a removal, if there is a professional builder around to repair/ replace the damage
I agree with drex, wait until there is scaffolding up then most beeks would be happy to remove and let the builders repair.
 

Pembroke 

House Bee
Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
136
Reaction score
68
Location
Carmarthen
Hive Type
commercial
Number of Hives
4
Make sure any remover takes all the nest especially all the comb. You don't want to exchange a roof full of bees for a roof full of all the other insects and small animals in the district that have suddenly found an undefended free meal.
 

Sutty 

New Bee
Joined
Mar 11, 2021
Messages
47
Reaction score
34
Location
Glossop, North Derbyshire
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
2
I read of a method of removal many years ago, intended for removal from inaccessible places like cavity walls, which I haven't seen mentioned on here in any of the removal threads I've read.
It involves building a small shelf very close to the entrance they are using, the entrance is then covered with a very long cone of mesh with a hole in the tip - this means the bees can exit but struggle to enter. A hive containing a small colony is then placed on the shelf. Unwanted bees are unable to enter their old home and end up entering the hive. Over a few weeks the unwanted colony is weakened to the point of dying, and the (now strengthened) hive is removed.
The dead colony can now be sealed up. Once it's certain the colony is dead it can be left open (maybe with some honey smeared nearby) to encourage local bees to rob out any remaining stores (to avoid damage from leaking honey). Finally cover the entrance with mesh small enough to prevent bee access but to allow waxmoth to destroy the combs.
Obviously this requires a friendly beekeeper (who gets a strengthened colony out of it), and some patience.
I've not tried this in practice, read it ages ago, but it sounds like it would work.
 

Earthboy 

House Bee
Joined
Mar 19, 2021
Messages
232
Reaction score
76
Location
Shawnee, Democratic People's Republic of Oklahoma
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
Depends
First of all, I am in Oklahoma, USA, so I could not help save these bees although I do this professionally (check the pics on my FB here: Log into Facebook to envision how they might look like inside the cavity; scroll down to see all the pics under different circumstances like bees in the soffit, for instance)

1. Bee rescue is the easiest part of this "open-heart surgery."
2. Locating and getting access to the nest is the most time-consuming and costly part of the operation.
3. Given the height of the nest, one needs a cherry picker (safer) [a bucket truck] or some sort of safe scaffolding (one can rent these in America).
4. I use a bee vacuum set very low that does not kill the bees but effective.
5. Depending on when they had moved in, the job might take an hour or two. (Do comparison shop: do you have insurance? are you an independent contractor? what is your estimate?)
6. Check with your home-owner's insurance policy to see if bee-removal is covered or if not, how high is your deductible as no one will do this for free.

On the other hand,

1 If their flight path is high and thus they do not interfere with humans and pets, you can let them bee; after all, they need all the help they can get. Be a citizen scientist who can observe their comings and goings, year in and year out, giving your kids/grand-kids an opportunity to become another Darwin.
2. If your summer heat is such that it might melt the wax and honey, they tend to ooze through the electric wiring and the outlet, but I have not seen this hazard over close to 100 rescues.
3. The spitfire honeybee squadron will help your and your neighbors' "Victory Gardens" with fat tomatoes and squashes, fat as the arms of German barmaid holding a "yuge" beer mug,, among others. ;) (no gender insensitivity intended)

So, share your habitat with honeybees and let them bee.
 

Earthboy 

House Bee
Joined
Mar 19, 2021
Messages
232
Reaction score
76
Location
Shawnee, Democratic People's Republic of Oklahoma
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
Depends
DSCF7886.JPG

I tired to check my archive to find a pic that might explain your bee situation. It's likely that they are on the very edge of the eave. Why? for maximum ventilation. It appears the deeper they move in, the hotter the temperature in summer in that "dead air space." The pic shows after I have removed the fiberglass insulation right under the roof. This is a swarm that has just moved in only about several hours ago. The location was very hot, Turkish bath hot, or sweat lodge hot, as grapes of sweat clogged my vision during my rescue.DSCF7882.JPG
 

Latest posts

Top