You are currently viewing archive for September 2009

21 September 2009

Florida Beekeeping Event Calendar

We now have many new Beekeeping Associations here in Florida (yea!!), so I've made a calendar of Bee keeping events in the state of Florida. We here at ALL Florida Bee Removal
support Florida Beekeeping & like to make as many beekeeping meetings as possible!!

04 September 2009

Looking for FREE Yellow Jacket or Ground Hornet Removal?

Well, we might have a deal for you! Our entomologists are currently conducting research on Yellow jackets in Florida and are looking for a few good yellow jacket nests to perform trials on.
Another common name is ground hornet, so if you are looking for free ground hornet removal, please contact us. If your nest fits the parameters of the study, we may be able to treat your nest for free!!! (or at least a very, very low cost)

10/29/2009 Update: Only a few slots remain, call now to reserve your FREE Yellow Jacket treatment and removal!

9/16/2009 update: Eligible yellow jacket slots are filling up. Please contact us soon so you can have your Yellowjacket nest treated and removed for FREE!!

Contact us at : 800-343-5317
and mention "Free Yellow Jacket Study"

or go over to this form here, fill it out & of our Entomologists will contact you!

9/16/2009: Note: you can also reach us on our local numbers: Orlando/Brevard/Osceola: 321.251.8064 DeLand/Volusia: 386.490.4541 Jacksonville/St.Augustine: 904.807.6645 Gainesville/Ocala/Lake: 352.870.0346 Tallahasee: 850.391.0272 Tampa/Hillsborough: 813-930-BUGS (2847) Pinellas/St. Petersburg: 727-443-BUGS (2847)

YVespula maculifrons, Southern Yellowjacketellow jackets are wasps that can be extremely fierce defenders of their nests. The populations of these nests can range above 100,000 individuals, making them very dangerous to treat. They are in the Vespid group of wasps, and build nests out of chewed-up barks and other cellulose materials. (Bees produce wax to make their nests)

All Yellow jackets are carnivorous, usually feeding on insects such as caterpillars. They will chew the caterpillars up, right on the spot, and bring the goodies back to the nest, feeding the developing larvae grub. They’ll readily feed on other meat sources too, and often bother hunters, as they are field dressing shot animals. We used to capture them for research using canned tuna!

We have two common Yellow Jacket species in Florida, the Eastern Yellow jacket, Vespula maculifrons, & the Southern Yellow Jacket, Vespula squamosa.

Vespula maculifrons, Eastern Yellow Jacket worker This Yellow Jacket on the left is the Eastern Yellow Jacket. It tends to have small to medium size nests, and in Florida can easily overwinter in the ground, where it usually builds its nests.
This species has one queen per colony, which limits the size of its nests.

We have more info over at our website,

Contact us at : 800-343-5317
and mention "Free Yellow Jacket Study" or our local numbers below:
Orlando/Brevard/Osceola Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 321.251.8064
DeLand/Volusia Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 386.490.4541
Jacksonville/St.Augustine Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 904.807.6645
Gainesville/Ocala/Lake Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 352.870.0346
Tallahassee Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 850.391.0272
Tampa/Hillsborough Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 813-930-BUGS (2847)
Pinellas/St. Petersburg Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 727-443-BUGS (2847)

03 September 2009

Late Summer Honey Bee Swarms - Should I have a bee swarm removal performed?

Yesterday, I ran across a great blog maintained by a very interesting lady, Mo, who lives in Arizona. A honey bee swarm landed in her backyard tree, and being a naturalist, she wants to save the honey bees. She’s been researching honey bees and swarms and getting quite the education about these complex social insects and the dilemma we are now facing with Africanized Honey Bees. Please take a look at her blog here. I wrote a post on her blog, and she was kind enough to consider my thoughts. Here is a follow up to my post, and it applies to anyone who encounters a late summer bee swarm.

“About your bee visitors. Ladybug gave good advice, when they advised that you could probably leave the swarm alone, and it will leave on its own. Swarms are *usually* transitory, providing a resting and reconnoitering waypoint, until the bee scouts find a permanent location. You probably have a mother colony nearby and can expect to see more swarms in the future.

And, swarms are mostly non-defensive, meaning that the sting risk is low, probably because they have no nest, young or honey to defend, and they are focused on finding the permanent colony location. The clock is ticking, as they have maybe a week’s worth of honey stored in their crops.

Here are my opinions, fwiw:

1. I’d bet the swarm was Africanized, based on the size. It’s a small swarm, plus European bees will rarely send out swarms this time of year.

2. Swarms in late summer are probably loaded with parasites, such as varroa mite, which is believed by many to be a major culprit in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). These small swarms can be thought of as ‘taking one for the team’, as they might be an effective means of removing a high proportion of the parasite load of the mother colony. Beekeepers risk infecting their own bees if they hive these parasite and disease laden bees.

3. Honey bee populations are increasing, & sacrificing one swarm near a residence will have little effect on the population. Yes, the media has publicized our higher mortality rates of honey bees lately, but I think an important message has not been conveyed: Wild bee populations have actually been increasing in much of the U.S., and in some areas, we are seeing an explosion of bees! Of course, this population growth might be due to Africanized (AHB) intrusion, which is a double edged sword…GREAT for pollination, not so good for humans and domestic animals, as they can be quite defensive and a significant sting risk.

4. Transporting and relocating may be an option, but realize that this swarm probably won’t survive. It’s small, probably has a virgin queen of low quality, and likely has a high parasite load.

One important note: Many will tell you that they can identify Africanized bees, based on behavior or morphology (what they look like). Let me assure you that these are false claims. I have a Master’s degree in Entomology, with a stinging insect specialization. I employ an entomologist who has spent years in Africa, keeping hundreds of African bee hives. My partner is an entomologist with years of honey bee experience. Even we can’t ID AHB by casual observation. We have to perform a lengthy test involving ~50 bees, dissections, measurements and calculations to get even a probability of Africanization. And like I mentioned before, swarms & newly established colonies (European & AHB) are usually non-defensive, so that is useless as a means of identification. Our website has some info on swarms that might be helpful, although it mainly deals with Springtime bee swarms, a totally different process: Honey Bee Swarm Info here

Please keep watch around your home, as bees often move into soffits, wall voids and many other areas in & around the house.

Please bee careful with opinions (even mine!), as I’ve found many providers in this field are crafty, and tell the client what they *want* to hear. As an insect scientist, I try to be aware of my feelings and bounce them against fact.

Oh, one other note, please keep watch around your home, as bees often move into soffits, wall voids and many other areas in & around the house.

So, I guess my advice would bee to do what feels right. If your desire is very strong to have the bees relocated, have it done, but please have a licensed expert, one who has beekeeping experience, required licenses for pest control ( application of residual pesticide will help keep a repeat occurrence), commercial liability & workmen’s comp insurances. There is no reason for you to be liable for an incident that gets out of hand in today’s litigious society. Realize this will likely cost more than eradication of the colony, which is ok in my opinion. Again, if you go with eradication, employ a qualified provider. I have seen really, really unqualified providers make a mess of things and homeowners need not go through such an experience.

Bee well! Richard Martyniak, M.Sc. Entomologist (and super-tall beekeeper)”

p.s. I've always loved this bee swarm rhyme: "A swarm in May's worth a rick of hay; And a swarm in June's worth a silver spoon; while A swarm in July isn't worth a fly."

02 September 2009

I have honey bees in my tree. Is bee removal necessary?

We receive several calls a day to ALL Florida Bee Removal from folks that have bees in a tree, usually in their yard and the question is asked: I have bees in my backyard tree, They have'nt stung me. Should I get the bees removed from the tree?

boy throwing rocks at bees
It's a good question, after all the interior of trees are the natural nesting spot for honey bees. Think Winnie the pooh and the bee tree. Tree holes are a near-perfect place for a bee colony to build a hive (nest). They usually offer a void that is insulated from cold, relatively dry, and best of all, are accessible by a small hole that is easily defended from potential attackers, such as skunk, racoon, other bee colonies (robbing bees), and most of all, Teenage boys!

bee removal in tree using ladder
Yes, it's cool to have a colony of bees living in one's backyard, so close and easily observed. But, we get many calls from clients, that have been stung multiple times, by bees that previously have been so gentle. Activities such as mowing, edging or leaf blowing, can agitate a colony of bees into a sting event. It's not unusual for a client to suffer 100 stings before he or she can get off the lawnmower and away to safety.

And the really sad event for us, is when a dog is confined to a back yard, the honey bees get agitated and deliver hundreds or thousands of stings to the hapless pooch. If a client has dogs or children, OR has neighbors with dogs or children, we always recommend a treatment and exclusion to prevent reinfestation by another colony of bees.

honey bees living in tree trunk
We can often handle bee nests that are located high in trees, either working by ladder, manlift, or by rope climbing.

The tree bee hives that bees build inside trees are very interesting. They often have to twist the building of combs to make them fit inside the trunk. And, they make a substance from tree resins to help seal the interior, keeping out pests and controlling fungal and bacterial infections. We call this bee-glue or propolis. Many folks around the world use propolis as a daily remedy for what ails ya!

These photos are courtesy of Anthony Vaudo. He's a Master's graduate student from University of Florida's Entomology Dept. He works for Dr. Jamie Ellis, Apiary Extension Entomologist. We had Anthony ride with us several days to get some experience working with bee removals. He's heading over to Africa to do research on the Cape Bee, Apis capensis.