Honey bee cut-outs
Some form of honey bee cut-out is the most usual removal method for successfully getting rid of a honey bee nest that has been in situ for any length of time. Whether the honey bees are in a roof, a chimney, a wall cavity or some other place a honey bee cut-out will most likely be the most effective method for removal.
One of the photos I like most is of us removing a bee colony from a chimney (that had previously been dropped beneath the roof line) by using the honey bee cut-out method, in a dark roof space. Its a dramatic looking image, we had taken numerous courses of brickwork out of the wall from the top of the bee colony running down to the bottom of it, exposing the full height of the colony. We could do this as it was enclosed within a chimney, that had been dropped beneath the roof line.
This is not something we would usually do even back then, this was an agreed upon exception as there was a large crack running through the flues brickwork anyway, requiring the brickwork to be rebuilt anyway.
The only times that we remove numerous bricks to expose a colony is when a chimney is to be removed or a wall is to be demolished – so not that often. In fact we do our utmost to remove as few bricks as possible. On a chimney this is likely to be one possibly 2 bricks, hopefully from an unexposed face.
How to remove honey bees in walls – using the honey bee cut-out method
There are 3 main methods for the removal of bees from within a wall cavity. The most usual is to carry out what’s generally referred to as a cut-out (which we discuss further below), more unusually a trap-out (more on this at honey bee trap-outs) may be used to remove the bees, the brood and hopefully some honey stores, and even less often an exclusion to remove just the honey bees, honey bee exclusion.
Each has its advantages and disadvantages and we discuss the pros & cons of each method on this site.
A fourth method is to utilise natural oils, this is a useful method if working with newly arrived swarms.
Some use smoke, which generally speaking is a big no no – see our page Smoking Honey Bees.
Having honey bees in a wall cavity can seem like an impossible situation to remedy, especially when you go looking on the internet and see people knocking or cutting out huge holes in a wall to get access to the honey bee nest hidden behind.
SwarmCatcher specialise in removing and relocating honey bees in walls and take great pride in removing the bee nest by removing as few a bricks as possible. We see it as being akin to keyhole surgery, so rather than remove a 100 bricks we may remove 7 bricks in key positions to allow for the same result (the removal of the bees, the comb and any honey stores) but with less damage to the wall for both the long-term and the short-term.
In situations where there are bees in walls we will use one of a couple of options for their removal dependent upon the type of wall and how long the honey bees have been in the wall.
By using a honey bee cut-out we eliminate the need to use any toxic pesticides.
How we relocate honey bees from within the walls is mainly determined by the amount of time the bees have been in situ and the type of wall cavity it is.
Unfortunately like all things the longer they bees have been in the wall the more difficult and costlier it becomes.
The other main factor is the type of wall cavity the bees have occupied; we remove bees from all sorts of walls, sometimes by carrying out a honey bee cutout from within the building, other times from outside of the building.
How long have the honey bees been present?
If the bees have only recently turned up then they can often be pushed out.
Ideally this should be done as quickly as possible. The longer they are in situ the more difficult it becomes to get rid of them. So as time goes by and the longer the bees remain in situ the more expensive it becomes to remove the bees.
If the bees have literally just turned up then don’t wait and see if the bees are going to leave on their own accord, it rarely goes the way you would like. Time is of the essence: look at our page Urgent warm Eviction.
The Honey bee cut-out is the best (& most common) method for removing honey bees
Without any questions at all; the honey bee cut-out is the best method for bee removal, and is not nearly as intrusive as it may sound.
These days when looking on the internet you will see sections of wall knocked out showing the extent of the comb behind. This is totally unnecessary and is not the best way to carry out a cutout.
Similarly you will see chimney stacks being knocked down, again totally unnecessary.
Here’s an example of a totally unnecessary dismantling of a chimney stack that we saw in a local newspaper in
Usually all that is required is experience, knowledge & technique. Unfortunately this does not make for great photos.
More often than not there is only a need for a few bricks to be carefully removed (so they can be put back in place on completion of the honey bee removal process). The careful selection of the bricks to be removed will allow full access to all the bees, the comb and the honey so allowing for the honey bee colony to be successfully removed & relocated to an apiary.
Honey bee cut-out from a chimney
More often than not there is no option other than using a honey bee cut-out from a chimney. Over time and with experience we have been able to reduce our impact on a chimney considerably. These days we often don’t need to remove much more than a couple of bricks and the flaunching (cement top).
Whilst editing this page a came across a set of images that represented everything that need not be done for a honey bee cut-out from a chimney.
Yet so often we hear that people have been told they need a chimney rebuild to have the bee colony removed. This really is not the case.
I can only think of one other job that we dismantled during a honey bee cut-out, again this was on a chimney, and one that they wanted removed. We had volunteered to carry out the removal much to our regret as it was probably the most solid chimney we had ever come across.
Be warry of any business suggesting that whole sections of wall or chimney need to be removed – they really don’t and further more probably shouldn’t be.
When I initially saw the article these images were being shown in I was more & more shocked as I ran down the page. My only hope is that they did not rebuild the chimney, and roofed over the shortened stack after proofing it properly. looking at the included images it looked as if the bees had left sometime before and that the only interest in the nest was from a wasp or two.
Clearly the material needs to be removed and the cutout was necessary but we would likely have carried out this removal taking out one brick.
Honey bee cut-outs: From the inside or the outside
A honeybee cut-out can be carried out from within the property or from the outside of the property dependent upon circumstances and accessibility, if the removal can be managed successfully from within the property this usually offers a good saving, especially if scaffolding would otherwise have been needed.
Honey bee cut-outs offer immediate results for those in a hurry
The honey bee cut-out method offers a fairly immediate solution for the removal of the bees and is usually completed within the day, reinstatement may go into a second day depending on the situation..
Our honey bee relocation Specialist is waiting for you!
Swarmcatcher are the UK honey bee colony removal specialists that provide an ethical eco-friendly bee removal and relocation service across the UK.
For further information on bee removal and relocation please use the contact form in the side bar or message button below, or CALL 01297 441272 to speak to someone local who knows all about it.
If you are looking for information on removing bees from a chimney check out our article ‘Honey bees in chimney‘, or if you repeatedly have bee swarms take up home in your chimney you may want to look at our page ‘Why honey bees like chimneys‘ & ‘Everything you need to consider when removing bees in a chimney‘ which is a fairly extensive overview.
For examples on removals of honey bees from these and other more unusual places check thru our blog page Honey Bee Removal Blog and investigate our Tag cloud too.
Don’t forget a general overview on honey bee removals which can be found at ‘Live honey bee removal‘.