Destroying bees in house wall next door to a beekeeper

I just arrived home after destroying a bees nest in a high wall of a house next door to a beekeeper.

A trap-out would be an ideal solution. However due to the height, plus the multitude of inaccessible places that can’t be blocked, that option was virtually out of the question.

Sadly I had to kill them.

The lesson here is for beekeepers to manage their bees to prevent swarming.


Jeff, if you couldn’t trap them out then there truly was no way to do so. Sorry you had to be the one to destroy them :slightly_frowning_face:

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I know it cuts you deep to have to kill a colony but if you couldn’t save them I doubt anyone could.
Unfortunately there are bee keepers and people who shouldn’t.

Thank you Eva & @Peter48, it would have been possible to save the bees via an inside cut-out, however that was out of the question because the homeowner didn’t even want me to bring a ladder inside to block the gaps up high to stop bees entering the room, which would have possibly occurred if I did a trap-out. He got a shock as to how many dying bees fit through the gaps once the poison hit the spot.

He knows now to bee proof his house, however the inaccessible spots will be difficult to block. I told him about my multiple calls to the same properties over the years. Same properties, in completely different areas of the houses. Meaning that the previous infestation had no influence on the second infestation, generally one or two years apart.

Sad to hear always.

Isn’t it kind of true- that even the best beekeepers have hives that swarm? Still- it’s extra important for urban beekeepers to be doubly vigilant. A swarm at the wrong time can cause massive headaches. At our bee society a fellows hive swarmed into a neighbors yard just as they were having a BBQ. They were so irate he had to move all his 6 hives at very short notice.


Hi Jack, I can understand that happening. Can you imaging someone having a ritzy high-tea party outside, then all of a sudden a swarm of bees fly past? :slight_smile:


People freak out at swarms. It’s no wonder- they are a crazy event. I can’t remember ever seeing a swarm before I started beekeeping and hunting them- but last swarm season when I was hunting I started seeing them as I was driving- crossing roads.

My brother texted me that he saw one flying- I told him to follow it- he did - they landed and then I swung into action and caught them:

I think if you see a swarm on the wing- and you follow it- you won’t need to go far before it lands most times. I’m looking forward to catching more next year!


Hi Jack, they must be active down your way. I have never seen one while out & about.

It’s going to be a busy swarm season this year for us. Everything, is in bloom or bud.

I forgot to mention on that other thread, where I split that bloke’s hive that I found a queen cell on the first brood frame I inspected with an egg in it. Every frame after that got too covered in bees to take a close look, plus because of bees aggression, shaking was kind of out of the question. I did shake a large cluster of bees off his crown board into his split before putting the lid on.

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Hi Jeff, I hope your Flow frames are filling nicely :smiley:

Hi Dan, I haven’t set it up yet. I’ll set it up in my backyard using one of the nucs I have here.

How robust is the lugs on the flow frames? The other day I was scared to put much pressure on them with my hive tool when they were stuck fast. I let the owner do that. Then we had trouble returning the last one. I’m thinking I’ll shave a little whisker off mine so they fit a bit easier.

Hi Jeff
They are as tough as guts. Quality plastic. I personally wouldn’t alter them in any way. When I first fitted mine I had them just a bit too tightly fitted so I removed an extra sliver of my own wood I had added top and bottom of the strip they already had. Gone back now to what it came with.
Hope you catch some of the winter Flow with yours.


I think last year must have been a huge swarm year judging by how many calls I got and how many I caught. I saw three on the wing whilst driving to collect others. I am not sure- but I think I must have seen swarms liek that before but not realised or noticed what i was seeing.

as for the frames: I’ve had them very firmly glued in- with bridge comb on the bottoms onto the Queen excluder. They were very hard to remove- and I was worried they might break. But they didn’t. I find- if you remove that strip of wood that covers the back lugs- you can use your hive tool on the front ones and get your fingers under the end ones after prying them up with the tool. I’d really like it if Flow made a grappling tool especially for flow frames (@Faroe :wink: ) - like these ones:


I know you don’t use gizmos like these but I really like them- you can pull a standard frame up and out very evenly with one hand using these. Though to manipulate the frame and look at it you want to transfer it to both hands once it’s out.


I like those!! My index fingers are starting to rebel against all the gardening AND beekeeping these days…

That’s a good idea, I’ve also tried with my grappling tool, but cant get a grip on the Flow Frames, and have to wedge the Flow Frame up with my hive tool.
I’ll pass it on to Stu and Cedar.

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Hi Dan, it’s the clear plastic I think throws me. I have a few old plastic guilframes, the colored plastic on those is tough as guts. What about the section under where you turn the key. Can you put much pressure on that? That’s the part I was scared to put pressure on.

Hi Jeff
That is strong. The less frequently a hive is opened the more glued up the frames will be. That could be one issue with the one you were dealing with. I remove frames (wooden too) one by one. I find if I don’t some frames underneath come up too as well as a queen excluder if fitted. Very unpleasant. They twist and jamb etc.half in half out or half off.

Hello there Faroe,

I think it would be really good- if they could make one that was perfectly sized for flow frames- and perhaps a bit wider than the standard ones- to ensure that the frames doesn’t flex in the middle when you grip it. If it had a lock mechanism it would be even better. It would be very helpful for inexperienced beekeepers and for people who are not as strong. Flow frames are a bit harder to lift in and out than regular frames (which can be quite tricky themselves)

I use these with regular frames- and I also use a frame rest that you can hang off the side of the box. Together they work well: you can lift the frame out of the box with one hand- hang it on the rest- put down the clamp tool and then pick up the frame with both hands to inspect it.

I think they are good for the bees too- as you can easily lift the frame up and out vertically with less chance of rolling the bees or slipping and dropping one end of the frame. When I wear gloves- soemtimes with flow frames I lift them at one end and then the tips of my finger/glove get caught underneath- and in one case it tore a hole in my nice new leather gloves.

Please make sure Cedar and Stu make me one- an one for you too!! WE NEED THIS! ASAP! :wink: spring is coming!


That’s exactly the problem Dan & I’m glad I can put a bit of force on those frames.

The bloke’s split is making emergency queens, I checked this morning, so I know where his queen is now.

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I made an interesting observation before destroying the bees.

First things first. It’s always best to locate the nest before killing the bees, if that’s what you have to do. The best way to locate the nest is with your hand, you’ll feel the heat through a plasterboard wall.

In this case, I couldn’t feel the heat through the plasterboard on account of the height, plus the home owner forbade me from using a ladder inside. The outside cladding was thick hardwood weatherboards. The interesting thing was that I could feel the heat through the thick hardwood from the outside. Hence I knew then where to direct the poison.

It got me thinking that if a colony is losing heat through thick timber boards, a normal beehive must be continually losing heat during long cold winters, putting a strain on the colony to eat more honey to maintain the temperature.

That leads me to wonder if all wooden beehives would be better off being wrapped in added insulation during long cold winters.


it makes sense Jeff. Though I did read somewhere that bees can cope with the cold- better than they can cope with dampness. The problem with heavily insulated hives is they might not breathe well and become moldy and damp inside?

I like the idea of using a moisture quilt box- it add extra ventilation but also insulation. It seems if you wanted to insulate a hive better- starting with the roof is a good idea as heat rises- and also if the roof is warm then water won’t condense there and drip back down into the brood. If you have a thin roof/lid- it would be cold and water would condense as the hot moist air rises in the hive. It would be easy to insulate migratory lids- and the xtra benefit is it would help to keep out the summer heat

I am going to make some moisture quilts once i am set up in my new house- and test them out over the next season.

then- when I have time- i am going to make a solar powered hive heater for winters.

@JeffH and a note about poising colonies: this year as I was on a swarm catching list I got many calls about colonies in all kinds of places. I got quite a few where it sounded like a trap out was too difficult- and even if possible the ‘clients’ were not willing to pay what it might cost. Ones in Chimneys- high walls, asbestos filled houses about to be demolished, etc. I ONLY catch swarms so couldn’t do these jobs and had to refer people on. I don’t know if I could ever bring myself to kill a colony. It would just make me too sad. but I fully understand there are times where it has to be done.

I guess if i continue with swarm catching- I may have to learn about colony destruction too. God knows I could use the paid work… and it is a dirty job that should be paid for… still- at the moment even the idea of Euthanizing a queen is hard for me to get used too. Haven’t done it yet- hope I never have to!

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