Last Updated on February 22, 2023
Bees nesting in house walls has driven me crazy for half of my life. Every spring, I will get phone calls from people asking why do bees keep coming into my house? How to get rid of bee nests in the wall cavity and so on. I first help them through a set of questions on how to tell if bees are in their walls firstly. Then I will go and visit and solve the problem. For a fee.
If a beehive is not managed properly it will produce swarms. Swarms move around looking for a specific type of place to build a nest. Normally a swarm will move into a wall around midday. In areas with African/Africanized bees, there will be a lot more swarming in spring, and also in late summer.
Many people confuse yellow jackets with honey bees. Make sure that you do not have yellow jackets. Pest control companies deal with yellow jackets. Beekeepers deal with bees.
Signs of Bees in Walls
Signs of bees in walls may include:
- A loud buzzing noise coming from inside the walls
- Bees entering or exiting the walls through cracks, crevices, or holes
- Honeycomb or wax buildup on the wall or in a nearby area
- An increase in bee activity in the area around the wall
- Small piles of sawdust or wood shavings near the wall, indicating the presence of wood-boring bees.
How To Tell If Bees Are In Your Walls?
The first telltale sign that there are bees in your walls will be that they will be flying consistently in and out of a hole, or gap. There will be at least a few bees per minute when it is warm. If the hive is big there will be a constant stream of bees in and out. The bees flying in will be laden with pollen. The picture below shows pollen on the legs of the bee.
If the insects flying into your wall don’t have pollen on their legs they may be yellow jackets.
If we have ascertained that it is a swarm of bees in your wall, you will not have to go about getting the bees removed.
Why Do Bees Keep Coming Into My House?
There are three main reasons for this.
You Have A Swarm Of Bees In Your Walls Or Roof
If this is the case, sometimes bees will see lights in your house at night and try to fly towards them. You will find that the bees cluster around the lights and get tired then fall on the ground and crawl around.
Bees nesting in house walls is particularly problematic in bathrooms, as many people leave bathroom lights on at night. Half-dead bees on towels still sting and they can results in all sorts of stings in painful places unspeakable places. This can bring a whole new meaning to bee-stung lips.
A Nest Of Bees Is In Line Of Sight Of A Light In Your House
If a bee are nesting in a house wall within line of sight of your house and can see lights, some of the bees will fly to these lights at night. In this case, you may need to close your curtains, turn off the light at night, close windows, or get the bees removed.
Sugar Or Honey Is Open and They Are Finding It
If the bees find a pot of open honey or sugar syrup in your house they may come and try to take it away. You can end up with a lot of bees stuck on windows, and a huge mess when this happens. It is better to always close the lids of honey and syrup jars.
How To Get Rid Of A Bees Nest In A Wall Cavity
Typically a beekeeper can perform a bee removal operation. To do this there are a number of options.
Open Wall Removal
The wall is opened up, the combs are removed and the bees are taken away. Sometimes beekeepers will use a bee vac – a vacuum cleaner that sucks up bees and does not hurt them. Once the bees and combs are removed, the beekeeper leaves. See the next section on how to stop more bees from returning.
Screen Cone Removal/Bee Valve Removal
In this method, the beekeeper places a beehive box close to the entrance of the bees going into your wall. We then place a large sheet of wood with a bee valve, or a cone of wire mesh with an open end, over the hive entrance and seal all the gaps.
Bees leave the hive in the wall, then go out and forage and when they come back, they join the other beehive at the entrance. Because there are forager bees, they are laden with pollen and full of nectar. The guards at the entrance accept these bees into the new hive and they join the workforce of the queen in the box.
After three to six weeks, most of the bees inside the hive will have been transferred, and the bees inside the wall are weakened. I normally then remove the sheet of wood with the bee valve and allow the outside hive to rob all the honey out of the wall hive.
The box of bees is then removed at night. For some reason, these hives can be quite aggressive.
How To Stop Bees From Returning To A Place They Have Nested Before
After you have removed bees it is important to make sure that another swarm does not move back into the cavity.
I have had thousands of cases where I take bees out, tell the house owners what to do to prevent bees returning, and a year later I get a call “your bees came back”.
Fill The Cavity
Bees are cavity-nesting animals. If you fill the cavity, they cannot move into it. I find polyurethane expander foam is an excellent way of preventing them from returning. Fill the cavity where they were with expander foam.
Seal all cracks in the wall around there if you so wish.
The chances are that if the bees found one place in your house that they liked, that there are other places too. They chose your neighborhood for a reason. Good flowers or something made it nice to them. Other swarms will make the same decisions.
If you place empty beehives which have been baited by a beekeeper to attract swarms inappropriate places around your property. These catch boxes will mop up swarms that are in your neighborhood.
We hope this article has helped you solve your bee problem. If you liked it please share, and remember, if the bees move into your house they are telling you to become a beekeeper.
Read more about: When To Add Supers To Beehives?
Dr. Garth A. Cambray is a Canadian/South African entrepreneur and beekeeper with 28 years of experience in apiculture and specializes in adding value to honey. His Ph.D. research developed a new advanced continuous fermentation method for making mead that has resulted in a number of companies globally being able to access markets for mead. His company, Makana Meadery, exports honey mead to the USA where it is available to discerning connoisseurs. He has also developed technologies to commercially manufacture organic honey vinegar in Zambia for export globally. He holds a few patents globally in the ethanol industry and believes in technology and knowledge transfer for human development and environmental sustainability. One of his proudest achievements is the fact that the wind farm he started at one of his old apiary sites has essentially made his hometown carbon neutral.