Honey bees in attic – what you need to know
How to find Honey bees in attic spaces
We rarely come across honey bees in attic spaces, but we regularly remove and relocate Tree bumble bee nests from attics and loft spaces, and we regularly treat wasp nests in attics but as for finding honey bees in attic spaces we would consider this a rarity.
On checking through the records of the last 75 honey bee removals that we have carried out only a few were actually visible from within the attic and none of them were really occupying the attic space as such. All of them had originated from within a cavity wall, a soffit space or an old chimney stack.
I was just looking across google to see how we were doing on searches for various terms and realised we have no ranking for this preferred search term, and after looking to see what was on offer by the websites ranking for it and as is often the case I found very little information of any substance, worse still there is some really shocking advice on how to remove bees in attic, fairly much always using poison by individuals that were getting mixed up between honey bees, wasps and bumblebees and have probably never tried what they are claiming to know about. So here’s some ‘hopefully’ useful advice and my rant over.
Inspecting for bees in attic spaces
Before we even enter a roof space when looking for bees in an attic we will first look at whats going on from the ground outside. If bees or wasps are using the attic then we will probably see that from the ground and know from that where we need to be looking in the roof. When we first enter a roof space during the summer we will be quite careful about how we open the hatch, the last thing we want to do is disturb a wasps nest built around the hatchway, fortunately we have never had that happen but we regularly hear about it and most times people end up having been stung.
We also never turn the attic light on. Most times we will carry out our inspections using red light so that once we locate what we are looking for it is not too badly disturbed and stirred up. Having found it we will retreat to a safe spot and put on a protective bee suit dependent upon what we have found and how we intend to deal with it.
Honey bees in attic
We rarely find a honey bees nest in the attic, sometimes we will see the top of a honey bee nest protruding out of a soffit area, or possibly out of a cavity wall, but actually finding a honey bee nest in an attic is very unlikely. In fact it would be completely out of character for honey bees in the UK to have a nest in such a large open void, they much prefer smaller spaces and are therefore far more likely to occupy an old chimney flue.
Tree bees in attic
Year upon year for the last 10 or more years we have been seeing more and more Tree bees in attic spaces. These bees are not native to the UK and have expanded their numbers considerably since they first started to colonise the UK. Apparently they are not considered to be harmful to UK bumblebee species and nor do they effectively compete for the same food as the UK native species – personally I have my doubts on all this, but we carry out best practice when dealing with these bees. There are many sites, even some that supposedly are experts on the Tree bumblebees that tell you that they like our native species are not an aggressive bumblebee. Clearly don’t know as much as they claim. Early on when we started receiving calls about these bees our advice was to just leave them be. But we then started getting calls back telling us that someone had been stung and they really needed someone to come and deal with them. We then turning up and being somewhat casual about the nest area as we would be with native bees and were ourselves getting stung. Now we will do our best to find the bee nest in the attic and remove it for relocation. These bee nests in the attic can be very difficult to find so we find them using predominantly three of our senses, smell, hearing and sight. We use our nose as these nests have a very distinctive sweet musky smell and sometimes stink of urine, our ears as once we start to disturb the bees the nest starts to buzz, and lastly we use our eyes to track bees to and from the nest.
Wasps in attics
Whenever we are called out to carry out wasp control on a nest that has an entrance leading to an attic we will carry out an inspection of the attic space to locate the wasp nest if possible. We do this because if we find the nest it can be far more effectively treated from within the attic than from the ground. If treated from within the attic the dust can be delivered straight into the nest using a lance, from the ground the best that can be achieved is that a large amount of insecticide dust can be blown thru the entrance that the wasps are using to get into the attic space, relying upon the wasps walking thru the dust to take it back to the nest.
Anything else I have missed: please let us know
If you think I have missed out on something that should be pointed out then please let me know using the comments form below, I feel like I have cut this one a bit short.
For further information on bee removal and relocation please use the contact form in the side bar or message button below, or CALL 02922 401649 to speak to someone local who knows all about it.
A general overview on honey bee removals can be found at ‘Live honey bee removal‘.
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‘. Having read that you may want to look at our article ‘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 EXPERTS and investigate out Tag cloud too.