How do I get rid of bees in an environmentally-friendly fashion?
May 10, 2004 2:01 PM   Subscribe

Trying to get rid of bees in environmentally-friendly fashion [more inside]

Have a bee hive nesting in the wall of my house, and it is in a bad location that could potentially have lots of traffic. I'd like to move it and/or get rid of it. I called local exterminators; they'll use poison and then rip out the wall to clean out the honey. This is a last resort, because it somehow doesn't seem right to kill bees. Googling around revealed this method of getting rid of bees, which is a) environmentally friendly, and b) has the bees move the honey to the new home — seems ideal! But, alas, it also seems too good to be true.

I guess my question is suggestions is for moving a bee hive in the most environmentally friendly (and, ideally, cheapest) way. Bonus points if I get to harvest any honey.
posted by brool to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
(Sorry, I have no idea...)
posted by badstone at 2:44 PM on May 10, 2004

What's wrong with suiting up in something protective then physically removing their nests and shooing them out or swatting them?
posted by scarabic at 2:49 PM on May 10, 2004

Physically removing the nest means opening up the inside wall, which I'd prefer to avoid, and anyway if I open up the inside wall I have to make darn sure that all the bees are dead and/or gone. Blocking the entrance means that they'll try to make another exit, and that might be inside the house, which would be far worse than the current situation. Finally, killing all the bees without poison is difficult; soapy water, the best alternative, doesn't work that well in the nest.
posted by brool at 3:07 PM on May 10, 2004

I've seen, on tv, a guy who built a plexiglass box with a net through the middle of it, dividing it in half. a shop vac attached to one side, and the vacuum's hose coming out of the other and placed near the entrace to a bees nest pretty much emptied the whole thing out in a few hours, without any obvious distress to the bees. You don't need to position it to actually suck them out, just pluck 'em up as they come and go on their own. Problem is, now you've got a plexiglass box full of bees to deal with. *shiver*
Googling for bees vacuum gets a lot of hits.
posted by duckstab at 3:08 PM on May 10, 2004

My roommate whose father was a beekeeper confirms that you you should call around to local beekeepers (there should be some in the phone book) -- she says its not too good to be true, her father moved nests out of peoples homes and offices many, many times. She thinks it might involve moving portions of the original next (including the queen), however, so you might have to open the wall (the beekeeper would 'smoke' the bees first, to drug them), but its worth a shot.

As a side-note, the prior owner of my current house killed an in-wall bees nest (using chemicals) about a week before we moved in. We then had to deal with the sickening stench of rotting honey for over a year (followed by an icky orange spore-mold that wormed its way out through the plaster). Trust me -- kill the bees, don't kill the bees, it makes no difference -- you're going to have to open up the wall if they have any honey in there.
posted by anastasiav at 4:20 PM on May 10, 2004

I'll try the bees vacuum search and talking to some beekeepers. Thanks very much!
posted by brool at 5:45 PM on May 10, 2004

Borax powder - Home Depot
posted by caddis at 6:27 PM on May 10, 2004

Ah, but make it a weak borax mix, <1 % iirc. otherwise a few of the bees will take it in, a few bees will die, and then they'll all learn not to eat it any>
Ditto for ants.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:29 PM on May 10, 2004

Well, they just removed thousands of bees from the administrative building on the college campus where I work by relocating the queen. Took a couple days, no real drama in the building or with mad swarms of bees attacking students.
posted by donnagirl at 9:42 PM on May 10, 2004

anastasiav: You may have cause to sue your prior owner if the bees were not disclosed prior to sale. Its a serious fault, and most places, they have to disclose such things.

Bees: Brool, how nice you don't simply want them destroyed. Best wishes!
posted by Goofyy at 9:33 AM on May 11, 2004

Here's a link to a home built bee (well, wasp really) vacuum.

Oddly enough two weeks ago at my Toastmasters club one of the speakers was a bee keeper. Bee's are inactive at night, inactive enough to move the hive. Don't do what he did and be in a rush and mistake "dusk" for "dark" though.
posted by substrate at 10:00 AM on May 11, 2004

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