I regularly remove bee colonies from the walls and ceilings of homes. It may be quicker/cheaper to have the colony killed by an exterminator, but if the dead bees are left in place, they will create a foul smell as the bees and larvae go rancid. Additionally, if the honeycombs are left in place, they will attract ants and vermin… Often the honey will be disturbed and will start to leak out of the walls months later. It is therefore usually best to open the wall/ceiling cavity to remove the entire bee colony and honeycombs. I typically INCLUDE restoration of the wallboard/plaster, leaving it in a paint-ready state. The work takes anywhere from 2 – 10 hours and costs anywhere from $600 to $2400 depending on ease of access and how large the colony is.
I can also do non-destructive removal of bees via the “Trap-Out” method detailed below.
Here is a video of a removal of bees from a ceiling in Cremorne:
This video shows removal of bees from between floor-joists in Greenwich:
Here we have a removal from a bathroom wall in Pagewood:
This is a removal from under a built-in pool in Northbridge!
This job, in Glebe, was one of the most unpleasant (and most messy) I have ever done…
Below are photos of other jobs, to give you an overview of different situations.
This house in Lane Cove had an open floor-plan, so I installed sheeting to keep the bees and smoke out of the house:
The colony had only been there for 3 months but had collected over 20kg of honey…
This colony in Epping was about 7 months old. Removal and all repair (including painting) took 6 hours. The bees were saved and relocated. My son (in photo) was stung 7 times. He jumped around a bit, but never complained… The bees came in through a weep-hole in the bricks. I use a bee-vacuum to collect the bees. It sounds rough, but it is the safest way for the bees…
If access to the wall cavity is impossible, I can do a “Trap Out” colony removal. I place a one-way door over the entrance and a beehive beyond that. Over several weeks, all the bees will have to leave the hive (they never poop in the hive), but the one-way door prevents them from getting back in. They establish themselves in the external hive, which I can then move to an acceptable location. In this project (Brookvale) the queen also came out.
Below is another trap-out, in Neutral Bay. I left it for 2 months, by which point the bees were fully established in their new hive. The bees had moved in through a gap around the drain pipe. It was impossible to remove them directly through the ceiling of the bathroom without disturbing fireproofing and waterproofing…
This colony in Ryde was in place for 5+ years. The bees had been poisoned in the past, but the poison wore-off and the hive was re-colonized by bees a couple years later. Unfortunately, due to the poison, we could not save the honey, but we re-homed the bees to a regular beehive. Bees will smell the honey in “abandoned” hives and go to extreme lengths to get to it. It is best to remove the honey in situations like this.
This colony in Drummoyne was several years old. The bees were VERY friendly, which made removal much easier. You can see the bees in the dark patch behind my head. All of the white combs are for storing honey.
This is my daughter (15), helping with the job. She did not get stung at all, this time…
Completed job, the homeowner will patch the hole together with other renovation work. Bees were relocated to Neutral Bay… Hole on outside wall was blocked to keep bees from re-colonizing the space.
This job was in Allambie Heights. The bees were there less than 2 weeks.
Brick-veneer construction with no insulation leaves plenty of space for a bee nest between vertical studs. Bees entered from a standard wall vent immediately below this cavity. There are about 8,000 bees in a colony this size.
This photo is a colony in Hunters Hill. The yellow cells in center are bee brood (bee larva sealed-in to undergo metamorphosis into flying insects). The white patch in upper right is mature honey.
This is a typical layout for a “cut-out”. Hole above ladder exposes the nest.
This is the nest in hole above ladder. They were there for less than 10 days.
This is one of the combs from the above nest. Friendly bees -I work without gloves whenever possible…
This shows where the white beeswax combs were attached to the roof of the cavity. I scraped this clean, sealed the gap, removed the last bees, and filled the cavity with glass-wool insulation so that if bees sneak in again, they will not find a cavity for their nest.
This colony in Green Valley had very little honey. I salvaged just one small piece of honeycomb for the homeowner…
Here the bees have been removed…
Here the plasterboard has been repaired, ready for painting…
This is at a home in Redfern. The bees found the one section of wall that did not have insulation. They were there for about 2 weeks.
I had to extend the opening into the next cavity to catch all of the bees…
Here I have filled the cavity with glass-wool insulation, making future re-colonization by bees impossible… (and completing the insulation of their wall!)
Sometimes bees living in trees also need to be relocated. The hollow in this tree extended as far as I could reach. I also used a chemical bee “repellant” to encourage the bees to come out to where I could catch them.
Most people in Ku-Ring-Gai council area will remember these green-waste bins. This one was untouched for 5+ years… A small twig held the lid open a crack and bees moved in, probably two summers ago.
This colony was in the small roof of a bay window in an old Victorian in North Sydney. The black combs were probably 10 years old…
This is after full repair of the plaster:
I sealed the bee’s entry point from the outside with expanding foam:
This was a colony in Newtown, where bees had re-settled in an old colony. The yellow foam was from previous attempts to keep the bees out (they will try very hard to get into cavities that smell good to them from previous colonies…):
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