How to Get Rid of Bees: Contractor Cost & DIY Tips
Find out how to get rid of bees by either hiring a professional contractor or by following some of our DIY tips. Free contractor quotes included.
Before we get into the meat of this article, we would like to emphasize the importance of preserving any bee colony you may find on your property. Bees are in danger of extinction, and we need to protect them to prevent major environmental and economical issues throughout the world.
The good news is that beekeepers and bee associations in your local community are often ready and willing to help relocate entire hives to more suitable locations. Honeybee keepers often need to repopulate their hives, which means they may even offer to purchase the beehive from you. Consider working with these local beekeepers before taking steps to eradicate the entire swarm.
Problems Associated with Bees
Yes, bees are an essential part of the ecosystem, but like all good things, they have their shortcomings.
Dangerous stings – People allergic to bee stings are in grave danger of life-threatening reactions with bees living close by. A bee sting can lead to health issues such as choking, breathlessness, anaphylactic shock, committing and even cardiac arrest. In extreme cases, it might lead to death. However, it’s not only allergic people who bees are a threat to. A regular person can develop allergic reactions if stung by ten or more bees concurrently.
Structural damage – damage doesn’t happen during the initial entrance but after a week or two of the bees residing in your property. The carpenter bees are especially notorious for the destruction of property as they burrow deep into wood especially in the attics or the deck. The honeybee too damages your property either directly or indirectly. First, bees will remove the building felt, vapor, or moisture barrier. Though they don’t feed directly on wood, metal or stucco, they do eat through paper. It is the reason why beekeepers use paper to initially separate two colonies they want to merge. Eventually, they will eat through the paper and merge. The same happens with the moisture barrier. Bees will chew through it to create space for the expanding colony.
Dry rot and mold – Rotting is often a result of a weak or a dead hive. If bees die or their numbers dwindle, they will not be able to cool the nest fast enough. The temperature outside will melt the wax, and the honey will fall on the wood stud below it. It results in mold, and dry rot.
Other rodents and insects – Bees attract other insects owing to the strong odor. One such insect is the wax moth. They will occupy the same hive with bees but areas that are less occupied, and feed on the wax. However, they lay their eggs on wood studs. The larvae though is drawn to the wood and not the wax. It eats the lumber first, before moving to the wax.
As pointed out, most structural, damage stems from honeybees, but not in their first few days. To avoid these catastrophic outcomes, you need to remove the insects within the first six days.
Types of Bees
Before you get rid of bees, you need to identify the bees you are dealing with. Only then, can you efficiently exterminate them. Unfortunately, homeowners associate bees with the honeybee which are only a fraction of bees on the planet. The good news is, you are likely to deal with only three bee species.
Bumblebee – Often confused with wasps and hornets, bumblebees are large fuzzy hairy insects with bright yellow and black striped bodies. They are not particularly aggressive and are often found on flowers. Despite being large, they live in rather small colonies of around 50 bees. They are therefore not as strong as honeybees, but their stings are still painful. They prefer to build their nests in or near the ground, and that’s why they are often found under the deck or in crawlspaces.
Honeybee – Honeybees are the most significant threat to humans. Living in colonies made up of between 8,000 and 60,000 bees, their strength is in their numbers. They are social and follow a hierarchical order where each bee knows its place and job. They often build their hives in corners away from human traffic, but this is still a threat. Finally, they live all year round but go dormant during winter. Therefore, don’t think that they have left your residence if you see reduced activity during the cold months.
Carpenter bee – The last insect you have to worry about is the carpenter bee. They can be a pain to deal with. They are responsible for the superbly drilled holes in wooden planks. However, they don’t damage wood their effects are limited to the surface. Also, they don’t feed on wood but drill holes to lay eggs.
Bee Eradication Costs
Some factors will influence the amount you pay to get rid of bees.
Where are the bees located?
The location will influence the cost the most. The easier it is to access the site of the hive, the cheaper it will be. However, if the insects are tucked away in difficult to get to areas such as crawl spaces or attics, or perched up in a tree, the costs are going to be higher. Finally, remove the bees quickly to avoid legal complications as it might be considered a health and safety issue.
The type of bee and their number
The bee species influences the cost in several ways. First is the location they prefer to dwell in. The cost of removing bumblebees will be high as they prefer living in crawl spaces or in the ground which makes them difficult to get to. Honeybees prefer residing in structures while carpenter bees prefer burrowing in wood. Second, different types of bees pose different levels of threat to removalists. Honeybees are the most dangerous and more so
Africanized bees because of their numbers and their hazardous stings. They are therefore more expensive to remove than carpenter or bumble bees. Finally, the number of bees will influence the amount you pay. Remember that a honey bee colony can consist of between 8,000 and 60,000 bees. Colonies with more bees are more expensive to remove than those with fewer bees.
DIY vs. Professional
You will pay more if you hire a professional than when you remove the bees yourself.
DIY Methods and Costs
A DIY bee trap is the cheapest option you have available to get rid of bees. However, it is only ideal with yard bees but not suitable for a home garden. You just need a large bottle of soda, and some sugary soda or any substance that attracts the insects. Start by cutting the top part of the soda bottle and inserting it upside down into the other portion. Sort of a funnel and staple. Fill the funnel (a couple of inches) with the sugary substance, and hang it in commonly invaded places. The bees will be able to fly in, but will not be able to fly out.
Sealing Holes and Getting Rid of Attractive Odors
Sealing holes can sometimes work. At first sight of bees, you should look for and seal all holes to prevent more bees from entering the wall cavity. By doing so, bees will move on to the next best spot. Also, only getting rid of hives will not work. The scent of unsettling honeycombs will attract new colonies, and you will have a recurring bee problem. You can fill the cavity with repellents to keep future colonies away or seal with a wire mesh and filler material. Nail the wire mesh over the hole, and cover it with a filler material. The filler prevents critters from chewing through.
If you have a recurring bee infestation problem, you might want to remove all elements that might be attracting them to your property. One such aspect is the flower garden. Though fragrant flowers add aesthetic value, bees love them too. Also, trim trees that draw bees
Vinegar Spray and Water
Vinegar is a top natural way of getting rid of bumble bees. Mix water and vinegar in equal portions and put in in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the colony in the dead of the night when the insects are slumbering. Also, spray the concoction on flowers and plants that attract the bees. Remember to wear protective gear as you will agitate the bees.
Spraying water on the colony is another useful and low-cost method you can use to get rid of bumble bees. By and large, the bugs love building hives in dry areas. This is the reason why they build nests in crawl spaces or under decks. Consequently, wetting their hives will force them to leave.
Plant & Plant-made Repellents
Another natural means of keeping bees at bay is to use a plant repellent. Though it is not the easiest at eradicating a bee infestation, it is ideal for keeping the bees at bay. The only shortcoming is that there are very few plant species which can repel these insects. They are Cyboposon Nardus, a lemongrass variety, Eucalyptus, and wormwood plant which is also used to make repellents.
If you are going to use repellents, mix 8 oz. of wormwood with four pints of water and boil. Let the solution rest for a few minutes and then mix with castile soap. Finally, spray the mixture directly on the bees. Remember to wear protective gear. Also, it’s best you spray the bees late in the night when they are inactive. Finally, don’t spray on plants that will be consumed. The chemicals are harmful to humans and stunt the growth of plants.
Creating NO BEE ZONES and Smoking Bees
Designing a no bee zone requires careful planning. You don’t want the odors of the repellents affecting your comfort. You can grow the repellents on the edges of your property to keep the bees at bay. Also, you can crush leaves and seeds of repellents in your yard or flower gardens to deter these insects. Also, seeing as these zones can be created about anywhere, you can place the repellents in entryways and areas that bees find attractive.
Smoking is another effective means of getting rid of bees or keeping them at bay. Smoke fools bees into thinking that their hive is on fire. As a result, they flee to look for safer habitats. It also makes them less aggressive and renders them unconscious. Smoking areas that are frequently affected will keep bees away. They just can’t reside in risky areas.
To smoke the bees, ensure you have protective gear, a traditional or a liquid smoker. Finally, you can use citronella candles to keep bees away.
Nest Tarping and Bee Lures
Tarping is placing tarps over hives and bricks and stones in the area. A tarp is a tarpaulin sheet or cover. We advise against this method as it kills the bees. The tarpaulin traps the bees in the hive limiting their access to food. If you intend to use a nest tarp, it is best you lay it at night when the insects are inactive. Nonetheless, wear protective gear or dark clothing to draw little attention to yourself.
Nest tarps aren’t eco-friendly. Bee lures, on the other hand, are a friendly way to get rid of bees. Seeing as they are attracted to sweet smells and food sources, cut a mango into small pieces and put in a bag. Place the bag a few feet (10 to 20) from the hive. Renew and move the bag every few days until the colony relocates. However, this works best with small hives.
Finally, you can use mothballs to get rid of bees. It is a natural repellent and one we advise you use as it does not kill bees. However, use it on small colonies. Seeing as the odor agitates bees, you don’t want to disturb a large settlement. Place mothballs in a sock and hang it near a hive or in areas that are often invaded. Remember though, mothballs are harmful and should be kept out of reach of children.
|Vinegar||$0.18 - $5 per ounce|
|Wormwood||$3.72 per ounce|
|Liquid bee Smoker||$7|
|Traditional Bee Smoker||$20|
Cost of Hiring a Professional
Once you have determined that you have a bee problem, you now call a pest control specialist. The bees can be removed or exterminated, but the choice you make will be influenced mainly by local regulations and the type of bees you are dealing with. In situations where you are dealing with honeybees that have taken residence in your wall cavities, you may be forced to open the walls to remove them. The specialist will also have to smoke the insects to quiet them after which s/he can proceed to remove the bees. After the job, the company can repair the walls though it will be at an added cost.
You might be forced to exterminate the bees if any local bee keeper doesn’t want them. Prepare yourself, and it will be a daunting task to get a company that kills bees. Most of these institutions offer removal services while others will pass on the job.
Any removal job will start with an inspection that will set you back between $150 and $250. An assessment helps determine the type of bees and the best way to get rid of them. After an initial evaluation, expect a fee of not less than $195 to remove the nest. The cost though is subject to how easy it is to get to the nest and the number of bees in the nest. After removal, you might have to hire a carpenter to repair the damage caused by bees or by the removalist. A carpenter will set you back around $70 an hour and might take 4 to 6 hours. Count yourself lucky if you are dealing with bumblebees, as they don’t destroy property.
In situations where the only way to get rid of bees is to kill them, expect a fee between $250 and $300. The contractors use a unique insecticide that not only destroys the bees but keeps future colonies away.
|Inspection||$150 - $250|
|Extermination||$250 - $300|
|Carpenter||$70+ an hour|
First, you might want to bee-proof your home. Professionals can help you with this. First, the task will begin with them inspecting your house for all possible ways in which bees can access your house and also identifying places where the bees can set up their hives. Anticipate a charge of between $200 and $300 for this. You will pay more if you need the company to bee-proof your house. However, most of these tasks are DIY friendly, and you only need the institutions to point you in the right direction.
First, seal all cracks and holes that bees can use to enter into your home. Sealing all possible entry points makes it difficult for bees to invade your home. Closing entry points go hand in hand with screens which are a simple and efficient way of keeping bugs out. Also, you want to keep your yard clean. Bees tend to gravitate towards dirt, and more so plastics and boxes. Keeping your yard clean goes a long way in keeping bees at bay. Finally, keep an eye on all water sources around you. Bees are, and other bugs are attracted to water sources. Ensuring there is no water lying around on your compound will go a long way in creating a bee-proof space.
How to Get a Credible Bees Specialist
You will be hiring a pest control specialist to take care of your bee infestation problem. Therefore, the tips outlined below can apply when you are hiring any other pest control specialist.
Qualified and Licensed
One might be fooled into thinking that getting rid of bees is a trivial task. However, contrary to popular belief, it is tasking and requires specialized training. And going by the dangers bees pose, you want to hire a credible technician. Ensure that the contractor is certified, qualified and licensed. Also, you want to ensure that their license is current. Most, states require technicians to attend annual training to keep their licenses up to date. However, don’t take their word for it. Ask for the license number and check with the local authorities to ensure it is legit.
The salesperson should be knowledgeable enough to answer your queries on controlling bees. However, that means you too need to know a bit about bees, and their control methods to ascertain the knowledge of the technician. Therefore, read about bees and the various control methods. Read about the various types that invade your house, the danger they pose, and the damage they cause. Only when you have a sound understanding of what you are dealing with can you ask pertinent questions, and gauge the salesperson understanding of bees.
Finally, you want to work with an institution with an impeccable reputation. An institution is only worth as much as its reputation. However, there is a lot that goes into establishing whether you are dealing with a proficient company or not. First, don’t trust the reviews on the company’s website. They are bound to put positive reviews. It is probably best if you check third-party review websites such as Angie’s List or Better Business Bureau.
How to Avoid Scams
Avoid “Licensed” Contractors
This sounds counterintuitive, but you should be very careful of licensed contractors. Often, the individual who comes to inspect the property is qualified, but s/he will send a different person to do the job. The individual who shows up to get rid of the bees is most times unqualified. Having been trained by the first person. To avoid this, make sure you check the qualification and license of the second individual.
Be Cautious of Free Inspections
Though free inspections are well intended, some individuals are using this to con people. It isn’t unheard of contractors claiming that you have a pest infestation. Some of these individuals will even carry dead bees to your property to prove their case. Always pay for a second inspection should any individual springs such a surprise on you.
There are different species of bees on the planet, therefore, avoid associating bees with the honey bees. The inspection bit is crucial to know which bee you are dealing with. Also, look for ways you can DIY before hiring a professional.