Swarms of honey bees are usually very temporary occurrences. They may be present in your yard for just a few hours or several days. During this time, honey bees are usually quite calm. They are simply waiting to move on to their new home. If, after having ascertained they are honey bees, you feel you would prefer to have the bees removed, email us here with the details and leave your phone number for us to contact you. We will attempt to find a beekeeper close to your location.
Please don't spray them.
Help us save the much needed and important Honey Bee!
Please read the information below to help you determine that you indeed have a Honey Bee Swarm (for bees in your walls of your house see below). Regardless, do not spray them! Visit the links below to find a beekeeper in your area. Beekeepers like to recover swarms and help others in the process. If you hang around they'll teach you some things about bees too. They will need to know from you the particulars like, "I have a swarm of bees the size of a football, hanging in a bush, two feet from the ground, in my front yard at 5555 East Main St, Irmo, SC." A beekeeper will come out, hive them, and move them to where they will have the greatest chance of survival.
Are they Honey Bees?
If you are unsure whether you have honey bees please visit our All About Bees page to determine if what you are seeing is actually honey bees. If you are seeing is a honey bee swarm then email us here to contact our swarm call coordinator to arrange for swarm removal. If you have bees in the walls of your home skip to the section below titled "Bees in Buildings and Trees."
Bees in Buildings and Trees
Occasionally, bees or wasps will make their home within your walls or a tree on your property. While getting them out may be tricky, it is worth finding out if it is possible. Read more about why you should have them removed instead of exterminating them below.
Typically beekeepers do not do removals from structures or trees, but some do. Removals from homes are most often a fee for service situation. To assist you in your search, use the external link below to find a beekeeper or business that can help you remove unwanted bees from your structure or tree. The list will take you to a nationally maintained list of South Carolina beekeepers that includes individuals and businesses that do removals, etc.
Mid-State Beekeepers Association does not recommend, make referrals, or try to connect beekeepers and homeowners for removals from structures. Removals necessitate a specific skill set not taught in beekeeping and because of this we do not want to give the impression of sending someone that, in fact, may or may not possess those skills. You will find on the national list (below) both individuals and local businesses that wish to be contacted for cutouts or removals. To insure you are protected, we recommend you consider experience, contractor licenses, insurance, and satisfy yourself with the business or individual prior to entering into a contract for services.
We hope this external link assists you in your search to find someone locally:
For more information on bees in structures visit Clemson Extension's webpage: Honey Bee Colony Removal From Structures.
Reasons to NOT spray insecticides on honey bee swarms, or when found inside your home.
Last year, while responding to honey bee swarm calls, on more than one occasion I arrived only to find that the owner had already sprayed insecticide on the bees. This is almost always a bad idea for several reasons.
First, if it's a swarm, local beekeepers will typically gladly lend a hand to help you remove the bees and often at little or no charge. You get the bees removed, save yourself and your family exposure to insecticide, and get to feel good about saving one of our environment's most valued pollinators.
If the bees have established a colony within your home things get more complex. Always consult the advice of a bee removal service before spraying insecticides. Last year, I responded to a swarm call that turned out to be an established colony in a home. The lady of the house was standing outside the home spraying the colony entrance with insecticide. She had already depleted one can and was working on her second. While it may have been as easy as removing a small piece of soffet to extract the bees, I no longer was going to risk bringing back chemically laden bees to my home bee yard. But there is more to it that that. Aside from all her children standing around getting a good dose of the overspray from the can, she was killing the flying bees which feed and support the hive. This meant that thousands of larvae would die shortly thereafter and leave her with a rotting odor inside her home in the days that followed.
Another call I received in late summer had me arrive to find an inpatient landlord spraying inside an attic. He told me that he determined that the bees clustered on the outside were actually entering the house and had established a hive in the attic. He thanked me for coming, but said he didn't have time to wait as he hoped to have the house rented later that day. Before leaving I told him that unless he wanted a damaged ceiling, drywall and furnishings, he should consider having the hive removed because without the bees fanning the wax comb, the comb would melt releasing perhaps gallons of honey, and he'd be receiving complains from his new tenants. (not to mention the smell of decaying bees and larva and attracting ants, roaches, and other pests for months to come).
In closing, consider that spraying the bees is a poor effort to quickly eliminate a complex problem, and will often lead to more expensive problems in the days that follow. The time spent consulting a local beekeeper or bee removal service first is time well invested.
Lots of buzzing going on!