When a colony of Honey bees takes up residence inside a building they quickly build comb and rear more bees and begin to store honey. Bees can build comb and honey stores at an amazing rate and the queen will lay up to 3000 eggs per day.
A honey bee colony in good heath is rarely a problem for the building, but the homeowner may not appreciate the presence of 100,000 new stinging tenants! The problems really start if the colony succumbs to mites or various diseases which can kill the bees. This may lead to unguarded combs full of honey being eaten by wax moths or mice causing the collapse of the combs and honey, in turn, honey could literally be running out of the walls of the building!
In most cases it is desirable to have the bees relocated as quickly as possible.
How it started.
The arrival of a swarm of bees can be an impressive, and to some, a terrifying sight! Scout bees will have previously identified an entrance to a suitable cavity in the building. This is usually a gap in boards in the siding or soffits of the house leading to a space either in the soffits, between a floor and ceiling or in a wall.
Swarms can vary in size from 10,000 to 50,000 bees. They are often heard before they are seen as the cloud of bees settles, then, over about 15 minutes, walks into their new home.
They immediately begin to clean out the space and construct new comb.
Within a few days the queen will be laying thousands of eggs per day. It takes three weeks for these eggs to hatch out as adult honey bees.
On any warm days bees will be flying in and out of the entrance to the hive. There may even be more than one entrance. The entrance is usually at head height or higher, very rarely low to the ground (these are usually bumble bees). Usually there are 50 or more bees per minute leaving or entering the hive. In a strong hive this may be several hundred per minute.
Within weeks the hive can be substantial.
What should I do?
First of all don’t panic! Honey bees in Maine are rarely aggressive and can almost always be removed safely, without resorting to poisons.
Call me on (207) 299 6948 and I will ask you some questions to help identify where they have built their home and the best approach to remove them. If you are able to take pictures and email them to me even better!