Buzz Off: Getting Rid Of Bees

Bees can be quite bothersome when you're trying to relax with a cool glass of lemonade on your back porch on a Sunday morning. In their defense, they're only doing their job, and it's certainly no coincidence that they gave us the phrase 'busy as a bee'. Bees are some of most prolific pollinators of flowering plants in the animal kingdom. What's more, they're usually very docile and will not sting unless repeatedly provoked, unlike social wasps, which are far more aggressive.

Let The Problem Bee: Leaving Well Enough Alone

While it's usually normal to have a few bees buzzing around your garden during the day, you should be aware of when and where they are building hives. If the hive is too close for comfort – for example, in the vicinity of your front door – then it may be wise to encourage them to relocate. On the other hand, if you feel that there's no risk of being stung, and the only bees you see are few and far between, then it's best to leave them to their own devices.

Getting Rid Of The Beehive: What To Be Aware Of

If you've already tried to ignore them, and their visits seem to be getting more frequent, the first step would be to locate their hive. There are a couple of issues with this. First, it may not be on your property; they may be coming over just because your flowers have the most delicious pollen on the block. In such cases, it would be better to call animal control to deal with the issue, unless your neighbor is the sort that won't bite your head off if you told him to have the hive in his front yard removed. Second, the hive may not be easily accessible. Usually, however, if they're built on trees, then maximum height will be about 16 feet. In any case, if you'd rather not bother with the hive itself, then trapping could be your answer.

Trapping: Bees In A Bottle

One of the simplest tools in the business of bee-trapping is a plastic pop bottle. Just cut away the top portion and invert it over the bottom part like a funnel. A surprisingly familiar drink that works wonders in luring them into the bottle to drown their sorrows (and themselves) is Mountain Dew. Do this for several days, until the bees get the message that they're not wanted. Although very intelligent by design, they have a hard time grasping the fact that their friends who 'hit the bottle' aren't coming back. Obviously there are several other sophisticated traps, and even 'bee hotels' if you don't care to kill them, but the basic trapping mechanisms are very similar.

Getting Rid Of Bees: Bring In The Pros

If you have a truly big hive problem (the operative word being big), then it may be a more suitable option to call a professional beekeeper. They usually won't charge you for it and some of them actually pay to take the bees away. If you're surprised to hear it, don't be, because reports suggest that bee populations are on the decline, and some sources even go as far as to pin down the percentage of decline to a whopping 97% under the original count. In any case, it's a lot safer to have trained personnel taking care of the problem, even if you do have to pay a nominal amount for it. This is especially important if you have anyone in the family who is allergic to bee stings.

For The DIYer: Tools And Tips For An Effective Bee Hunt

If you're thinking of tackling the problem yourself, then take care to follow a simple set of procedures designed to minimize (not eliminate) any risks. Don your thickest sweats, socks and gloves, using elastic bands to seal the exposed areas, and arm yourself with a can of projectile bee spray (the kind that can shoot a stream of aerosol at least 15 feet long). You may also want to wear a face mask, but be sure to let your neighbors know that you might be on the prowl in your own yard at night covered from head to foot carrying a can of bee spray. Otherwise you might end up flat on your stomach with your hands cuffed behind you with a 'what the hey' look on your face. When you're spraying the hive, be as thorough as possible; you may have to do it for a few consecutive days to make sure you've done the job properly. You can then have it removed and consider your problem solved.