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Removing Honey Bees From Inside A  Wall
( Part of the information below is courtesy of  Ohio State University, Department of Entomolgy 
Authored by William F Lyon and  James E. Tew

An established honey bee colony will sometimes divide itself, and one or more swarms will leave the hive. The new swarm may cluster for a while on a tree limb or bush near the old hive while scout bees search for a suitable place to establish a new home. Usually scout bees find a hollow tree, but occasionally they will choose the wall voids of a home. Unfortunately, bees may nest in the wall or attic some distance from where they enter the wall.Carbaryl (Sevin) 5 percent Dust is an insecticide registered to exterminate bees from dwellings. If it is not applied properly, persistent efforts may be needed to finally accomplish the job. Sevin dusted into the bee entrance may not reach the nest, which may be some distance from the entrance. Foraging bees passing through the dusted area will be killed, but the queen and house bees that stay home to take care of brood and tend to the nest may continue to live for some time. When house bees (young bees that remain in the hive) mature to take on field work chores, the colony may recover, unless the insecticide treatment is reapplied. Quicker and surer results will be received if the nest itself is treated.The nest can be located sometimes by tapping the wall with a hammer and listening for an answering buzz from the bees. Once you know the general area of the hive, you can put a water glass on the wall and put your ear to the open end of the glass, and then slowly slide the glass around listening to the buzz behind the wall to locate the precise area occupied by the bee hive.] When the nest is located, a hole may be bored, preferably through the outside wall, so insecticide can be applied onto the nest.


Photo by Robert Doupe

This is a section of an inside wall beneath a window showing the sheetrock removed and you can see the combs that the honey bees have built.

Robert did this job himself after making sure he had located where the hive was behind the wall and killed all the bees following the cautions on this page !

Established swarms are comprised of more bees, more comb, and more honey. Established colonies are best killed in late winter or early spring when their population is smallest. Treatment is effective when done in the very early spring, such as February or March, when stored honey is at its lowest level and the bee population is lowest and weakest. New swarms are more easily killed soon after they enter the building. The best time of day to apply the insecticide is late afternoon when all the bees are at home. The bees will be less cross on nice days than when the weather is overcast or rainy. Do not plug the hole immediately after dusting the nest because this may force the agitated bees into the living quarters of the home. Bees will find or make unused or new exits, sometimes indoors.

When the need is to remove bees,wasps and yellow jackets,contracting pest exterminators is the only way you can guarantee the task.

After the bees are killed, if the hive is inside a structural wall or ceiling remove the nest if at all possible, without causing excessive structural damage. Destroy the comb and honey, especially if they were treated with insecticide. Spraying the bees with raid or another pesticide is just plain dumb. What If you do kill them with spray and do not remove the dead bees and the hive? Now you have a wall full of decomposing bees and wax and honey that is soaked in poison.

Bees In A Wall


If the nest is not removed, the wax cells may melt or be riddled by wax moths and leak honey. Excess honey may seep through interior walls and ceilings, leaving permanent stains.

Wax combs near the inside walls of a chimney are fire hazards. The comb and its contents may melt when exposed to hot summer temperatures without bees to keep it cool, especially in walls facing the south. 

After a dead colony has been removed and the structural damage caused in removing the colony has been repaired, clean the area thoroughly with soap and hot water. Paint and carefully plug all outside entrances through which the other possible bee swarms might enter. Odors left by the killed colony can linger for a long time and attract other swarming bees. 

Click here to watch this video of honey bees being removed from a wall

Pest control companies may be contacted to destroy the bees if needed. Although killing adult bees is usually fairly easy, removal of the comb and honey can be very difficult. It might be useful to have a beekeeper and carpenter or beekeeper with carpenter abilities present to assist. Bees from other colonies can also be a nuisance around the home as long as honey remains to be robbed from the killed colony. Scavenging insects, such as carpet beetles, wax moths, ants, or flies, are also attracted to killed bee colonies. 

Even if you are not sensitive to stings and are experienced in extermination work, it is best to be protected from distracting stings when exterminating bees. You may be in precarious positions, such as on a ladder or on a roof, with stinging bees present. At least wear a beekeeper's veil and leather gloves. 

Trapping Bees
Trapping Method 

Honey bees can be removed effectively by trapping; however, the process takes four to six weeks. While it solves the problem of opening up the wall and removing the comb and honey, it may not be appropriate if family members are allergic to bee stings. 

To trap, place a wire mesh cone (18-inches long with 3/8-inch opening at the apex) over the nest entrance hole.

Place a hive containing a queen and a few workers as close as possible to the "trap." The bees can leave the building, but they cannot get back in and will settle in the decoy hive. In three to four weeks, spray the old nest with a nonresidual insecticide, such as resmethrin, to kill the queen and any remaining workers. Then remove the trap and allow the bees in the decoy hive to go back in the building to retrieve their honey. Two weeks later, remove the hive and close up the nest entrance. Destroy the honey if the colony has been poisoned with an insecticide. Trapping is usually not practical and results may be unsatisfactory. Few beekeepers are interested in trapping. Established swarms (those with comb) cannot be collected easily like the free-hanging temporary swarms and are usually not economical for a beekeeper to remove. 
Smoker A bee smoker is valuable to help calm the bees and lessen their tendency to sting. 

A Different Approach By One Bee Removal Company

"We are a company that specializes in Live Structural Bee Removal, and we are based in the South and South West part of the U.S. We actually go into a structure, remove the bees alive if possible, remove the honeycomb, and repair the structure. We have always preferred live removals, but in the wake of CCD we are trying to elevate the whole industry by requiring our company to do a minimum percentage of live removals."

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Site updated January 1, 2017

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