Honeybees – In House

Q: I don’t quite know how to advise my family about this problem with their house in Cocoa, FL. Bees have invaded the roof area. Some of the wood has been removed, but the spot is not very accessible.

A: Wow – great pictures!!

Honeybees have set up housekeeping in the eaves of the house. When not confined to a hive, they make irregular hanging combs as you’ve seen.

Removing them is not a job for a homeowner…you need a professional.

Also, Africanized honeybees are present in several parts of the country…..another reason why a beekeeper or pest control operator is best.

Call the local Florida Extension office to inquire if they have a list of local beekeepers. Because they are so high off the ground, I doubt a beekeeper would be interested in removing them.

If no one wants the bees, first job is to poison them…generally an easy task for a pest control operator. The next job is harder. A carpenter must create easy access and then remove every bit of wax and honey in the cavity. Otherwise foraging bees will be attracted to the spot and you’ll have the same problem once again.

If you, for some reason, want to try doing it yourself, this publication from Clemson gives all the details

Honey Bee Removal from Structures

A reader responds:
I am aghast at your advice to the Cocoa Florida person regarding removal of the bees from the eaves of the house. If no one wants them, poison them?!! I hear you say all the time that chipmunks are protected. I can’t imagine poisoning bees when the nasty little chipmunks are protected! Surely, with the colony collapse problems, someone will take them. Just had to vent!

Walter replies:
hmmm…I understand your point, but bees in the house can be a big problem if not removed. Their honey and wax melts in hot weather and drips down both inside and outside the house. Woodpeckers sometimes attack entry points to get at the larvae.

I’m certainly in favor of saving bees…but beekeepers are practical folks….and the risk to them in climbing up on a tall ladder to PERHAPS successfully capture a colony of bees is often not worth the risk and liability. In order for a colony to survive, the queen must be removed along with the workers. How would you like to be the person searching through thousands of angry honeybees to make sure you have the queen while high in the air?

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