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.


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