A Bee Treatment Policy Is A Must – When To Treat and When NOT to Treat Bees

Of all the pests I’ve worked with, bees, if you can call them a pest in some situations, were my greatest fascination when I started my pest control company. There is a certain biological thrill mechanism that goes into high gear when you work with bees. One bee pollinating a flower is a beautiful sight to behold, but experiencing large bee hives in dark, enclosed quarters makes my heart pound. There is so much I’ve learned about bees, but I have so much yet to learn. The first and most important thing to know when working with bees is to respect their place and their power.

Pest technicians often ignore serious life threatening risks by not coming properly prepared to the job site. Special gear exists for work with bees for a reason. I know of at least one situation where a worker came within a minute of dying because of an inspection that was done without proper protection. We all have heard stories of people and pets that have died from bee swarms. …and they are not just AHB (Africanized honey bees). But we can become alarmists, looking to kill bees at the slightest sign of danger. As pest control professionals, we shouldn’t just be looking for the quick kill money. We need to take our responsibility for the environment seriously, our responsibility to balance nature and human life, not suppress nature in the guise of protecting human life.

This month you can read a new article of mine published as a web exclusive with Pest Management Professional Magazine, on the subject of the ethical treatment of bees. I hope you enjoy it and return here to comment.

Hearts Pest Management offers full service bee removal (bee eradication), bee exclusion, sanitation and cleanup. We suggest going to a company that specializes in carpentry for refinishing in cases where exterior or interior walls are opened for bee work.

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2 Responses to A Bee Treatment Policy Is A Must – When To Treat and When NOT to Treat Bees

  1. California Friend says:

    I just read your article in PMP Online about bees – nicely done. Were you talking exclusively about honeybees? If so, one additional “green” solution to a swarming mass of honeybee sisters is to contact a local honeybee organization. Unless the swarm is in an unusual location, they will usually be happy to send a member and remove the bees for you, free of charge (well, maybe that’s not the greatest of business models, but it makes most everyone happy…). This would not pertain to Africanized honeybees, of course.

  2. Gerry says:

    Yes, having them removed live is an option. We have not learned this skill. This is a dicey area. There are few pest control companies that do this. I believe Pestec does, but I would be surprised if it happens very often. It’s got to take at least 4 times as long, because you have to transport them, so you need to leave your route area to a likely remote location to deposit them. I would think you also need a closed van with a separate compartment (therefore some kind of specialized vehicle for bees). I also do not believe you could do it consistently, because, well, how many hives can a beekeeper take? The pest control industry locally gets hundreds, if not thousands of calls for bees regularly. I’ve also heard that any respectable beekeeper might be leary of acquiring hybrid AHBs or infecting their other colonies with diseased bees. But that concern might be overblown. I do know of one pest control company down here whose owner is a bee enthusiast and former beekeeper. He has a location where he takes them. He says he can not get much more than normal pricing, even though it is much more work. He says he just gets more volume. Most homeowners I speak to who ask about live removal will not pay a reasonable price for it. There is so much more liability and expense in the transport.

    There are non-pest control companies that do this work and they drive pest control companies crazy. They don’t advertise as pest control companies and therefore can’t be regulated. But somehow they always seem to have pesticides ready when needed. Typically, they end up killing many of the bees during vacuuming and kill the rest off site, in a private location. I think most companies, even the best prepared for this kind of work admit it is extremely difficult to save a hive if they are in a wall structure, which is what we often deal with.

    For us now, the best we can do is assess the level of danger and tell them when to just be patient and let them fly away. I’m sure with the upcoming season that I will again re-think and investigate further.

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