Bee-ware AND Bee-aware

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Bee-ware AND Bee-aware

Dealing with honey bee “pests” in the best and ethical ways possible.

Honey bees and beehives do a lot more for us than you might think. Yes, they make honey, but they also pollinate crops that produce almonds, strawberries, and alfalfa for dairy cows. Unlike a certain other insect (looking at you, wasps!) that can look similar but does little to contribute and are actually pests, honeybees are an essential part of our agriculture. Which is why it’s a bit disheartening that the state of California considers bees a pest and grounds for extermination when a tenant complains of an infestation.

This isn’t to say these complaints aren’t valid; despite all the benefits bees provide us, they can be extremely dangerous, especially when cycling through aggression phases common during late summer/early fall when the weather is hot and humid. In the worst case scenario, a tenant can potentially face life-threatening conditions due to allergic reactions to a bee sting. As such, the first reaction is to immediately call your regular pest control company.

This has its problems:

  • Most pressing, beneficial honey bees are killed, leaving less bees to produce honey and pollinate crops.
  • Insecticides can contaminate the honeycombs within the walls of the infested area. The wax walls can melt in summer heat, causing fermentation and bleeding that can stain the interior drywall.
  • The leftover honey, wax, and dead bees can attract other pests like ants and cockroaches. It could even attract new bees looking to rob honey that can spread the insecticide to their own home hives up to two miles away.

There is, however, an ethical alternative. Consider contacting a qualified beekeeper to remove and relocate honey bees and their nests from a tenant’s home. These beekeepers are experts in removal, and in sealing the structural pathways that allowed the infestation to have occurred in the first place. However you decide to deal with a bee infestation in one of your tenants’ homes is up to you. Ideally, ethically relocating honey bees to help avoid contributing to the decline of honey bee populations and ensure pollination for other food sources, would be the best option to take.