Bees are a common sight in the UK, especially during spring and summer. They are also a necessary part of the British ecosystem; bees are crucial pollinators. Without them, many plants and flowers would be unable to flourish. Bees also produce honey, and who doesn’t like honey?!
But bees can also cause problems for people. Their stings are painful for anyone, but for those with allergies, they can prove to be deadly. Bees are also in crisis, and their numbers are dwindling. A recent change to UK law designed to protect bees forbids the use of pesticides to deal with them.
However, there are still several things you can do to prevent bees from establishing themselves in your home without causing even more damage to the population.
Are Bees Dangerous?
For the most part, bees aren’t dangerous. Of course, if you or someone in your household is allergic to bee stings, they can present a serious threat. However, bees are rarely aggressive; they will usually only sting when they feel threatened. Some of the conditions that can cause bees to behave more aggressively include:
- The weather: Rain, heat, and high-humidity conditions all can trigger bees to act more aggressively. As a general rule, the more likely it is to rain, the more aggressively bees will behave. Towards the end of summer, bees tend to become much more bad-tempered. As the temperature and humidity rise, it becomes more difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature in the hive. Bees become more angry and likely to attack people as a result.
- A lack of nectar-producing plants and flowers: If bees don’t have access to plants and flowers that produce nectar, they will resort to attacking other hives to steal their supplies. When attached, bees release a pheromone that causes other bees in the surrounding area to act aggressively towards everything and everyone in the surrounding area, people included.
- Lack of a queen: Without a queen to lead them, bees act much more aggressively until a new queen is in place.
In rare cases, bees can attack people in a swarm. Swarms of bees have killed otherwise healthy people on occasion. Thankfully, these attacks are rare, but it is essential to be aware of them before you attempt to deal with a beehive on your property.
What to do With Bees in Your Home
Even though bees aren’t dangerous, many people are afraid to tackle even individual bees in their home thanks to their painful stings. To avoid this minor pain, people will often try to swat bees out the air, usually killing them as a result. However, we should all try to avoid killing bees unless absolutely necessary. Bees are essential to global ecosystems, and they are already under threat thanks to human activity. If you can get a bee back outside, it won’t cause you any further problems.
The first thing to try is simply opening a window. If you do this, a bee may well leave of its own accord. Alternatively, you can trap a bee under a glass and slide a piece of paper or another flat object beneath it. You can then take it outside yourself or release it by an open door or window.
What to do if Bees Swarm you
Bee swarms are thankfully rare, but they are always a potential risk when you are dealing with a hive of bees. Whether you are allergic to bee stings or not, a swarm can be deadly. Bees will usually only swarm when they are provoked or threatened, but in very rare cases they have attacked people in a swarm without provocation.
To minimise the likelihood of a bee swarm, here’s what you need to know:
- If you see a hive or large numbers of bees entering and leaving an area, do not approach it. If the hive is in a location where it might pose a danger to other people, you should call the council to deal with the problem. If the hive is on your property, leave the area and call a professional pest control expert. Never disturb or damage a hive.
- If bees are deliberately bumping into you, this is their way of warning you and trying to encourage you to leave the area. If you turn around and walk away, you can escape unharmed.
- If a swarm does attack you, run to the nearest enclosed space. Don’t hide underwater; the swarm can wait above the water for you.
- Never swat at a swarm of bees, it will only make them angrier. Instead, try to remain calm and move away from the area.
Removing Bees Without Pesticides
If you know a local beekeeper, they will have the necessary equipment and protective gear to remove a hive for you and will usually be happy to do so. Pungent smells such as garlic and cucumber peels can be effective deterrents against bees.
If all else fails, the most reliable way of dealing with bees is the same as any other pest; calling in a professional pest control technician to handle the problem.
Of course, prevention is the best cure with pests. There are numerous simple steps you can take to keep bees from building a hive on your property to begin with.
- Seal any cracks or holes on the outside of your property and outbuildings. Bees will be unable to enter and won’t have anywhere to build their hive.
- Use expanding foam or a similar form of insulation to fill in any cavities that bees could enter.
- Bees are attracted to areas where other bees have lived. Remove any beeswax, honey, or other traces of past beehives.
You shouldn’t worry about bees in your garden; they pollinate your plants after all. But bees inside your home can be an issue. You can carefully remove individual bees yourself, but you should never try to take on an entire hive. If you have a beehive on your property, contact Bon Accord today for further advice. If necessary, one of our technicians will come out to evaluate and deal with the issue for you.