Removing a bee hive can be an intimidating task, especially when bee stings cause allergic reactions. However, with a few tools found around the house and some protective clothing, removing a colony of bees can be a fairly simple. It should be noted that due to the importance of bees in an ecosystem, killing the colony should be a last resort. According to Dr. Marion Ellis, an associate professor in entomology at the University of Nebraska, without bees hundreds of vegetable plants, flowers, trees, and seed crops will not be pollinated. Therefore, forcing the bees out of the hive, deterring the creation of a hive, altering the environment of an existing hive and creating a "bee zone" are all options that can be tried first before resorting to complete eradication.
Forcing Bees Out
Once bees are forced out, the actual cells of the hive will still need to be removed or the bees will simply return after the disturbance is over. Honeybee hives are of particular concern due to the residual honeycomb left behind when the bees vacate. The honey may attract all kinds of other pests if left in the siding of a house; also, the hive can melt and seep through the walls. Plan on working with the bee nest on cooler days and at night time when the bees are not as active. Wear rubber gloves and protective clothing to prevent bee stings. Small colonies of bees usually found under an overhang or eave of a structure can be forced out by vacuuming the bees and scraping the colony into a jar for relocation. Soak larger colonies with a hose to efficiently drive away bees. Smoke the bees out by burning wood or paper under the hive.
Deterring Hive Creation
Often bees will avoid creating a hive if the environment is inhospitable. Simply removing organic debris, flat boards and flat rocks from the yard will often be enough to deter the formation of hives. Likewise, applying a bit of caulking to exterior holes in the house may prevent nests in the siding. If all else fails, place a couple of mothballs in socks or pantyhose and hang them around the exterior of the house. The scent will prevent bees from making their home.
Altering the Environment of Existing Hives
If a hive is already established in an unwanted place, altering the environment will cause bees to seek a more desirable place to create a new nest. Two of the resources bees need to thrive is food and water; therefore, locating and removing the sources of food and water might be enough to drive them away. Doing this would entail cutting flowers and allowing water basins to dry up. Another alteration is to paint the wood surfaces near the hive. Bees are attracted to untreated wood so simply varnishing or painting the wood will make a nest in the area less desirable. Hives built in the ground can be disrupted by amending the soil with peat moss or compost, planting a ground cover, changing the slope and/or changing the amount of water applied to the area. Ground hives may also be vacated by the introduction of natural predators. Sprinkling egg shells on the ground around a hive will attract species of birds that feed on bees. Finally, if all else fails, plant garlic. The smell of garlic is detested by many animals, including bees. Planting garlic chives or cloves of garlic may be enough to force the bees to find a different home.
Create a Bee Zone
One way to assist in be reproduction without coming in close contact with bees is to create a bee zone. A bee zone is a welcoming environment for bees that provides all of the necessities for a safe and productive bee hive in a desired location. Such an area would consist first and foremost of food in the form of flowers. Flowers in a bee zone need to consist of many different, colorful varieties that bloom at different times during the year. Plants that attract bees include hollyhock, impatiens, chrysanthemum, echinacea, daisy and butterfly bush. Having a continual bloom of flowers will prevent bees from returning to an unwanted area in search of food. The second feature of a bee zone includes water. Ponds, bird baths, water gardens or barrels are all wonderful ways to keep bees stationary and hydrated. Last, an ideal place for bees to create a hive can be included in your bee zone. The flat surfaces of rocks and boards are very welcoming environments as are unpainted birdhouses and old tree stumps with holes in the surface.