Honey bees are beneficial insects, pollinating many of our crops. However, they can sting and if nests are in inappropriate places they may have to be removed. How to deal with honey bee nests and swarms and prevent bee stings.
Honey Bee Swarms
- If you find a large 'clump' of bees, hanging from a branch or the side of your house, this is likely to be a bee swarm. This is a queen with her new colony looking for a place to build a nest. Contact your local bee-keeper (see the Apiculture New Zealand swarm collection contact list) and he/she will try and collect the swarm without harming it for use in honey production. The swarm may move on of its own accord within a day or two.
Note: Honey bees are generally not aggressive while swarming. Great care should be taken in treating the entrance to a nest as there is a risk of being stung. It may be advisable to do this operation at night when there is no wasp or bee activity.
- Only control honey bees as a last resort. The nests of wasps and bees generally have only one entrance/exit. If this can be identified the colony can be destroyed by sprinkling or puffing the apicide NO Wasps Eliminator powder into the entrance. The workers will then pick up the dust as they enter the nest and take it inside where it will kill larvae and queens.
Note: The problems caused by honey bee colonies that have had time to build a nest are not likely to be solved using insecticide alone because the honey store in the nest will continue to attract bees and wasps. The honey store must be removed or sealed up following destruction of the colony.