In the warm months, honey bees spend their days collecting pollen and nectar. Sometimes a colony of bees does so well that they need more space to live. This will cause a queen bee to leave with half of the worker bees to look for a new place. If you’re not up-to-date on your home maintenance, their new home might just be inside your walls!

In the wild, honey bees naturally build colonies inside hollow trees. If there is a hole for bees to get inside the walls of a house, they are just as happy to set up there. Inspect the outside of your home for holes that are 1/8 (one-eighth) inch across or larger. Fill those holes with caulking or cover them with a wire screen. Remember to check around masonry, too, for holes that need to be filled. Attic vents can also provide a place for bees to access the inside of your home, so they should be covered with wire screens as well. Look for loose boards that could give bees a chance to get in the eaves or into a wall. Honey bees may also establish a colony in other things around your property, like old barrels or pieces of machinery.

If you find a colony of honey bees on your property, they should be left undisturbed. Call your local cooperative extension office or a professional as soon as possible. The longer a colony of bees is in a structure, the more difficult they are to remove. Killing the bees with poison isn’t a good solution because they will leave behind comb, brood, and honey. Those will rot and attract pests like mice, as well as a new colony of bees someday if the entrance isn’t covered. The best course is to get an evaluation from an experienced person who can give you options and recommendations on how to remove the bees and get your home back in its best condition.

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