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Honey Bee and
Carpenter Bee Removal

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Humanely Removing and Relocating Honey Bee Hives

Most humans get a bit finicky when they hear buzzing nearby and most don’t care to identify the species, rather they just want to get away in fear of being stung. For this reason, bees can be a serious pest, especially towards those who are allergic to their venom. Certain bee species, like the carpenter bee, can also place the structure of your home at risk by burrowing their nests and laying their eggs into the siding of your house. Even with these nuisance behaviors, it is imperative to weigh the risks with the benefits they offer our ecosystem.

There are hundreds of different kinds of bees in Michigan alone, not including its cousins, the wasp, hornet, and yellowjacket. Before you unknowingly spray a pesticide, determine what insect you’re really up against. It’s important to know the particular insect you are facing as bees are a necessary part of our agriculture system from their pollination of plants and the honey they produce; they should not be predisposed to mass extermination. Creature Control can accurately identify the insect problem you are facing and prescribe treatment. We are also able to work in conjunction with local beekeepers to assist in the relocation of honey bee hives from your home.

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Honey Bees, Carpenter Bees, and Bumble Bees

  • Bumble bees are large, slow fliers, with fuzzy yellow and black bodies. Carpenter bees are slightly smaller than the bumble bee and are less fuzzy with shiny and hairless abdomens (males are orange to yellow in color, but females are black.) Honey bees are even smaller, and they are also black and yellow, but they are not as hairy as a bumble bee.
  • All bees collect nectar and pollen; though, it’s the honey bee that is capable of producing large amounts of honey for human consumption. Carpenter bees produce just enough honey to feed their own young.
  • Nectar and pollen are a food source for bees, including the carpenter bee (not wood). When bees are feeding, pollen is collected onto their underbelly and legs and gets released in flight, resulting in cross-pollination for surrounding plant life.
  • All bee types sting; however, the queen honey bee and most male bees do not. Instead, male carpenter bees are aggressive in flight to thwart off any danger near their nesting areas with “dive-bomb” like attacks. Bumble bees can sting multiple times and survive afterward. Female, worker honey bees will sting as well when provoked or while protecting their hive, but they will die afterward as their stinger remains embedded within its victim.
  • Honey bees live in hives, bumble bees usually live underground, and carpenter bees make their nests in wood. Ideally, these nests are tucked away within nature, but they all can find comfort residing in your attic, wood siding, window trim, fascia boards, wall voids, decks, and outdoor furniture placing occupants and passersby at risk.
  • Most bees swarm to find a new hive, except the carpenter bee. Carpenter bees are not social and are usually seen alone. They live solitary lives and dig their own, individual nests.
  • It is important to be happy and comfortable on your own property, but it is also important to preserve valuable pollinators. Carpenter bees and honey bees are very beneficial to the environment, so only treat them if you need to.

Life Cycle of the Honey Bee and Its Colony

When an existing beehive begins to get overcrowded, the bees will begin a process called “swarming.” The bees will gather together with the queen, gorge themselves on honey, then fly for several miles, eventually landing on a tree or other structure. From there, they will send out scouts to identify a new location for a potential hive. Once the scouts have found an ideal site, they will bring the rest of the swarm and begin construction of the colony. Bees are incredibly industrious workers. Once they have chosen a position for a new home, they can build a fully functional hive overnight; on average, most hives are 2 to 5 feet long. As soon as the colony is created, the honey bees will immediately begin constructing the wax combs in which the queen will lay her eggs.

Bee society is strictly regimented into three groups: the queen, the drones, and the workers. In any given hive, there is only one queen, who is the matriarch and mother of all the bees in the colony and is also the only fertile female, mating only once in her life. Drones are stingerless male bees who are capable of mating with the queen. Worker bees are neither queens nor drones and they fill all sorts of roles within the hive, such as: serving as “nursery bees” by feeding larvae, cleaning the hive, guarding the colony (only worker bees sting humans) and gathering pollen. Worker bees are unique in that they alone can “make” new queens. When worker bees decide to make a new queen, either because the old one is weakening, or was killed, they choose several small larvae and feed them with a secretion called “royal jelly” in specially constructed queen cells. This jelly ensures that the selected larvae will develop into queens, which will either kill the existing queen or leave the colony to start their own hives elsewhere. Worker bees also are responsible for the production of honey, which is an incredibly nutrient-rich substance formed from worker bee saliva mixed with pollen. Honey serves as the bee’s source of food throughout the winter.

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Carpenter Bee Wood Damage

Carpenter bees make their nests in softwood trees such as redwood, cedar, cypress, and pine and because these woods are often used in home construction, bees find your wooden siding attractive to live in. The tunnels a carpenter bee builds can weaken the structure of your home itself overtime. Initially, homeowners may notice a bee or two hovering around the outside of their home, only to find soon that these bees are accompanied by several small, perfectly round holes in the siding, almost as if somebody had come by with a power drill and drilled holes into the home. While one carpenter bee hole is not that big of a problem, the larvae that hatch in the nest will begin expanding the tunnel structure the following year. This damage can be extremely significant as a single house can theoretically host dozens of carpenter bee nests.

The carpenter bee will begin a nest in the siding of a home by excavating an entry point in the wood with their powerful jaws. Unlike termites, carpenter bees do not eat the wood they excavate; the sawdust from excavated wood gets pushed out of the resulting hole. The hole will always be very close to 1/2 inch in diameter. The bee will dig straight back for about an inch and then suddenly turn at a 90-degree angle and continue drilling for several more inches. The end of this tunnel will serve as a chamber for the female carpenter bee to lay her eggs in (a single nest may contain 6 to 8 chambers). The construction of the nest at a 90-degree angle ensures that the egg chamber cannot be reached by birds or other predators sticking their noses into the nest opening. This also means that you cannot destroy the carpenter beehive by just jabbing around in the hole with a long object.

Carpenter Bee Treatment

The best preventative against carpenter bee infestations is simply to paint all exterior wood. For structures that are already infested, a carpenter bee treatment will be required. Each hole will need a covering of insecticidal dust capable of coating the interior walls of the tunnel. Carpenter bee holes sometimes need to be treated numerous times over a 1 – 2 week period. Only after each hole has been thoroughly treated with insecticidal dust is it safe to fill in the holes with pieces of dowel rod coated in wood glue. After managing existing tunnels, the surface should be painted to discourage further drilling. There are insecticide sprays that can be applied to untreated wood surfaces that will deter carpenter bees, though these need to be repeated usually twice per year, at least.

*It is essential that you do not try to plug carpenter bee holes before applying insecticide, as they are skilled diggers and this will only encourage them to dig out a new entry point.

Honey Bee Hive Removal

Before you spray a pesticide, remember that bees are like vegetarians, whereas wasps are predators that feed on parasites and other insects. Bees receive all of their protein from pollen, making them dependent on flowers and flowering plants for survival and vice versa. Crops and flowers depend on pollinators, like the honey bee, to spread its seeds for continued growth and production. Then, decipher if the location of their nest hinders you to the point where you feel your safety is at risk. The expert technicians at Creature Control are happy to come out to help you identify what pest you are up against and determine the best course of action.

A single sting can be life-threatening to individuals allergic to venom. Likewise, multiple stings can be especially dangerous to young children, the elderly, or people with heart or breathing problems. The nest or hive must be moved or destroyed to relocate bees, which can be a dangerous endeavor. At Creature Control, we work in conjunction with local beekeepers to assist with extracting the hive intact and relocating it so that it’s not destroyed. After the hive is removed, the location must be treated with an odor barrier that will discourage other colonies from forming hives nearby. We also seal the entry point, making reentry difficult.

Beehives can be very hard to exterminate due to its complex structure. Hives may begin in one area of the wall but spread to others. This means that the primary area that you see bees entering and exiting from may not necessarily be the location of the hive. Thus, treatment of the hive from the outside may not be the most efficient way to get rid of your problem. Even if you kill the bees, you must still remove the hive to prevent it from being repopulated. Also, if the honey and comb are left in the wall space, it will begin to rot and can attract other pests, such as ants, mice, raccoons, and anything attracted to sweet odors.

*The honey bee population has been rapidly declining in recent years. This decline remains largely unexplained; wildlife pathologists have called the phenomenon Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Given all the good that honey bees do, this decline is very troublesome since their well-being is directly tied to the stability of our food supply. For this reason, Creature Control technicians strive to remove hives without destroying the bees, if possible.

Bee Stings and Allergies: Anaphylaxis, Allergic Reaction to Bee Venom

Any stinging insect can trigger an anaphylactic reaction in a human. Anaphylaxis is an acute hypersensitivity reaction brought on by the exposure to a certain allergen, in this case, an allergic reaction to the venom. It is difficult to determine if one is at risk or not since people can develop anaphylaxis over time. A person who was not allergic to bee and wasp stings as a youth may become so as they get older. Whenever you are stung by a wasp or bee, monitor your condition carefully and always be prepared to seek medical attention if circumstances warrant it. Signs of an anaphylactic reaction are hives, rashes on the skin, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, light-headedness, and sweating. If you think you have an anaphylactic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.

Bee Sting Treatment & Remedies

What should you do if you get stung by a bee or wasp, provided you are not allergic to them and there is no danger of anaphylaxis, follow these simple steps:

  • Check to see if the stinger is still in your skin. If the stinger is still there, remove it with a pair of tweezers.
  • Wash the sting site with water and soap.
  • Cover the affected area with ice wrapped in a towel or a bag of frozen vegetables. Do not put ice directly on the skin, as this can cause an ice burn. Leave the ice in place for five minutes; this will reduce blood flow to the affected area and slow the defensive reaction of your body against the venom.
  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen helps reduce pain. Calamine lotion can be applied to the affected area throughout the day to reduce itching. It is important not to itch or scratch the affected area, as this will spread the venom and slow the healing process. Benadryl is also helpful, either taken orally or applied topically to the sting.
  • One effective Native American remedy for bee stings is to simply apply mud to the affected area for about 15 minutes. The mud helps to draw the venom out of the skin.
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Scratching during the day may indicate the presence of a bat, but this is uncommon.

More common sources of scratching or clawing during the day is a squirrel or a yellowjacket hive in the drywall, if it is summer.

A scratching sound coming from the attic is a good indication of the presence of a bat. The scratching may be constant or intermittent and may occur at day or night, though with a bat, this scratching will usually be heard at night. This is the sounds of the claws on the bat's wings as it moves around.

It may also indicate the presence of mice, however. An inspection is necessary to more directly pinpoint the source of the sound.

Gnawing sounds during the day are almost always due to the presence of a rodent, such a mouse, squirrel, chipmunk, or sometimes a rat. Rodents are characterized by their large incisor teeth, which continually grow and must be worn down by constant gnawing. Rodents will gnaw on wires, insulation and anything else they can find in an attic. Many house fires due to electrical problems are caused by damaged wires due to squirrel gnawing.

If you are hearing gnawing or chewing sounds at night, it may indicate the presence of a raccoon. Usually this will be accompanied by other noises, such as heavy walking. If you do not hear this, it may be a flying squirrel or some other rodent.

A "rolling" sound is usually due to the presence of a red squirrel bringing in nuts or other debris and rolling it around up in the attic, as squirrels will use attics to hoard food. If you hear this sound during the day, it is certainly a red squirrel, since red squirrels are the only mammals that commonly get into attics that are active during the day (flying squirrels get into attics as well but they are nocturnal). The "rolling" sound associated with a squirrel is sometimes described as the sound of marbles rolling.

If it is not a squirrel, there's a possibility a rolling sound could be made by birds moving around in a tight space.

Rolling sounds at night can be caused by flying squirrels, which are nocturnal. It is made by the squirrel bringing nuts or other debris into the attic or wall.

Raccoons may also make a rolling sound, though this is less common.

Scampering or scurrying during the day is almost always attributable to a squirrel, as most other scurrying animals (such as mice) are nocturnal.

A scurrying or scampering sound at night is usually due to mice moving through the walls, ceiling, or along the floor.

Nocturnal flying squirrels may make this noise as well; peak periods of activity for flying squirrels are just before dawn and shortly after sunset. Their scurrying is light and fast.

Raccoons may also make this sort of noise, but with a raccoon it will be more of a "walking" sound, a bit heavier than a squirrel, and not as fast.

Heavy walking or crawling is a very unique sound that almost always indicates the presence of a raccoon, whether it occurs during the day or night.

Heavy walking or crawling is a very unique sound that almost always indicates the presence of a raccoon, whether it occurs during the day or night.

If you can clearly hear the sound of flapping during the day, it is definitely a bird.

If you hear flapping at night, it is either a trapped bird or a bat. Nuisance birds are generally not active at night, so if you hear flapping it may be a bird that has become trapped. The flapping of a bat's wings is very soft, almost like a dull whirring. If you hear a very faint, soft whirring, it may mean a bat is flying around nearby in the dark.

Crackling is a very particular noise that is generally made by a yellowjacket hive within the drywall of your home. yellowjackets will pick and gnaw on drywall and use the pieces to construct their hives. The sound of this gnawing is often described as a crackling; it sounds a lot like Rice Krispies popping. If you hear this, it means the yellowjackets are close to gnawing through the dry wall. It is not as common at night, but certainly can happen then as well if the hive is big enough.

Crackling is a very particular noise that is generally made by the presence of a yellowjacket hive within the drywall of your home. yellowjackets will pick and gnaw on drywall and use the pieces to construct their hives. The sound of this gnawing is often described as a crackling; it sounds a lot like Rice Krispies popping. If you hear this, it means the yellowjackets are close to gnawing through the dry wall.

A sound of chirping or chattering usually means there are baby animals present. What species depends on the season, but it is very common for baby squirrels, raccoons, or birds (especially chimney swifts) to make these noises. Please contact Creature Control for a more thorough diagnosis.

A sound of chirping or chattering usually means there are baby animals present. What species depends on the season, but it is very common for baby squirrels, raccoons, or birds (especially chimney swifts) to make these noises. Please contact Creature Control for a more thorough diagnosis.

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