Home    Bees For Sale    Products      Educational Videos      Pollen        Links 

 Bee Removal


Detailed List of Bee Removal Considerations



The largest swarm Louella and I have ever caught was from our own bee hives.  This is approximately 50,000 bees


Taking Orders for 2018



4 Frame Nuc


Package Bees 2-3 #


Package Bees 3 #




Do you need a Swarm Removed?

Call Us: 



505 688-6210 cell


Detailed List of Bee Removal Considerations




Honey Bee Swarms


Swarm Removal


Bee Removal

(Bumble bees, 

yellow jackets,

paper wasps,

ground nesting bees and honey bees)


Dealing with an Africanized Bee Hive


Honey bees are declining.  True, but it is difficult to remove a hive from within a home or structure and keep it alive without detailed management practices.  Each bee colony in a structure is different. Some we can remove by:

  1. Cutting into the wall and removing the hive

  2. Removing exterior sheathing

  3. Entering into an attic


Other colonies have to be removed over time by channeling the bees into a temporary hive via wire or hoses to be remove to another location at a later date (up to 30-45 days)


And there are some colonies that we cannot remove at all and have to be exterminated with various treatments.  The reasons vary but may include:

  1. Aggressive nature of bees to everyone around them

  2. Risks related to allergies

  3. Fear

  4. The structure is not fully accessible


Illegal to kill bees.  False.  People may have told you that you cannot kill bees.  This is false.  As much as we might want to save the bees it is not always practical.  But, there is no law anywhere in this land that prohibits you from exterminating bees.


Relocated bees do not do well.  True.  The best time to remove bees and have them survive is as a swarm.  (To see pictures of various swarms click here).  If we can retrieve these swarms in March, April and May they will survive until next year, but swarms captured after June 1st will not have time to build up enough bees and stores to live through the winter.  We will combine these later swarms with other weaker hives of other swarms to give them a better chance to make it.


Bees removed from a property's structure with the honey, beeswax and pollen rarely will survive unless the beekeeper pays close attention to the needs of the bees.  We have to manipulate the bees and combine them with other weaker colonies to help them build up their numbers.  This is not economical for beekeepers to spend this much time on a hive that may die any way.


The one method that does seem to work the best, but is time consuming is to seal off all entrances of escape for the colony except one.  Then we create a special cone shaped exit out of window screen wire that allows the bees to leave but not return.  We then place a small temporary hive  (1/2 the size of a normal 1 story hive) within inches of the exit hole of the screen wire.  The bees upon returning from the field will not be able to enter the old hive and after exhaustive efforts will give up and enter the temporary hive and remain there.  This will deplete most all of the foraging bees from the old hive.  It will take 30-45 days for all the brood (baby bees) to emerge from the cells and become foraging bees to accomplish this.  We leave the temporary hive for an extended time after we remove the screen and allow the new hive to transfer the remaining honey in your structure.  After flight activity has ceased in and out of your home we remove the temporary hive to a new location to continue to survive.   Click here to see more information from Malcolm T. Stanford on an article he has published in 1992.



There are other advantages to this method of bee removal. 

  1. Very few bees die in the structure, lessening the lingering odor of dead bees

  2. Most of the honey will be consumed by the bees

  3. We insure the bees in the structure are gone and call backs are eliminated

The disadvantage can bee timing.  This method succeeds if done from late March to mid October.  We need to secure a frame of brood and place it in the temporary hive and not allow it to freeze.


Problems with killing bees in a structure.  There are many problems with killing bees in a structure and if it is possible should be avoided.

  1. Dead bees will begin to stink when it gets hot and the odor will last for quite some time.

  2. Dead bees, honey and wax will attract other pests such as ants and wax moths.

  3. Honey will attract robber bees to clean out the honey until it is gone.  This can be good, but will be a nuisance until they are done

  4. The smell of honey, wax, pollen and propolis will attract new swarms to move into the old nest unless the voids and entry points are sealed.

  5. Honey and wax will melt and run down the walls and may penetrate your wall coverings.

  6. Honey may stain your wall coverings even further



We guarantee our work for 30 days.  We will also seal entry points to prevent future problems.  The average cost for nest removal is $195.00.   Call us at 505-286-4843 or on our cell phone at 505-688-6210.



Listed below are several well written articles on removing bees from structures that should be read:


  1. Removing Honey Bee Nests by Malcolm T. Stanford

  2. Clemson University fact sheet on Honey Bee Colony Removal From Structures


Removing Honey Bee Nests

Malcolm T. Sanford

Removing honey bee nests from cavities (walls of houses, hollow trees) is a time-consuming, labor-intensive practice that should be undertaken by professionals. Continuous honey bee flight activity to and from a hole in a building is an indication of a nest. Many times, this can be confirmed by listening for bees buzzing inside.

An experienced beekeeper usually can remove bees and combs from easily accessible places like hollow trees, but often bees live in building walls or are tucked away where they are impossible to reach.

Simply killing bees in a cavity with an insecticide can have serious consequences:

  • Dead bees and dead brood will decay and produce strong odors.

  • Stored honey can absorb moisture and ferment or overheat without adult bees to tend it. This results in burst cappings, producing leaking honey from combs which can penetrate ceilings or walls, causing stains, sticky puddles around doors and windows, and softening of drywall.

The quickest way to remove bees from buildings is to kill them and remove all traces of the nest. In most cases an inner wall or ceiling must be removed, however, calling for the services of a building contractor. It is essential to remove all honeycomb and to plug all holes to be certain there is no way for bees to reenter the area. Any remaining bits of bees wax emit highly attractive odors to swarming bees.

There are a number of ways to kill bees. It is important to exterminate a colony when all bees are on the nest (dusk or dawn). This reduces the number that might be in the field and return to cause problems. Many persons use commercially available wasp and hornet spray for killing the bees. This knocks down the insects quickly and can be used from a distance. Dust formulations of labeled pesticides may also be pumped onto an enclosed nest. There is more and more evidence that soapy water is also a very good material to use that is inexpensive and relatively environmentally benign. How the bees are killed will depend on the particular situation.

A slower method of honey bee removal which kills fewer of the insects can be used in certain situations. It is based on the principle that bees which leave a building can be prevented from reentering. However, the bees will cluster in a large mass around their previous exit where they are encouraged to enter another colony. Experienced beekeepers do the job best; they are used to bees flying around and to being stung occasionally. The following steps are recommended:

  1. From a beekeeper, obtain a one-story hive containing one frame of unsealed brood covered with bees, one frame of honey, and adequate frames of drawn comb or foundation to fill the hive.

  2. Fold a piece of window screen to make a cone wide enough at the bottom to completely cover the bees' entrance to the building. This cone is then reduced to about 3/8 inch in diameter. Bend the cone's smaller opening upward.

  3. Plug all other holes where bees may enter the building. This is the key to any removal process. All other bee exits must be sealed!

  4. Protect yourself with at least a bee veil and long sleeves (bee gloves are optional) and use a smoker to confuse the bees. Fasten the large end of the screen cone tightly over the entrance.

  5. Position the one-story hive as near the cone entrance as possible. It can be positioned on brackets nailed to the building. Place the frames with brood and honey in the center of the hive; place frames of drawn comb or foundation at the sides. The hive entrance should be reduced to about a 1-inch opening to protect the colony from being robbed by stronger colonies that may be in the area. Bees emerging from the screen cone will not be able to find their way back into the building. Instead, they enter the hive. As bees leave the building and move into the hive, the old colony will grow weak.

  6. About 4 weeks later, remove the cone. Bees from the new hive will now be able to enter the building (their previous nest) and transfer the honey to the new hive. The queen in the building is lost along with a few other bees and perhaps some brood. However, with all the honey removed, there is little possibility of major odor or honey leakage problems. After the bees have moved completely and the honey has been transferred, close all hoses and cracks to prevent bees from reentering.

The following materials will usually be needed to remove honey bee colonies from buildings.

Bee working supplies

Bee suit
Hive tool
Queen cage
Smoker fuel
Hive entrance sealer (1/8" hardware cloth cut to size)
About four empty frames, the rest with foundation
Cutting/framing tray
Wire and/or string
Buckets with covers for honey comb and scrap comb
Burlap bags
Paint brush
Dust pan
Water for drinking and cleanup

Tools for structural work

Hammer and nails
Crow bar
Aluminum and cutters
Saw (skill + cord, hand, chain + fuel)
Tin foil for sealing holes
Scaffold material for hive suspension
Wire funnel
Staple gun


1. This document is ENY132, one of a series of the Entomology and Hematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date November 1, 1992. Reviewed May 1, 2003. Visit the EDIS Web Site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2. Professor Emeritus, Department of Entomology and Hematology, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville. Email - View Malcolm Sanford's "A beekeeping blog" here



download the PDF of this factsheetHoney Bee Colony Removal From Structures

The honey bee, Apis mellifera (L.), is our most beneficial insect. We must do all we can to protect bee colonies which are pollinators for many of our home and commercially grown fruits and vegetables. The annual contribution of honey bees to food production in the United States is estimated to be $10 billion. Honey bees are important as primary pollinators of almonds, apples, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, cranberries, cucumbers, forage crops, kiwi fruit, squash, and watermelons. Annual cash receipts of South Carolina commercially grown apples, cantaloupes, cucumbers, and watermelons are estimated at $25 million.

In South Carolina, there are about 2,500 beekeepers who keep bees for pleasure and profit. They manage about 30,000 honey bee colonies which produce 1.2 million pounds of surplus honey annually in addition to the pollination service which many people take for granted.

As good citizens, we should do everything possible to salvage honey bee colonies that become a problem in structural walls, but there are many instances when this is not possible. If a local beekeeper cannot be found to take the bees, the property owner has every right to treat honey bees as pests, especially when human health is threatened. Some basic knowledge of honey bees and their activities is necessary before attempting to remove honey bee colonies from structures:

  • Honey bees will defend themselves if threatened. Avoid disturbing a bee colony unless you are fully protected. If you encounter bees that are flying and appear to be out of control, simply walk away slowly without swatting at the bees. Swatting the bees only irritates them more. If you find yourself being attacked by defensive bees, cover your head with your shirt and run quickly through dense vegetation or seek shelter in a vehicle or building.
  • The guard or worker honey bees have a barbed stinger that is left behind in the victim. In the process of stinging, a honey bee rips a portion of her abdomen away with the stinger and the bee dies soon. The stinger should be removed immediately from the victim to reduce the amount of venom entering the sting site. A preferred sting remedy is to place a mound of common table salt on the point of sting entry and dampen with water. By osmotic pressure, most of the venom will be withdrawn from the body tissue if the treatment is applied within 3-4 minutes following the stinging incident. When working outside, it is advisable to carry small amounts of salt such as the packets found at fast food restaurants.
  • Honey bee swarming season normally occurs in South Carolina during the months of May and June, although there are exceptions. This is the time of year when swarms may enter the wall of structures and become a pest problem. A swarm will enter a void or cavity that averages about 10 gallons (40 liters) in size. Normally, honey bees favor a cavity entrance that faces southeast and is about 1.5 inches (38 mm) in diameter.
  • A mature honey bee colony can range in population size of 20,000 to 100,000 bees depending on the season. The colony population will peak from late spring to summer and reach a low point in winter.
  • A European honey bee colony will swarm normally once a year whereas an Africanized colony will swarm several times annually. Swarms occur in spring during strong nectar flows when the colony population outgrows its living quarters. The old queen and about half the bees will emerge from the parent colony to find a new home. The parent colony has made preparations to replace the old queen prior to swarm emergence. When the swarm emerges, the bees will cluster on a nearby tree limb or other object and remain there from an hour to sometimes twenty-four hours. Scout bees are dispatched to search for a new home for the swarm while the queen and remaining bees await their return. The swarm will fly en masse to the new home described by the most convincing scout bee. The new home may consist of a hollow in a tree, a vacant beehive, an abandoned water heater, a cavity in a wall of a structure, or any other void that meets the specifications of the scout bees.

Identification: If a property owner suspects that a honey bee colony has entered the wall of a structure, he/she should attempt to confirm the insects are indeed honey bees. Other possible insects that might invade the wall of structures are carpenter bees, yellow jackets, or European hornets. Honey bees vary in color from yellow to black, have black or brown bands across the abdomen, and are much smaller than a carpenter bee. Honey bees are about 2/3 of an inch long and the body is covered with setae or hair. The foraging honey bees will have pollen baskets on each hind leg which will be often loaded with a ball of yellow or dark green pollen. The honey bee is the only stinging insect that can normally overwinter as a colony inside the wall of a structure in South Carolina.

The carpenter bee can be identified by having bright yellow, orange or white hairs on the thorax and a black shiny abdomen on the dorsal side. Carpenter bees are robust, heavy bodied bees that range 3/4 to 1 inch in length. These insects bore half inch wide holes that appear to be perfectly round on exterior wooden surfaces.

Yellow jackets lack the dense body hair that are found on carpenter bees and honey bees. The foraging yellow jackets do not have the pollen baskets on the hind legs. The yellow jacket is about .5 inch long and the abdomen is characterized by having alternating yellow and black bands. European hornets are much larger (1.5 inches long) than honey bees and sometimes establish colonies inside structural walls.

NOTE: The property owner must first decide whether to seek out a professional to do the job. Some beekeepers have much experience in honey bee removals and will remove the bees for a fee, but sometimes a carpenter will be needed to assist in reconstructing the wall. If you do not know a local beekeeper, you should call your Clemson University Cooperative Extension Office which may have a listing of local beekeepers. Also, some pest control companies have employees who are trained in bee removal.

Removal From Walls: The honey bee colony should be salvaged alive if possible, but sometimes this not practical. Honey bee swarms that have recently entered the wall of a structure say for a day or so can often be exterminated by injecting a pesticide recommended for bee control into the cavity. The bees should not have had time to construct a significant amount of comb, produce much brood, or store much honey unless a very strong nectar flow is in progress. Remember that if the bees have stored much honey in the wall and you kill the colony with a pesticide, the honey will be contaminated with the pesticide. Foraging bees from another nearby managed or feral bee colony will be attracted to the honey in the wall and may cause other unnecessary colony demise. To avoid this problem, caulk or place window screening on all potential entrances to the wall cavity such as knot holes and cracks in siding. This will prevent another swarm from entering the same cavity the next swarm season, too. A foul odor is to be expected for several weeks in the vicinity of the decaying bees if removal is not conducted.

Once the bees have setup housekeeping for more than a few days, the job often becomes more difficult. Sometimes, much comb (beeswax), brood, and honey are stored in the wall of a structure. Simply injecting a pesticide in the wall to kill the bees and leaving is risky. The comb will attract wax moths and mice for nesting sites. The honey will attract ants and other insects and may ooze through the wall or ceiling when comb melts during hot weather causing extensive damage.

A term called "neutralization" is necessary to get the job done right and avoid problems down the road. Neutralization involves the complete physical removal of all bees (dead or alive), comb, and honey from the wall following extermination to prevent future infestations. The removal process should be scheduled when no humans or pets are in the immediate area. A good wash down of the cavity with soapy water is recommended to remove all odors of the previous colony. If possible, it is a good idea to leave the void area open for a couple of weeks to allow drying and dissipation of colony odors. Filling the void prior to wall closure with spray foam insulation or fiberglass batting will prevent the space from re-colonization.

Depending on the exterior wall construction, the neutralization process may have to be conducted inside the structure, although exterior wall removal is preferred in most cases. The dimensions of the wall space occupied by the bee colony can normally be investigated in late evening by careful heat and noise observations. A stethoscope is a handy device to have when inspecting the size of the colony. An outline of the colony can be identified by carefully listening for a drastic decrease in the buzzing sound created by the bees. A light tap on the wall surface with a screw driver or hammer will elevate the noise intensity.

A list of suggested equipment needed to salvage a bee colony alive from a structure wall is listed below:


Bee working supplies Tools for structural work
Veil Ladders
Bee suit
Hammer and nails
Bee working gloves
Crow bar
Hive tool
Aluminum cutters
Smoker Saw (skill + cord, hand, chain+fuel)
Smoker fuel
Tin foil for sealing holes
Matches Scaffold material for hive suspension
Hive body
Wire funnel
Screen hive entrance sealer  Staple gun
First aid kit
Fire extinguisher
Cutting/framing tray  
Wire or string  
5 gal. buckets w/covers  
Bee brush  
Dust pan  
Soapy water  
Bee vacuum  
Sting kit or Epi-pen  

Most of the equipment listed above can be purchased at hardware stores, but the specialty equipment for working around honey bees cannot be found locally in many areas of our state. There are a few local South Carolina beekeeping supply dealers that can be found in the yellow pages or you may ask a beekeeper for references. Two beekeeping supply mail order companies that will mail you a free catalog are listed below:

Brushy Mountain Bee Farm
610 Bethany Church Rd.
Moravian Falls, NC.
Ph. 1-800-233-7929

The Walter T. Kelley Co. Inc.
3107 Elizabethtown Rd.
28654 P.O. Box 240
Clarkson, KY. 42726-0240
Ph. 502-242-2012

Removal of established bee colonies from structure walls can be made more pleasant by scheduling the job during the time of year when bee populations are low, a minimum of stored honey is present and the bees are less defensive. Early spring before the nectar flows have begun is the best time of year for bee removals in South Carolina. Another preferred time of year is late fall or on a mild winter day.

Another suggestion for bee removal from a structural wall is to remove parts of the exterior wall and disrupt the colony during extremely cold temperatures. Honey bees cannot fly during freezing weather and the bees will normally die from exposure. The neutralization process can be completed much quicker during cold temperatures. Remember-- although bees might be unable to fly in cold weather, they can sometimes crawl and sting.

So, you should observe the same safety precautions when working in cold weather.

Removal By Trapping: Exterior stucco, brick, or cement walls make normal removal impossible, especially if interior wall accessibility is not an option. Trapping bees out of the wall with a "one-way bee escape removal" is recommended if a property owner is not in a hurry to have the colony removed. The process will take about 2-3 months and sometimes it is not successful unless careful attention to detail is followed. The comb will remain in the wall and will attract another swarm in the future unless preventive measures are taken.

The cone shaped one-way bee escape is constructed of window screen with the large end fastened over the primary bee entrance. It is imperative that all other cracks or holes leading to the bee colony be sealed off or your efforts will be unsuccessful. A hive body with a new queen bee inside is placed on the platform with the entrance as close to the primary entrance as possible. Returning foraging bees will fly to the base of the cone shaped bee escape and will be unable to reenter the wall. Eventually, the foraging bees will successfully gain entrance to the adjacent hive. Periodic checks to make sure the bees have not gained entry into the wall are necessary. As the colony in the wall weakens, the colony in the hive body will strengthen at the expense of the parent colony. The queen in the parent colony will not normally abandon her brood so a non-residual pesticide or CO2 should be injected into the wall to kill her and the remaining bees. Make sure the fumigant used does not leave a toxic residue. After a few days, the cone escape can be removed and the bees from the new hive will enter the wall and remove the remaining honey. All possible entry sites must be sealed or plugged to prevent re-colonization by future swarms. Filling the void with an expanding foam type of insulation is highly recommended.

Unfortunately, this trapping procedure requires many visits to the site to finish the job. The comb left behind in the wall will be highly attractive to scout bees in the future , therefore the structure owner should make annual inspections of the wall and refill any cracks or holes leading to the cavity.

Safety Around Honey Bees. One percent of the human population is allergic to bee stings. These individuals should take every precaution to avoid bee stings because one sting can be immediately life threatening. An available prescription sting kit is highly recommended for these individuals during outside activities.

WARNING: Honey bee removal from structures is not a job for a person who has never worked around stinging insects or even a novice beekeeper. Sometimes, this work is done while standing on a ladder with hundreds of angry bees trying to protect their home. Bee removal can be unnerving to even the experienced beekeeper and lead to accidents.


Prepared by William Michael Hood, Extension Entomologist/ Associate Professor, Department of Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences, Clemson University. Clemson University 


Providing Leadership in Environmental Entomology
Department of Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences, 114 Long Hall, Clemson, SC, 29634-0315, 864-656-3111




New:       Honey Bee Swarms and  Swarm Removal

Bee Removal (Bumble bees, yellow jackets,

paper wasps, ground nesting bees and honey bees)




Dealing with an Africanized Bee Hive



“Associación Gaucha de Apicultores” (The Peasant Beekeepers’ Assoaciation) in Rio Grande do Sul State (Brazil), recommends the following method for requeening African colonies:


Before the operation, the beekeeper must take efficient protection measures: light, self-coloured thick cloth, large overalls, thick, rubber-coated gloves – yellow if possible resistant gauze, thin wire net, with sleeves introduced in the gloves. Intruders and animals must be driven away, at least 200 m distance.


The hive with African bees is moved to another place. A hive body is put instead of it, with new combs with brood and eggs from gentle colonies. The African foragers will come back to their former location and will build queen cells from which a gentler queen will emerge.

After one day, the African aggressive queen in the hive which had been moved to another place, is replaced by a new queen, or a frame with sealed queen cells – taken from the other colony – is introduced into the hive.


The searching for the queen will proceed more simply and will be less dangerous, because in the hive only a small number of bees remain – most of the foragers being lost -, and only the new population is important.



Apiacta 3, 1973




Click here to see Bee Products

Mailing Address   
P.O. Box 903
Edgewood, New Mexico 87015

Updated Audio Version

Hit Counter