If you just discovered a beehive (or nest) on your property, you’re probably panicking a little. That’s an understandable reaction; beehives are scary. They’re literally full of bees. Before you freak out too much, though, we want to put this in perspective. Beehives are all over the place. There are trillions of bees in the world, and they all have to live somewhere.
…That probably isn’t helping. All we mean is, you’re not the first homeowner to have a bees’ nest on your property. You’re not even the ten millionth homeowner to have a bees’ nest on your property. It happens every day, and it’s not the big deal you might fear it is. The most important thing to do in this situation is remain calm, get informed, and follow the proper procedure. Here’s all the info you need to do just that.
What is it?
Beehives and bees’ nests are technically different things. Beehives refer to structures constructed specifically for honey bees to live and produce honey inside of. Honey bees can make them by themselves, or people can build them to foster bees. Only Apis-genus honeybees construct beehives in the true sense, by secreting beeswax and shaping it into combs. True beehives constructed out of beeswax are relatively rare in the wild.
Nests are far more common, and house all other kinds of bees and wasps. They’re made of materials like paper, processed wood, and other debris and stuck together with resin and saliva. Bees and wasps either build nests into natural cover or hang them in high, inaccessible places. Nests come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but most are round and look wooden or paper-based. Both hives and nests are structures for bees to live in. Not all bee species live in colonies, however, so finding a nest doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a colony nearby.
Why is it here?
There are a couple reasons why bees might make their nests around your home. Unfortunately, if you’ve ever had a nest on your property before, it’s more likely to happen again. When colonies get big enough, they split up to form new colonies in a new nest. When that happens, they seek out nearby locations where they’d been successful in the past.
There are simpler reasons why bees build nests near homes, too. Bees need to build their nests into cover in order to protect them from predators and rivals. Homes provide great, sturdy cover that can be difficult to find in the wild. Finally, bees tend to want to live near their food source: nectar. If you keep a flourishing flower garden near your home, the nectar in your flowers could attract bees.
In late spring, bees swarm in order to locate mates and find good places to build hives or nests. To prepare for swarming, the population of a hive increases rapidly. More workers and drones are born, and they venture further out from the hive in search of food. This population explosion continues until the colony becomes overpopulated, necessitating migration.
Swarming happens in late spring because it’s the first time bees have the resources required to make it happen. Driving population growth to the point of overpopulation requires a lot of energy and food. Before flowers blossom, they can’t muster the resources required to make it happen. If bees build a nest near your home, it’ll probably happen shortly after a swarm, from April to June. Swarming can happen anytime between April and October, however, so it’s possible bees may move in later, too.
Is it dangerous?
It could be. Like all animals, bees don’t attack people for no reason, but they will defend themselves if provoked. Bees may react defensively to perceived threats coming near their colonies. Honey bees only sting once and die after stinging, but bumblebees, paper wasps, and yellow jackets are capable of stinging multiple times. If you encounter an aggressive swarm of bees near a nest, seek shelter indoors immediately.
To protect yourself from dangerous encounters, identify where the bee nest is on your property and avoid it. If you have to walk near the nest, do so slowly and stay as far away as possible. Don’t make sudden movements or approach the nest with any tool or implement in a threatening way. Bees can be touchy about protecting their homes, but remember: they’re not out to get you. If you leave them alone, they’ll almost certainly leave you alone.
What should I do about it?
This probably isn’t particularly surprising, but we do not recommend you attempt to remove a bees’ nest yourself. Seriously, attempting to destroy or move their home will make you a pretty big threat to the bees. They’ll react accordingly.
Without the proper tools and training, removing a bees’ nest can be dangerous. If you’ve identified a nest on your property, or even if you just suspect you have one, give Griffin a call.
Our experts have everything they need to remove a bees’ nest quickly, safely, and effectively. Don’t risk the stings yourself, just leave it to us!