Honey bees are the most useful insects in Tennessee and throughout the world. They are tireless pollinators who are vital to crop success, and accordingly they are treated with more respect than most other insects. Unless honey bees are nesting inside a home or other building, or are creating a hazard to humans, they are generally left alone. They rarely attack unless provoked, and the pollinating work that they do is too vital to unnecessarily interfere with.
The reason honey bees pollinate flowers is actually incidental to what they are trying to do, which is gathering nectar. They carry pollen from flower to flower as they forage, but that's not the reason they do it. They're looking for nectar.
Honey bees also are among the most advanced social insects. Every bee in a colony has a job to do, all controlled by the colony's queen using at least two languages that we know of. One is the use of chemical messengers called pheromones and is pretty common among animals in general. The other is a system of gestures and flight maneuvers by which the bees are able to communicate information such as good potential nest locations, the direction and distance to flowers and nectar, and the presence of possible threats to the colony.
Honey bees rarely attack. That would not be in their evolutionary interest because honey bees die after inflicting a sting. When they do attack, however, they do so ruthlessly and in great numbers. The moral of that story is not to give honey bees a reason to label you a threat. As long as they believe you're harmless, they'll return the favor. Antagonize them, and they'll attack with a vengeance.
Honey bees establish new colonies when the queen or one or more younger reproductive females (known as "virgin queens") leave the colony with some of the colony's workers. If it's the colony's queen who departs, she'll take most of the workers with her and leave the new queen and some of the workers behind. If it's a virgin queen who departs, she'll take fewer workers along with her. Who goes where, like everything else about a bee colony's life, is controlled by the colony's existing queen.
When the queen and workers depart the colony, they usually travel a short distance and huddle together, usually in a tree, while a few workers, known as "scouts," look around for good nesting locations. When the scouts return, they have a meeting amongst themselves and discuss the various nesting sites they found (seriously), and then return to where the rest of the bees are huddling to report their findings to the queen. Once she gives her approval, the bees will depart as a group to the new location.
Honey bee swarms can be terrifying to people who don't understand what's happening. A swarm of stinger-equipped insects can appear very menacing. But the reality is that a fight is the last thing the young bee colony is looking for. They have no nest and no food except what's in their bellies, and if they don't find a nesting place within a few days, they will die. Picking a fight is the absolute last thing a swarm of honey bees wants to do.
As previously mentioned, there is little need to bother honey bees who are nesting outdoors, a safe distance away from places where humans congregate. The bees may be willing to die for their colony, but they're not eager to. If you present no threat to them, they'll leave you alone. Exactly how far away is a "safe distance" depends on the particulars of the situation, the most important being whether anyone in the household is allergic to bee stings.
When honey bees build nests inside homes, businesses, or other buildings, however, both the bees and their nests must be removed. Here's why.
Honey bees build nests in hollow voids. In nature, those voids are usually hollow trees. In buildings, honey bees usually build nests in wall and ceiling voids, soffits, leaky HVAC ducts, and large mechanical equipment like generators. Because the bees "air-condition" their nests by flapping their wings, if the bees are removed without removing the nests, the honey and wax inside the nests will melt. That can cause staining and damage to the house, and also can attract other insects and wildlife.
In most cases, this means that we will have to cut into the wall, ceiling, or other place where the bees are nesting to remove the nest. We keep the damage minimal by accurately locating the nest using a variety of methods including electronic stethoscopes and infrared cameras. We also patch the nest location with sheet rock or whatever other surface was there to begin with before we leave. The customer, however, is responsible for taping, finishing, and repainting the area (or hiring painters to do it for them).
Because a honey bee nest can be quite a distance from the visible entry holes, it's important that you not block those holes or treat them with an insecticide. If the bees can't use their customary entrance and exit holes, they'll find new ones -- and those new ones might be in the living area of your home. So once you call us, just hang tight until we arrive. You don't want to make the situation any worse.
Honey Bee Control Gallery
Here are some randomly-selected pictures of honey bee work we've done in Tennessee and elsewhere.
Honey bee foraging on a catnip flower
Honey bees in a cabin in Signal Mountain
Difficult honeybee removal job at a hotel
Honey bee swarm on the limbs of a tree
Honey bee combs in ceiling void in Dunlap
Honey bees in the rafters in Chattanooga
Honey bees in a house in Harrison
Honey bee nest in a soffit in Signal Mountain
Locating honey bees in a ceiling
Honey bees in the ceiling in Collegedale
Honey bee nest in East Brainerd
Brad removing a honey bee comb from a wall
Close-up of a piece of honeycomb
Infrared photo of honey bees in a chimney
Honey bee removal in East Ridge
Please contact us to learn more about honey bee removal in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee. We look forward to meeting you.