A Bird? A Plane? No, a Bee!

By Molly Keck

This is the time of year when bees are swarming and many people become concerned. But don’t be too alarmed. Unless you disturb them, many bees are harmless.

If you see a large mass of bees balled up and hanging from a branch or attached to a wall, that is a swarm. Most likely the old nest got too large and the queen took off with some workers to find another home. They’ll probably move from the area once they find a suitable location.

To prevent bees from nesting in or near your home, make sure all soffit, attic and crawl space vents are properly backed with fine mesh screens. But if you’ve noticed bees buzzing around more frequently, there may already be an established nest in your area. It’s best to hire professionals with bee experience to destroy any active nests. But if you prefer to exterminate the nest yourself, mix one cup of liquid soap to one gallon of water and spray them with a fine mist until they all drop down. When you’re done, rinse the soapy mixture off of any desirable plants.

Bee keepers are also a good source for bee removal. Just verify they are licensed by the Structural Pest Control Board — they must be if they charge for bee removal. If the bee keeper removes the bees and does not charge, that is legal.

Molly Keck is an entomologist with Texas Agri-Life Extension.

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