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Honey Bee FAQ

Welcome to the honey bee FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page, where we have the answers to all the most common honey bee related problems. If you can't see the answer to your particular bee question, click on the "Ask A Question" link in the left hand column or Click Here to ask The Bee Guy! He will send you the answer by email and post it on this page to share with everyone else.

Click on the question to display the answer,

In my beekeeping class I learned that wearing lavender oil instead of smoking disturbs the bees much less and works just as well. I am interested to know what you think of this practice.

So far I slather the lavender oil on but still smoke them initially. I do not wear bee protection except a veil when I am gathering honey. Bees do not seem to bother me but I am also very calm with my girls.

Do you think I should try to just wear the coating of oil and see if they stay calm or do you have another opinion? Please let me know as I trust you. - Bonnie, Colorado
Hi Bonnie, I must say I think it's a great idea for you to wear nothing but the lavender oil, but I think you should at least wear some shoes. Perhaps your first mistake was trusting me! :-)

But seriously a lot depends on the temprement of the bees, their mood and the weather. It's certainly a good idea not to use smoke if you can get away with it.

This morning I removed a colony from underneath a cabinet which had been standing on a patio. Despite someone spraying them with insecticide and trying to contain them with duct tape, I was able to cut the combs off and suspend them in a hive without a single sting!

Sometimes bees are so calm you don't have to use smoke or anything else when removing them.

Try out the lavender without smoke and let me know how effective it is. At the very least you'll smell delicious!
I have a top bar hive that I tried to install a few hundred bees I had Vacuumed up, I was unable to get the whole Hive or any comb before my vac shorted out. What I have left after 2/3 weeks is a couple dozen or so that hang out on the entrance board just walking on each other, one will from time to time check in and out of the hive box but they have built nothing inside.

I have a sugar water feeder about 2 foot away from the entrance I set it there on a pipe to keep the ants out of the hive, I do see bees on the sugar water, through out the day, so I guess I am feeding somebody's hive but can you tell me what mine are doing?

They don't seem to leave, there are always a few bees on the entrance are they making plans, or is this just a hang out? J - Florida
Hi J, I'm sorry to say I think you have created a local 'syrup bar'. If you were only able vacuum a few hundred bees and don't have the queen, or any eggs from which to raise a queen, they are doomed.

If you provide syrup, or even just plain water, you may well get local bees stopping by to have a drink and catch up with the gossip, but fronakly you're not really achieving anything. Spend your time by turning the hive into a bait-hive to try and attract a passing swarm, or put the word out that you're looking for a swarm.
I recently got a moderate sized swarm and I could not find a single drone. They fled the coupe soon after introduction. Do you have any thoughts on droneless swarms?

Thank you for this fantastic website. - Sabina Santa Barbara CA
Hi Sabina, yes it's quite common not to see drones in a swarm, in fact I think it's rare to see many drones in a swarm. I think the drones are irrelevant to a swarm, whose purpose is to establish themselves as soon as possible.

Drones will only consume resources without contributing anything, which of course is why drones are excluded from the hive in the autumn to die of starvation and dehydration. Since mating with queens from other colonies is their only purpose, when this isn't appropriate, out they go!
Bees have moved into a large bird house about 22 feet above ground in a tree. They have been there about two or maybe three weeks.

Will they harm anything? They are not bothered by lawnmower noises and there is no one else around. - Jim, Oviedo Florida
Hi Jim,

I don't see why this should be a problem. If they've been there two or three week I think you would have noticed if they were aggressive by now, although there is always the possibility of them becoming aggressive in the future. They will have already built some combs so I think I would be inclined to let them remain there and watch their progress and benefit from the pollination they'll provide.
I have captured 2 swarms and both have left after being placed in the hive. The first had a queen that I saw, the second I'm not sure. What am I doing wrong?

Dennis - Irving, TX

Hi Dennis, What you're doing wrong is thinking that bees will do what you think they should. But seriously it is frustrating when you go to the trouble of hiving a swarm only to have it leave.

It seems to me that a swarm is more likely to stay in a hive if it feels that the decision was its own. I often set up a hive underneath the place where the swarm is hanging, shake the swarm into a box or bucket and then dump them on a ramp in front of the hive. I love to see them running up the ramp into the entrance. If for some reason I dump the swarm into the hive itself and put on the lid, they seem more inclined to leave within a day or two.

Click on the white triangle to play video.
Right-Click to play full screen.

I also think that if you relocate the swarm it's less likely to leave. If the hive is left near where the swarm was clustering, scout bees which were checking out other potential locations will be returning to tell the swarm of their choice. If enough scout bees 'recommend' an alternative location they'll all move off to the alternate site whether they're in a hive or not.

The BeeGuy

Question: A swarm settled on a branch of a tree in the yard 5 days ago. There is mild activity on the surface and a few bee flying in the area at all times. Today there are dozens of dead bees on the ground.

Everything I have read notes that the swarm only stays a few hours to 3 days. What is happening? - Lori, San Jose CA

Sometimes bees will stay as long as this before they move to a new permanent location. A lot depend on the weather and what opportunities they find in the area. A swarm in this situation has a compulsion to build combs, it appears to me that if they stay somewhere too long, some of them start to build combs right where they are. This is quite common in places such as California where the weather is so warm and is especially likely if their current location is protected by overhanging branches and foliage.

Once they build combs they 're unlikely to leave them and move on unless something or someone forces them do do so. This is one reason why I recommend that you call a beekeeper as soon as you see a swarm of bees.

Question: I notice that in Florida, hives are not topped with the kind of cover that I see up north which is an inside cover and overlapping outside cover with galvanized steel sheet exposed to the elements. I see flat 3/4" plywood used as covers.

Is it common to drill holes in these covers, and if so, what size are the holes? How many holes and how do you keep the rain out? Is it common practice to coat these 3/4" plywood covers with a protective substance?

Thanks, Robert Orrell - Lee County FL

Answer: Hi Robert. The hive roofs with sides and a galvanized metal cover are called telescoping roofs. These are designed not to blow off in strong winds. They're heavier, more expensive and stop hives being positioned put very close to each other because they project over the sides.

The simpler flat cover is a migratory top, so called because they're used by migratory beekeepers who stack their hives together on pallets. These covers just sit on top of the hive and certainly could be as simple as a piece of plywood. In most places with a mild climate such as Florida, I think these would be fine. If there is a danger of them blowing off just put a heavy brick or rock on top.

I've never see holes drilled into roofs as you describe. I think provided the entrance is big enough the bees will organize the ventilation to suit themselves. I have seen supers staggered slightly to provide extra entrances and more ventilation. The theory is that the returning foragers can go into the hive at the top, where the nectar is going to be stored as honey, rather than making it's way up through the brood nest and four or five supers. I have to concede in a very strong hive with many boxes it makes a lot of sense. The idea that there should only be one 'defensible' entrance isn't an absolute. Feral bee hives in rotten trees often have more than one entrance.

Question: I've had a hive for two years now and a few weeks ago my hive swarmed. I've been noticing bees hanging out on the entrance board. Some are fanning and a few dozen are just walking around, standing on top of each other. There are bees coming and going. I open the hive and saw what looked like queen cells on a few frames. There is capped brood in one of the supers.

I guess my question is how long do the queen cells take to hatch after the swarm and how can I tell if I need to re-queen or not?

What behavior would I notice with a queenless hive???

Any help would be appreciated - Thanks Marc

Answer: Hi Marc. If the hive has already swarmed I would expect any queen cells to have already hatched. The swarm will leave only a short time before the queen cells are due to hatch. The time between the swarm leaving and the new queen emerging should be as short as possible so no egg laying time is wasted. In fact if the weather is bad, and the new queen is ready to hatch, the workers will hold the cap on the queen cell until the swarm is able to leave to make sure there aren't two queens in the hive at the same time.

Are you sure the hive swarmed? Do you think you might have seen queen cells from which queens have emerged, or perhaps a few isolated drone cells? I suggest you keep an eye on the colony and look for new eggs. The new queen may be out mating as I'm typing this.

If the hive is queenless they may appear more aggressive and 'restless'. If they are left queenless for a long period, some of the workers will start laying eggs. These unfertilized eggs are a last-ditch attempt to pass their genes on to the next generation, they cannot survive like this. Laying workers will often deposit many eggs in one cell. If you ever see more than one egg in a cell, this is almost certainly a sign that the colony is queenless.

Question: I am wondering if it is ok to use old hives that are now empty for whatever reason. If so what is the proper way to clean and prepare the hive for a new colony. Thanks - Johnnie, Warren AR

Answer: Hi Johnnie. Using old equipment of uncertain origin is always a risk. If you think the previous occupants might have died of some sort of disease you should clean everything very thoroughly.

You can use a strong solution of caustic soda and scrub with steel wool. WEAR CHEMICAL PROOF GLOVES and EYE PROTECTION! Caustic soda is very nasty stuff. Rinse everything very well several times and stand out in the sun to dry. An alternative is to use a blowtorch to scorch the inside of the boxes. In either case make sure you get into all the corners and crevices.

Question: I want to move my bees about 10 to 15 feet from where they are now because they are not getting enough sun I don't think. Is this ok and will the Bees find there way home?

Answer: If you feel it's necessary to move the hive you can do it. if you use one of the following methods the bees will be able to find their hive.

1. Move the hive just two or three feet at a time and leave it a few days between each move.

2. Move the hive more than two miles away for a couple of weeks and then move it back to the new place.

3. Move the hive to the new location in the evening and place some branches across the entrance so when the bees emerge in the morning they have to climb around the obstacle which makes them re-orientate themselves to the new place.

The Bee Guy

Question: My hive has tiny little red bugs running around very fast in and out of the hive. Some days I can see a significant number on top of the hive. I wonder is these are varroa as I thought they were difficult to see because they hide. These guys don't hide at all and I can smash them with a finger. They leave a red spot on the wood.

What am I dealing with? - Charles, SW Michigan US

Answer: If they move very fast I think it's unlikely to be varroa mites. Often these type of things are common in some parts of the country but unheard of in others. I would suggest you talk to local beekeepers to see whether they have the same problem.

It would be interesting to collect a few specimens to ascertain whether it's an insect, a mite or even a spider. If they aren't too small, could you photograph some and send us the photo. I could post it here to see whether other people have encountered it?

Question: I have only just begun. I have the bottom box with the 10 frames, next another super in which I have placed the feed as I am to do.

When do I put frames in this second super? When can I tell and check for the brood? When do they make the honey for themselves and what do I do for that?

Thanks for all you do. Sharlene Weeks, Suffolk, VA

Answer: Hi Sharlene. You don't really need a super with frames while you're still feeding. The idea of feeding in the spring is to stimulate a colony or swarm into building comb and increasing their numbers. Once they've take a good amount of feed and the local weather conditions improve, to the point that there are sufficient flowers for them to forage, I would take off the feeder and inspect the brood box. You should see eggs, larvae and sealed brood if the queen is present and healthy.

You only need to put on a super with frames once the brood box is perhaps 70% - 80% filled. It's better to keep the available space relatively restricted to enable them to control their 'climate', while still allowing room for expansion so as not in induce them to swarm.

Question: We have a reoccurring problem every year with what I have been told are "Ground or Digger" bees. There are holes in the ground where our outfield grass is, and the bees seem to be coming from many locations. How can we get rid of them?

Our borough officials had someone come out and put some kind of powder in the holes, but it did not seem to work. Any help you can give us would be very much appreciated. - Wayne Lemma, South Jersey

Answer: Hi Wayne, I'm afraid I don't know much about the 2,000 or so other species of bees apart from honey bees in the United States, but I'm concerned about just suggesting an exterminator. Perhaps you could try contacting the city or county entomologist or perhaps your nearest university to see whether these bees are of interest to them. If they couldn't relocate them for you they might be able to suggest a way of discouraging them.

Question: My name is Abe and I am a beekeeper. I have around 20 bee hives and I keep them at home. Some of my neighbors start complaining to the city of Scottsdale, AZ.

They are telling me that I have to move the hives. My question is: it is illegal to keep the bees at home?

I appreciate your advice.

Thanks Abe

Answer: Hi Abe

I think you should find out about the local restrictions on keeping bee hives in your area. Each area is different, often hives must be 100 or 200 feet from a dwelling, boundary or road. Home owner's associations also have rules. Sometimes there is a limit of perhaps two hives on a property.

I believe most of these restrictions are ridiculous, they frequently make no sense and I'm sure they're drafted by people who know little or nothing about bees.

I suggest you fund a local farmer or land owner who will accommodate them at least for the moment. You could talk to local beekeepers, bee associations and the state or city apiarist.

Unfortunately I doubt there's much you can do immediately. I believe the cardinal rule in situations like this is to make sure your hives cannot be seen by neighbors. Once a neighbor know you have hives, every bee they see must be one of yours. Once you have removed your hives there will almost certainly be bees in their backyards, at least I hope there will be.

Have you tried talking nicely to the neighbors? It may be too late for that now, but a few jars of honey and some education goes a long way to forestalling this type of situation. I try to be extra helpful and cooperative if someone near me has a swarm of bees which needs to be removed. No one has realized yet that I may be the reason these swarms are here. :-)

If you move them away and wait for the heat to die down, perhaps you can move them back, making sure they're out of sight.

Good luck!

The Bee Guy

Question: I've had a visiting bee swarm for a few days, outside in an Acacia tree. Now they are all dying or dead already.

What can I do to help? I don't use any pesticides in my garden, and I was so happy to see the bees, knowing that they are not dangerous when swarming. Any suggestions?

Thank you for responding.

Uki, San Diego CA

Answer: Hi Uki

I've see this happen a few times, but I'm not sure what's going on. I wonder whether they landed somewhere else first and someone less enlightened than you might have sprayed them with something which caused them to move into your garden.

I think the only thing you can do is to try calling a local beekeeper, although I think most beekeepers would be reluctant to collect a swarm which might be poisoned or possible diseased.

I suggest you leave them to their own devices and hope they survive. You might talk to your neighbors and impress upon them how important honeybees are. Even if you don't find out what happened, you can use this to spread the word about how important bees are to our food supply.

The Bee Guy

Question: Dear Beekeeper - I was told that a few drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle is a good way to calm bees when working on a hive. Have you heard this too? I imagine the smell keeps the bees from communicating any alarm? Thanks so much,

Tracy, Boulder, CO

Answer: Hi Tracy. I don't think I've ever heard that, but it sounds a nice idea. Certainly one of the reasons for using smoke is to mask the alarm pheromones, lavender would smell much better than smoke. Why not try it and see how the bees react? I'd love to hear whether it seems to work. I know a lot of people use sugar water, but I don't use that myself because I know it would just make things sticky and and attract ants. I have plenty of problems with ants without adding to them.

Question: I have about 50 bees swarming along side the house by the eave. Are they scoping out a home for the queen? If so, typically how long do they reside before they choose another location?

- Sue Tucson, Arizona

Answer: Hi Sue, It sounds as though this exactly what's happening, these are scout bees which are from a nearby swarm. The are looking for their new permanent location. You can find out more about the process here. You should block the hole to stop them colonizing this place. They usually find their new location with a day or two, although sometimes it can take a week.

Question: How can bees move their hive? At my job one day a huge bee hive appeared and the next day it was gone but no one touched it! How did they do that?

Answer: I think what you saw was a swarm, not a hive. A swarm is a temporary affair which will almost certainly move on, often within a few hours, sometimes after a few days. A hive or nest is a permanent home which occurs when bees decide to stay somewhere and build honeycombs. Go here for more information about the difference between a swarm and a hive.

Question: Thank you for this fascinating website. It has been very interesting to learn about bees and their behavior. I couldn't get the webcam to work.

Answer: I was experiencing a few technical problems, mostly as a result of the heavy rain we've been having. Unfortunately the bee colony 'problem' has solved itself. Go here to see a video of the colony and the explanation.

Honey Bee FAQ: There’s a large space - 32’ long, approx. 18” wide and 2’ deep, that exists between the top of our stucco archway and secondary story balcony. We’ve had bee activity there off and on for 6-7 years, but this year it became extreme and the bees threatened our entertainment area under the archway.

Having conducted many bee nest removals, I think the solution you describe is probably the best one. I've often found that rather than trying to prevent bees from entering a space in a wall or roof, it's better to fill the space with something inert. Click here for the full explanation.

Honey Bee FAQ: I live in Perth, Western Australia. During summer the temperatures sit around the 40 degree mark. We have a small fish pond in the back yard which has become the local watering hole for the bees in the area.

We do not have a hive in the yard and can't see one close by. During the day we can have up to 50 bees at any one time drinking from the pond.

Is there anything we can do to deter the bees other than getting rid of the pond.
Thanks Liane, Perth Western Australia

A: Hi Liane

This is quite a common problem where the weather is hot and dry. They take the water back to their hive where they evaporate it to cool their space down. It acts very much the same way as an old fashion 'swamp cooler' type of air conditioner.

The bees may be coming from a number of different hives, possibly up to a couple of miles away, so removing the hives is not really an option even if you knew where they were. They shouldn't be aggressive, since they're not protecting their hive. I hope you don't decide to remove the pond as it's obviously a useful resource for the bees and, I'm sure, other species.

It is very difficult to deter bees once they have found a water source. You could try putting an alternative source, perhaps a large dish of water somewhere nearby where they won't be a nuisance. Make sure to put some means for them to land to obtain water but not drown. Covering the surface with polystyrene packing peanuts or pieces of wood is a good method.

If you are able to wait them out you'll find that when the weather cools down or you get some rain the problem will solve itself.

I hope that helps, The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: When to mulch to avoid killing bumble bees?

Greenjackdavey, (Dorset UK)

We all know that honey bees are in trouble but also Bumble bees are becoming endangered, with at least two species becoming extinct recently.

Since they nest and overwinter in holes in the ground, when is the best time to mulch to avoid burying them alive and killing them?

A: Hi Greenjackdavey

I'm not an expert in bumble bees, or mulching, but I agree that it would be a good idea to try to protect the bees if you can. I really believe we need all of our bees.

Bumble bees, unlike honeybees, do not stay active during the winter. Instead the worker bees die and the queen bee hibernates, emerging in the spring to lay her eggs and start a new colony.

I think if you inadvertently covered a bumble bee's hole when applying mulch they would probably be able to dig their way out, so long as the mulch wasn't too deep or packed down too tightly.

I would suggest that if possible you put something over the hole, such as an upturned plant pot, before applying the mulch to keep the hole open. The pot should be large enough so it protrudes slightly above the surface of the mulch and it should have a hole in the base.

If the queen is hibernating in the hole she would then be able to emerge through the hole in the base plant pot in the spring.

The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: Removal of a Honey Bee Hive from Community Property
Victor S, (Camarillo, CA. USA)

We live in a neighborhood in southern California, Ventura County. There is a large bee hive that formed just on the other side of our small backyard fence on the community property that aprons the houses on our street.

We have a 18 month old baby that is now in well inside the area bees that circle the hive. We are constantly picking up bees that are in his play area, and in the house.

We have asked the HOA management to remove the hive. Their response was that it is against California law to remove or touch any bee hive because of the need to encourage bee growth in our state.

Is this true? That is my question. Is it true that bee hive removal as described above is not allowed in the State of California? thank you,

Vic Schiro

A: Hi Vic

Thanks for your question. I must admit I've never heard this before. In fact I usually hear the opposite from HOAs they often have the bees exterminated if that is less expensive than having them removed alive. I'm pleased to say I have a number of HOA customers who are enlightened enough to engage me to remove bees in such situations.

I have heard that in some places it is illegal to kill a colony of bees unless an attempt has been made to remove them alive, which I support wholeheartedly.

It sounds as though they might have been confusion stemming from the news that bees are experiencing some problems at the moment with Colony Collapse Disorder.

I'm a little concerned that you're having to pick up bees from the ground. Bees don't usually spend much time on the ground unless there is a source of water they're collecting. Is it possible someone has sprayed the hive with something?

I suggest you call your County Apiarist if you have one or State Apiarist. You might also try contacting local beekeepers to see whether they have encountered anything like this before.

I'd be very interested to hear what they say, please keep me posted.- The Bee Guy

Beehive with huge honeycombs built high in a pine tree. 
Click to enlarge picture. Honey Bee FAQ: My name is George and I live in Fallcreek. I have just discovered a large colony of honey bees in one of my pine trees. I don’t have any problem with them being there at all and in fact I kind of like it but I thought I’d seek an experts advice on the situation. What’s the life span of a natural hive for instance? Considering the bee die off is there a better way of protecting them? Any information or links to information would be appreciated.

A: Hi George. If your bee colony isn't bothering anyone I think it's a great idea to leave it. If you have nearby neighbors who are of a nervous disposition it might be better not to mention it to them. Often with neighbors they have no problem with bees until they know there's a hive on your property, then every bee they see must be 'one of yours'. See the last three paragraphs on this page about siting a beehive. If it's possible to put something between your bee colony and your neighbor, like a hedge or fence to obstruct their view of the bee colony that might help.

As far as I know there is no real life expectancy of a hive. If they have chosen a good location they might continue almost indefinitely since all the individual bees, including the queen will be replaced as they get old. If you want to give them a helping hand and could construct something to protect them from the wind and rain that would improve their chances of survival. I do know of a beekeeper in Fallcreek if you need local assistance. Keep me posted! I've love to see a picture if you have one. Have you seen the 'open-air' colony on my live bee-cam?


Honey Bee FAQ: If someone is not allergic for bee stings, is it possible that one gets allergic all of a sudden. After several bee stings over years can you develop allergic reactions? - Danie, Western Cape, South Africa

A: Hi Danie. You're right, people can become allergic to almost anything at any time. It's also true that if someone is allergic to bee stings it usually gets worse with each sting. Real allergy to bee stings is quite rare. Many people believe that a serious swelling around the sting site is an allergic reaction. In fact this is a common and a normal response to a bee sting. Difficulty breathing, a skin rash or other symptoms away from the site of the sting is likely to be an allergic reaction and medical assistance should be sought as soon as possible. Click here for more about stings

Honey Bee FAQ: Is it true that there is a serious depletion of bees in the world?? Best regards, Vaughan Durban, South Africa

A: Hi Vaughan. Unfortunately it does appear that there is a potentially catastrophic problem confronting the bees in some parts of the world. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been reported in many parts of the United States and Europe.

Every year bee colonies die out through disease or starvation. Often beekeepers open up a hive in the spring to find a pile of dead bees and no honey, the bees have stored insufficient honey to last through the winter.

CCD is very different, there is no pile of dead bees, just a handful of live bees and plenty of honey. It looks as though the bees have gone out foraging and just never returned.

For more information see go to the Colony Collapse Page and then watch a repeat of the PBS program Silence of the Bees - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: I have a swarm hanging from my bird feeder in the backyard. I don't see any beekeepers in my area on your list. Is there another source where I can find someone who might be interested in these bees - or should I just leave them alone and let them find a home in the area? Thanks, Ed

A: Look at the Beekeeper Page and select your state from the clickable map. You might try doing a search for beekeepers in neighboring towns, put a posting on craigslist or look for a local beekeeper group, ask your local library police department and fire department. Look for local honey with a name and phone number on the label. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: I work in a private residence, the house is on a canyon wall, there is a hive of honey bees under the raised cement driveway. The bees have been there for a few years and the number has grown. It's no longer safe to wash a car in the driveway. Would you remove them from here?? Crystal

A: I'm afraid I think the cost would be prohibitive since, assuming you're in Cloverdale, I'm 8 hours away. Try calling someone who is a bit closer on this list California Beekeepers - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: An elderly neighbor has swarm of bees on his property between his shed and our fence. The sound of the buzzing is amazing but its seems to be growing louder and louder every time I am on that side of the house. I wanted to get a rough estimate on how much it will cost to remove them alive so I can talk to him about it. Also, I heard there are companies that do it for free honey, is that true?

A: Bees can be removed alive from a place like that. However in order to do this it is necessary to actually get to the combs, cut them out and fix them in a hive frames. The bees are then coerced into the box which is then closed up and relocated. Assuming it's possible to remove boards to get to the combs the cost would be in the region of $350 - $400. I only advocate live removals. I'm afraid I don't know of anyone who would remove them free, it is quite a difficult and complicated process. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: I'm highly interested in Beekeeping. Baseline knowledge is none. Can you please notify me if a group starts in my area. - Pam

A: Hi Pam. Actually there is a group in your area. I'm compiling a list of Bee Clubs and Associations around the country. If anyone knows of a group in their area which is not on the list, please ask them to go here and submit the details.

Honey Bee FAQ: I have a swarm in my roof in an inaccessible area. I tried the pesticide now I would like to see how it is done the right way. Thanks Bob

A: Hi Bob. Do you mean you've sprayed the bees and they're still there? I'd need to know a bit more. To remove them alive you'd need to access them to some extent. What do you mean they're, "in an inaccessible area"? If someone, especially an exterminator, sprays a bee colony it's usually better to call them back and finish the job. Removing bees which have been recently sprayed is not likely to be successful. The most important thing to remember is that unless any honey is removed it can cause a huge mess. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: We discovered the hive yesterday when we went to put in the air conditioner in our front (living) room window. Sounds like quite a number - we didn't notice them because there's always a loud fan blowing in that room. Would like consult and estimate and hopefully removal!! Thanks. Holly

A: If you'd like to give me more details of where exactly you think the bees are, how long they might have been there etc. I'll give you an idea of what your options are.

Honey Bee FAQ: I have a bee hive in a hole in my cement block wall in my backyard. I need someone to remove them however I do not want to harm them. Kathleen

A: Try looking on the Beekeeper page for California to see if there is anyone who is close to you who can remove them for you. Removing bees from a inside a wall isn't an easy thing, it will probably involve cutting a hole in the wall, so may be quite expensive. Bear in mind that even if you had them exterminated, the wall should still be opened to remove dead bees and honeycomb which can cause further problems. I do hope you are able to get them removed alive. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: I was wondering if you could change my listing for swarm catching and bee removal on your site. Could you remove all of the areas besides Kalamazoo County please?

A: Absolutely - Just go to the Beekeeper Swarm Removal List, submission page, fill in your details and you should see it appear on your State's page with a few days. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: Met you at the San Diego SBI conference last weekend and finally checked out your site! It's really great! Good Job! Your bee photos are... downright scary! Wendy

A: Thanks Wendy. It was great to meet you too. If you thought the photos were scary, wait till you see the videos, and there's more coming shortly. (For those of you wondering what the SBI Conference was all about, see Why I Created this SBI Site). - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: It was nice to meet you in San Diego. Thanks for all your contribution and especially the honey. Much appreciated. Wishing you great success with your site. May

A: Right back at you May. Hope you had a safe trip home to Scotland and have continuing success with your SBI site Scotlands-Enchanting-Kingdom

Honey Bee FAQ: I have left a message on your phone, but thought I'd try via e-mail, also. We've got a new swarm - brand new today, June 5, that is apparently taking up residence between an exterior wall and interior wall finish near a chimney at our house. if you can give us a call, that would be helpful. we'd like to get them out as soon as possible.

A: Removing bees which are inside a wall is certainly a challenge. It often means opening up the wall to get at the honeycombs. I remove these combs and suspend them in hive frames, I then encourage the bees to enter the box, close up the box and relocate them to a more suitable location. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: I'd like to buy some honey that was made in the San Diego area from you. Could I pick up the honey instead of ordering it on-line?

A: If you let me know a convenient time for you to come by my house I'm happy to sell you my honey (actually the bee's honey) and save on shipping. If you're too far away go here and order online, if you order a few jars at one time the shipping isn't prohibitive..

Honey Bee FAQ: I'm planning to move from NYC (where it is currently illegal to keep bees) to San Diego later this summer. I'm so glad to see your site and to know that I'll have resources when I get out there! I have a lot to learn still, but it's great that there will be others nearby who are passionate about it!

A: It amazes me that there are places which restrict beekeeping without and real rhyme or reason. Where I live it's forbidden to keep bees within 600 feet of the boundary, which makes no sense whatever, since bees fly up to 1½ miles when they're foraging. People keep bees in the center of New York City, Paris and London, they just do it discretely.

In England a call has gone out for people who have a space where hives can be kept, to contact local bee keepers to promote the keeping of bees. I suggest everyone should write to their Congressman to ask that these type of restrictions are relaxed. We must do everything we can to help the honey bee and encourage beekeeping. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: Honey bees are making their comb in our barbeque. Can you take them out without harming them?

A: Bees often seem to like the inside of a barbeque which hasn't been used for a few months. I have found removing bees alive from a place like this is usually successful. I cut out the combs, suspend them in wooden hive frames and place them in a hive. I them encourage the remaining bees into the hive box, close up the box and relocate them. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: I am looking for some local raw honey. I live in Santee.

A: Look no further, I have local honey for sale. Since you're not far from where I live you could easily arrange a time to come and get some, or I can ship it. If you buy several jars at a time, and honeycomb if I have some, the shipping isn't too bad. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: My father and I are local beekeepers in the upstate South Carolina area. How do we get our names added to your list?

A: That's easy, just go to the Beekeeper Swarm List Form and enter your details, the services you provide and how much you charge. Within a few days you'll see it on your State's page. To see the list of beekeepers go to the Bee Removal page and select your state from the clickable map. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: I have acres of land I was wondering if anyone would like to rent it to keep their bees . Or maybe start my own if profitable . Thank you for your expertise. Lisa

A: Unfortunately it's not usually economic for beekeepers to pay a monetary rent for land on which they keep bees. The rent is often something like 1lb jar of honey for every hive per year. In many places farmers, not know for their extravagance, pay commercial beekeepers to rent their bees in order to pollinate their crops. I was told that almond growers where paying $115 per hive, this year. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: I would like to put your website & contact information on my "Preferred Service Provider" Page on my real estate website. And maybe even take some information from your home page about bees and how important they are and post it on my site. Please let me know if that is OK and also confirm that you do not kill the bees right??? I just posted your information on our community website because someone has a swarm and they called an exterminator. I posted the info from your site and told them to call you. I hope that was OK. I just don't want bees to die. We are in such a bad way right now with the bee population. Anyway, I would love to put your information on my site. Let me know. Thanks! Geri

A: Please do! I love people to put links to my website on their sites. If it's appropriate for me to put a relevant link back to your site please let me know. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: We have some bees that need removal. Is anyone there interested in taking our bees and putting them in a safe place? I don't want to kill them!

A: Depending on the specific circumstances you should be able to find someone to remove this bee colony alive. Go to the Bee Hive Removal page and select your state from the clickable map. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: My son is in the fourth grade and completing an independent study on africanized bees in San Diego county. He wants to visit an apiary or interview a bee keeper about the importance of honey bees to agriculture. If you are willing, or know someone who is willing, to let us come visit them, I would be very appreciative. Thanks for any assistance you could give.

A: I love it when youngsters show an interest in beekeeping. I've taken an observation hive to schools to give a talk on beekeeping. I get wonderful, thoughtful, intelligent questions, even from quite young kids. I'm afraid the dumb questions often come from the adults. They say there are no dumb questions...... they're wrong. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: How can I get on your list of beekeepers who will remove swarms?

A: Very easily! - Just go to the Beekeeper Swarm Removal List, submission page, fill in your details and you should see it appear on your State's page with a few days. There's no charge for this service. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: On Feb 23 2009 a fire destroyed an existing bee hive on my property. Do you know a beekeeper that would sell me a replacement? It had one shallow and two deep supers.

A: I'm not sure if you want a beehive you can maintain yourself, or really want a beekeeper to put one of his hives on your land and for him to take care of it. Either way you can go to the Beehive Removal page and select your state from the clickable map. You might also like to take a look at the Honey Bees for Sale page. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: I can't seem to get rid of the bees in my pool. There are about 100 of them drinking and swimming in my hot tub, all summer long. I can't find a nest.

A: Bees can sometimes be a nuisance in pools and hot tubs. It usually occurs when the weather is particularly hot. The Bees are collecting water to take back to the hive, there they evaporate the water to cool the hive down, exactly the same as an old fashioned swamp cooler. Try putting out a large dish of water with gravel or burlap in the water to give the bees somewhere to stand while they drink. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: Robert here, and thanks for the reply yesterday, I've been kinda busy, but I was wondering if you could send me your email because I would love to send you photos of the insides of the boxes I opened, and then ask you for a few words of advice. Thanks.

A: Please send any pictures you like, I love to see picture and maybe I could post them here. - The Bee Guy

Honey Bee FAQ: I was looking at your website after a forum post you had made with SBI. I used to keep bees way back, and always like them - and their products. Anyway, it looks like you're off to a good start. Maybe you haven't finished this page, but there are a couple of spelling errors I thought I'd let you know about on your products page..   ...bees should keep their had (should be hard) won pollen...   ... Bees collect propolis from plants to us (should be use) as glue... Megan - Wellington NZ

A: Thanks Megan, you're right, but I've fixed them now. I'd just like to say that I'd love to get feedback about the website or about errors when they occur. If anyone has suggestions for subjects they'd like covered that would be very helpful too. - The Bee Guy


If you can't see the answer to your particular bee question in honey bee FAQ. Click on the "Ask A Question" link in the left hand column or click HERE to ask The Bee Guy a question which doesn't appear on the honey bee FAQ page! He will send you the answer by email and post it on this page to share with everyone else.