The buzz on bees: Let someone else handle 'em

Holistic Pest Solutions

Q: In addition to chirping crickets and croaking frogs, I've recently begun hearing another summertime noise– the dreaded drone of bees in my backyard. What can I do if I have a bee or wasp nest around or in my home?


A: Bees can be a common problem in this area, especially since they're attracted to almost any kind of flower. A lot of stinging insects also like holly trees and will swarm around them, particularly in the spring.

There are several species of bees in the area, but not all of them are dangerous to humans. Cicada killers, solitary ground bees, mud daubers, and honeybees are considered more a nuisance than a threat.

In fact, honeybees are very valuable to beekeepers and should not be eradicated. Usually if you call a local beekeeper and tell him you have a nest, he'll remove the bees for you and be able to use them. Be sure to ask him how to remove the empty nest, though. Without the bees' wings to cool the honey, it will drip and create a sticky mess.

The kinds of bees to watch out for are carpenter bees, who damage exposed wood such as log cabins or any trim that's not painted or sealed. Exercise caution around baldface and European hornets, paper wasps, and yellow jackets, as well. Yellow jackets nest in the ground, and people sometimes hit the nests while mowing the lawn, at which point the insects will attack en masse.

People have been known to try to get rid of yellow jacket nests by pouring gasoline into the hole in the ground. This is a bad idea, since the gasoline can seep into the groundwater, and it won't eradicate the problem because the nests don't lie directly underneath the hole. Instead, you should pour a tablespoon of insecticide into the hole to take care of the problem.

Another mistake people make is attempting to remove on their own a large nest or one that's in the siding of a house. In tricky or serious situations, always call a professional.

Once the bees and nest are removed, seal or cover the hole in the siding or ground. This should take care of your bee problem and ensure that no other uninvited guests take up residence.

John Ashcraft