Beehive or Honey Comb Treatment

An established honey bee colony will sometimes divide itself, and one or more swarms will leave the hive. The new swarm may cluster for a while on a tree limb or bush near the old hive while scout bees search for a suitable place to establish a new home. Usually scout bees find a hollow tree, but occasionally they will choose the wall voids of a home. Unfortunately, bees may nest in the wall or attic some distance from where they enter the wall. Carbaryl (Sevin) 5 percent Dust is an insecticide registered to exterminate bees from dwellings.

If it is not applied properly, persistent efforts may be needed to finally accomplish the job. Sevin dusted into the bee entrance may not reach the nest, which may be some distance from the entrance. Foraging bees passing through the dusted area will be killed, but the queen and house bees that stay home to take care of brood and tend to the nest may continue to live for some time. When house bees (young bees that remain in the hive) mature to take on field work chores, the colony may recover, unless the insecticide treatment is reapplied. Quicker and surer results will be received if the nest itself is treated. The nest can be located sometimes by tapping the wall with a hammer and listening for an answering buzz from the bees.

Once you know the general area of the hive, you can put a water glass on the wall and put your ear to the open end of the glass, and then slowly slide the glass around listening to the buzz behind the wall to locate the precise area occupied by the bee hive. When the nest is located, a hole may be bored, preferably through the outside wall, so insecticide can be applied onto the nest.

Established swarms are comprised of more bees, more comb, and more honey. Established colonies are best killed in late winter or early spring when their population is smallest. Treatment is effective when done in the very early spring, such as February or March, when stored honey is at its lowest level and the bee population is lowest and weakest.

New swarms are more easily killed soon after they enter the building. The best time of day to apply the insecticide is late afternoon when all the bees are at home. The bees will be less cross on nice days than when the weather is overcast or rainy. Do not plug the hole immediately after dusting the nest because this may force the agitated bees into the living quarters of the home. Bees will find or make unused or new exits, sometimes indoors.

Sting reactions, which may increase with succeeding stings, include:

  •   A choking sensation or difficulty in breathing.
  •   A skin rash similar to hives (human hives, not bee hives).
  •   A dry cough, sneezing or asthma. Lips turning blue.
  •   A rapid pulse and a drop in blood pressure.