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08 July 2009

Honey bees in your swimming pool?

Here we are in the depths of summer and we are getting daily calls and emails asking "How do I get rid of honey bees in my swimming pool?"

During these hot summer days, the temperatures inside bee hives can get very hot, threatening the health of the colony's brood (eggs,larvae & pupae). To cool down the hive, bees seek out water, collect it, take it back to the colony, & use it like a swamp cooler, (evaporative cooler). They will fan their wings, creating airflow, distributing the water vapor, which whisks heat away from the colony. Pretty cool, eh?

Honey Bees are like mini AWACS planes, outfitted with olfactory sensors. We find that they like water that is dirty or smelly, presumably so they can find the water on return trips. It makes little difference whether the water is very close or not. Once they find a suitable source, they will exploit it fully, meaning you could have 10's of thousands of honey bees utilizing your pool. We've had customers suffer dozens of stings trying various methods found on the internet.

Repellents don't work once bees have found the pool. Adding additional chlorine or salt won't work either.

If the bees are coming from a local beekeeper, talk to him or her and make sure that water is being offered at the apiary.

The only method we know that works is to cover the pool, physically barring the bees from acessing the pool. Leave it covered for a few days until they have found another source, which they will exploit completely.

for more info, visit our website at

Richard Martyniak, Entomologist

04 July 2009

Swarm of Bees delays San Diego Padres game July 2, 2009

A swarm of honey bees alighted on a jacket in the Padre's ballpark yesterday, and play had to be suspended until the swarm could be dealt with. Here's a video of the operation:

Now, I've seen comments on other websites blasting the eradication of the swarm. Most are emotionally charged and equate bees as being our "little friends" or something along those lines. True, honey bees are great pollinators and produce that wonderful honey product, but here's what noone seems to mention...that San Diego is in Africanized Honey Bee territory!

It's likely that those "little friends" were Africanized, meaning that they are not suitable for beekeeping.....plain and simple. We are encountering Africanized Honey Bees here in Florida, and after trying to work with feral swarms and cutouts, we are much less likely to bring them into our beeyards, as they are mean as fire, and no sane beekeeper will tolerate mean bees for long.

So, those of you who called the exterminator a "monster" or other silly names, get a grip. True, his protocol was dead wrong. We never apply aersosols on swarms, which will increase sting risk, but his ignorance aside, those bees should have been put down. The liability risk to him & the arena owners was just too high, no single swarm is worth a possible sting incident. In AHB areas, where people or animals are nearby, live swarm removal should never be attempted.

Richard Martyniak