Bees offer many benefits (honey and pollination, to name a few), but coming face to face with a bee hive, or worse, several bee hives, when you aren’t expecting it can be a frightening experience. Here are some bee hive facts for keeping you and your family safe from stings.
What is a bee hive?
There are many types, but commonly seen hives have a waxy appearance and a honeycomb shape with tiny openings where the bees live. Honey is stored in the upper portion of the comb while pollen is stored in the lower cavity.
Where are bee hives located?
Honey bees typically avoid nesting in occupied buildings, but when they do take up residence in one, they’re most often found in the eaves or soffits of a house, in east- or southeast-facing locations. Bees need just 1/8 of an inch to get into a cavity and will fill that cavity until it’s at capacity. Once all the cavities are filled, bees may move to the roofline.
It may seem that bees are not harming the building, but they can leave behind a sweet sticky mess that can attract other insects and even seep through ceilings or walls. If the nest is in the roof area, the repairs could be especially expensive.
Bees also tend to nest behind bricks, usually in places where no grout was applied to allow for ventilation, as well as between aluminum or wooden siding and drywall. Bee hives can also be found inside the 4-inch-by-4-inch spaces in cinder blocks and concrete, and if you have a shed for your lawnmower or pool supplies, hives may be settled underneath the floor.
The hollow of trees is a preferred location for honey bees. You may discover a droning sound (like that of an engine) coming from a dead or hollow tree on your property. Keep your distance so as not to disturb the swarm. Sometimes the tree is just a temporary resting place (about 72 hours) for the bees while more suitable locations are being scouted. Always practice caution.
What do I do if/when I find a bee hive?
Bee hives set away from regular human activity should be left alone. However, should you find a hive in a high-traffic area where the bees will likely be disturbed, DO NOT attempt to remove it yourself. Handling bee hives is a duty best left to a trained beekeeper or pest specialist armed with the appropriate tools.
Make sure to notify anyone in the area of the location of the hive so no one accidentally upsets it. Maintain a safe distance from the bee hive and call a beekeeper or professional pest specialist to come and safely remove the bees. Remember, even hives that look abandoned can potentially have a swarm still living inside.
Take a picture of the nest to show to the experts at Terminix®. We’re committed to defending your home and have more than 85 years of experience dealing with bees and other pests.