Can bees be removed without killing them?
Firstly, it’s not illegal to kill honeybees. Secondly, yes there are very few situations that bee can not be removed from without killing them. We along with many others don’t believe that killing a honey bee colony is the correct way of dealing with a honey bee nest.
After carrying out a simple web search about honey bee removal we clicked on one of the google suggested questions “Can bees be removed without killing them?” unfortunately we found some shocking advice being offered on the recommended page, but they are not the only ones offering similarly poor advice, so we have taken the info offered by this site as a base for this article, its not that we are picking on that one site, its just that google offered it up, as it does many other sites depending upon the search term the page has been optimised for rather than for the accuracy of information.
Because the advice offered is so bad we felt it necessary to try to correct & improve it.
Apparently according to the page there are five ways to remove honey bees without killing them, or hurting them in any way, below we will look at these 5 ways in an objective manner.
Five ways to remove honey bees without killing them.
Smoking them out
Here a great example of not being clear about what you are saying and no mention of any of the pitfalls.
It’s interesting to read in the same section that this is a guaranteed way of removing the bees and the only downside is that its inconvenient for the bees, and its better than suffering from an anaphylactic shock. Yet further down you read that when you “open” the fire you need to move because the bees become agitated and aggressive when smoked and you don’t want to be anywhere near them.
The whole paragraph is wrong in pretty much every aspect, and shows no understanding of bees & smoke, yet many will see it and believe it because of its ranking on google.
We have written a page on smoking honey bees out which covers this subject more extensively. Beware there is some very bad advice on this on the internet and also a lot of bee keepers / swarm collectors offer a lot of poor advice on this topic.
Here we read about how good the use of citronella sticks & sprays are for removing bees without killing them.
We have never used citronella sticks or citronella spray to move honey bees on, so I can neither confirm or negate the likely hood of success.
What I do know is that its not a well known method for getting rid of honey bees, and probably does not resolve the issues with honey stores, bee detritus, secondary SPI infestations, or future bee swarms reinfesting the same location.
Interestingly I have never seen citronella sticks being used in bee smokers either, but you never know a new fad maybe on its way.
The bees are highly unlikely to want to swarm from an established colony, this may or may not be suitable for a recently arrived swarm. If it is at all suitable for pushing a swarm on, then its chances of doing so is going to be subject to the bees location, often when smoking or deterring recently arrived bees they are pushed further into the property or other more inaccessible location on the property.
So be very careful if following this advice.
Relocate a honey bee nest
In the statement below I love the bit that states “Did you know that bees in a beehive always follow the queen? A professional pest control service will simply take care of the queen, meaning that the bees will move away within days – all of it without hurting the bees in any way.“
What has this person been doing – smoking citronella sticks?
What is meant by “A professional pest control service will simply take care of the queen“.
Firstly in what way is a pest control technician, a “professional“?
How does anyone, be they a pest controller or otherwise “simply take care of the queen“. We must have missed a trick or two, or maybe our magic wands are not good enough.
“Having taken care of the queen (guillotined or hung drawn & quartered?) the bees will move away within days“. Now at this point I am having to be careful of the language I use, someone has definitely been smoking too much citronella. Any beekeeper will tell you that if a colony loses its queen it isn’t going to get up and go, it remains in situ, simply declining over time.
There’s absolutely no mention about how to prevent another honey bee swarm turning up in the future and reinhabiting the location.
What a load of baloney, but good luck to anyone relying on this as a method for removing honey bees without killing them, be interesting to see a study on just how many peppermint plants you need in your garden to prevent honey bees occupying some other part of your property – I think its unlikely anyone will be doing one soon though.
The best bee removers locally? – SwarmCatcher: there is no question about it
I love the fact that they have a question mark at the end of the heading, do you think it might be a little tongue in cheek?
Its only now that I see their pest control team “has proven again and again their ability to remove bee swarms without killing them in the process”.
Removing a bee swarm is completely different to removing an established honey bee nest.
We have a page where we try to explain the difference between a bee swarm and an established colony.
If its a bee swarm you have then your best option should be to contact your local bee keeping association, the best starting point for this is probably the BBKA, looking at the local BBKA page about swarm removals I see that they suggest the BBKA page mentioned above is the one to go to.
Further, looking at the images used on a couple of their articles it shows inappropriate access to a bee colony in a chimney.
This method of access may have been approved of 20 years ago, and may have seemed brave & impressive 20 years ago (it would not have been so macho had there been an accident), these days it is totally inappropriate, a lot of businesses and organisations that we deal with would be shocked to see such images on our site, so much so that the H&S department would probably insist on a different business being used.
Similarly a lot of the information is as out of date, mixed in with some good stuff alongside an interesting article about removing bees from a chimney where there is a reference to the working at height regulations (soon to be lost as result of our leaving the EU – could only happen in the UK).
Anyone using similar access today would not be insured and a claim against the property owner could well bankrupt the property owner, so do be warned.
If you have an established colony that you need removing then please Contact Us.
We are very proud to be the UK Bee removal specialists.