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Managing Bees in House Wall and Roof


#1

Hi.

I live in Adelaide South Australia.

I would like to try a flowframe but am unsure if it would work for my situation. I don’t want to use it for any of the usual uses. I am a bit of a “greenie” & don’t like the idea of killing bees but I have been forced to several times over the years due to new swarms arriving and settling at the junction of my tiled roof barge and the wall. The swarm season started earlier last year & so I wasn’t prepared. Usually I apply a can of baygon to all my eaves and cracks between window frames and walls. When the new bees come they will not stay as they sense the poison. I hate to kill bees as they benefit my fruit trees. Last year they came & I didn’t have the heart to kill them. They have multiplied and it is difficult to walk past on some days. My daughter has a mild allergy & was stung last week so I just have to do something.

My idea is to lure some bees from the existing hive in the eaves/wall of my house to about a meter or so away on the roof with a new flow frame hive so that it is safer to walk under. There is another inlet to the hive up on the roof itself that I can place the flow Hive over. Once the bees are established on the roof they will still be of benefit to the garden plus I can get a bit of honey. If I extract the honey regularly then perhaps I can keep the original hive in check & it will not keep getting bigger?..What are the thoughts…any way the flowframe may help me out? Will the bees move across? will the existing adjacent hive need to be removed or will the new flow frame keep everything in check?


#2

The Flow frame wont be any use to you, you need to find out where the bees nest is. It could be in the wall between the brickwork & gyprock, or if it’s a 2 story house, they could be between the floor & ceiling between the floor joists. A way to locate the nest is move your hand over the gyprock till you feel a warm patch. If it’s in the ceiling, you certainly need to remove the gyprock to remove the nest. If it’s in the wall, it’s not that important to remove the gyprock. You can lure the bees out with a “trap out” to get as many as you can in a box before shb takes over. Once it is all over, the important thing is to seal any gaps that don’t need to be there & use fly wire in all the weep holes so the building can continue to breathe & not allow any more swarms to move in. When you find the warm patch, you’ll get an idea of how large the hive is by the warm area, also the gyprock will be dull, not drummy between the studs.


#3

Hi Grant,
Hate to be the one to tell you this but it is highly unlikely your bees will move into or use the Flow in the way you are describing. Considering that the bees have been there for some time, they will have setup their colony with a queen, comb and brood. They will not leave this space except to swarm and if this happens chances are that a queen, brood and half the colony will be left behind so capturing the swarm does not help your situation. I would suggest you either remove the tiles or gyprock internally to expose the bees and comb, the comb with brood should be completely removed and can be placed into a hive with as many bees as possible, place this outside on your roof or on the ground and the rest of the colony will settle in their new home. You can then move them to safe distance away from your house and children. If you are not up to the job then consider getting a local beekeeping with this experience to come and do it for you.


#4

I would set up a bait hive to try to catch the swarms. Also, you need to figure out how to seal up all the cracks that make access to the space the bees keep moving into. If possible fill that space with something. Polyurathane foam is a possibility.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesferal.htm#baithives


#5

Hi Guys,
Thanks for the info. I reckon I have a course of action planned out with a combo of all 3 lots of advice. I have now located the nest with the heat on the wall technique. It is about a meter down from the entry holes… just above the door frame. My move now will be to buy a flow frame & bait it up to make it as attractive as possible. I will place it up on my (easilly accessible) roof about a meter and a half away from the existing hive so that the bees are away from where we walk. If I get lucky I should get the next swarm when they decide to get active again. The existing nest will then have to be destroyed. If they don’t populate my new hive by swarming I may take the hard way out and remove the gyprock & dig the existing nest from the wall. Either way it looks like the existing nest needs to go and I will need to plug up about 200 entry points around my house to make sure this doesn’t happen again…sigh…


#6

Just to clarify. Bees will not leave their home. SOME of the bees will leave if they swarm and they will be looking for a home. So it is possible that SOME of the bees will move into a bait hive. All of them will not. Those you will have to deal with differently. My reason for the bait hive really was that bees keep coming to you from somewhere and if they had a nice home offered they may move into that if they can’t get into your roof anymore. Getting them out of your wall is a different undertaking.


#7

Hi Grant , any holes that don’t belong there: fill with roof & gutter sealant, a color that doesn’t clash. The weep holes that need to be there: use aluminium fly wire or Pest Stoppers (a brand of a product) to block them. You’ll need a beekeeper to remove the nest. The hive outside will be of no use to you. The beekeeper may have a bee vac to take the bees alive. Let him worry about the bee boxes. If he’s a decent bloke, he should offer you half the honey. Be prepared to pay a fee. PS, I have a Youtube video, the title is “feral beehive removal from a town house”. That gives you some idea of what to expect to see. Also “Queenslander Beehive Removal”.