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Ethical & Humane Live Feral Removal Services
We are stewards of the earth. Our pollinators are in a crisis. You can help by having your bees ethically and safely rescued. Live bee removal is not easy or fast and takes a level of skill that non-beekeepers do not have.
We provide residential and business customers throughout Northern California with professional, ethical, humane, and affordable live feral honeybee removal services. We guarantee that we will use safe and nontoxic methods to rescue colonies.
Please DO NOT kill honeybees! We either keep them or ensure their proper and safe transition to another beekeeper we trust. If you are not within our service area, we can connect you to other professional beekeepers in Northern California. We want to help them and enable them to continue helping our environment.
As professional beekeepers, we believe in the humane, ethical, and holistic care of those that share the earth with us, including honeybees. Bees, comb, honey, eggs, and larvae must be properly and safely removed from structures and outside locations to prevent attracting other pests such as ants, roaches, rats, hornets, wax moths, and hive beetles. We relocate honeybees to our apiaries, host families, or other local beekeepers that meet our standards. We do not use any chemicals in our hives.
All hive products, the honey, brood comb, and bee bread, are all carefully removed from the cavity to prevent returning bees and re-infestation. Killing honeybees in a structure can cause infestation, attract pests, and damage the structure! Once the bees are reduced in numbers, they cannot continue to maintain the hive such as air conditioning, heating, or defending the wax comb. Lack of the bees fanning the comb will result in melted wax and honey, causing damage to drywall, stucco, siding, and electrical wiring. Killing honeybees can damage the structure and cause further financial costs.
If you are outside our service area and in Northern California, please call us as we will refer you to local beekeepers in your area that we trust. We also reserve the right to transfer this call to another beekeeper if we are not comfortable for any reason.
Contra Costa County
We perform Swarm Removals, Colony Extractions, and Relocation of Honeybees. When first contacted by phone, we will ask some questions to determine the best course of action. Often a site visit is needed to scan the area in order to give an accurate estimated cost range.
We are interested in the answers to the following:
We will then schedule a convenient time to perform the removal with as little damage to your structure, as necessary. We do not perform any permanent repairs as we specialize in honeybees and feel more comfortable leaving repairs to a contractor specializing in repairs. We may create a temporary fix to prevent honeybee reentry.
Every bee removal is unique. Prices are based on the size of the colony, the amount of time the bees have been living there and how difficult it is to access the bees for removal. Bee removal is not easy nor fast and takes skill and knowledge of bee behavior.
It is often necessary to cut into a roof, stucco, drywall, shed floor, etc. This takes at least 4 hours and usually averages 5 hours on site. Sometimes it can take longer for more extensive removals. In addition, we often have several more hours of work off site to relocate the bees to their new home. Thus, each person involved in the process (usually 2) works a 6–10-hour day per "cut out" removal.
At times it can be a guessing game as to the nest’s actual location, but once it is found the opening in the wall or ceiling must be made large enough to expose the entire nest. We have special equipment which 9 times out of 10 we can pinpoint the locations. Once exposed, a Bee Vac (which is the safest and most effective way to remove the bees) is used to suck the bees into a safe screened box. Then it is relocated to a new home.
When bees swarm due to overcrowding, lack of natural resources, or threat to the colony, as many as 20,000 individual bees may join the swarm. They travel together and rest as "scout bees" search for a permanent location. At this point, the cluster, usually in a tree, can stay just a few hours to a few days. They are a swarm and have not built their "hive" yet. If you have only a few bees wandering around, these are likely scouts inspecting the area for the swarm's new home. They could decide to share yours!
They then fly back to the main swarm nearby to report their findings. Once they decide on a new location, all of the bees enter the cavity at least 3/8"in diameter. Within just a few minutes, more than 20,000 bees begin to build comb for honey, brood, and bee bread. At this point, you will see a continuous stream of bees entering and exiting, especially if the weather is over 58-60 degrees Fahrenheit. You may even see foraging honeybees returning with pollen on their legs.
Once they have moved in and started building comb, they will not leave, and the damage is already done. At this stage, if they are in the roof of the house, in the cavity of the wall, or under a shed, the removal process is usually more expensive because it is a much more difficult process.
We do charge a fee for swarm rescues. We must pay for hive equipment, and other business costs. In addition, we take the risk that we will never see a return on that investment. In addition, we have our time and gas we must pay for. Thank you for supporting our local business and rest knowing that you helped the colony become managed instead of moving on, possibly into your home. (For more information, please see our (" page on "Africanized Honeybees".) You are also helping a small beekeeper that donates pollination services to community gardens, volunteers many hours towards educational events (on pollinators, organic gardening, etc.
Thank you for your understanding and I hope you help us to continue to help the community.
Live Bee Removal and Relocation Best Practices
Not all bee removal services are created equal.
Qualifications and "License"
"Any company that claims to be 'Licensed' is licensed as a Pest Control Operator (“PCO”). The purpose of this license is to enable the holder to carry poisons and toxins on their truck, which are designed to kill rats and for insects: cockroaches, ants, spiders, wasps, and bees. It does not qualify them in any way to handle live honeybees. Beekeepers have the training and experience to do that, and there is no license for it."
Contents of Removal
"Many PCO’s who say they are Live Bee Removers leave the comb for trash and vacuum the bees into a shop vac for easy disposal. Even if the bees are vacuumed into a special container where they are not killed, they will not survive without the queen and a set of combs to live in."
Storage and Transport
"Honeybees live in colonies with their brood, (larvae and pupae) as well as their supplies of food storage (pollen, honey and nectar). This is what the colony is made of, and it is very perishable. The brood contains the future of the hive, to maintain their numbers of workers, and in case of the death of the queen. If the combs are stacked in plastic bags, buckets, or cardboard boxes, the larvae and pupae will die. The bee brood cannot live in such an environment, even for a few hours. The brood and food storage combs should be secured on site into “frames” of a standard wooden hive box (also known as a Langstroth hive box). This is a time-consuming practice and cannot be done without intimate knowledge of the organization of a beehive. In standard wooden hive boxes, with the comb placed in frames, the colonies can travel many miles as they do in the commercial beekeeping industry. Responsible live bee removers will place their removed colonies into this type of “wooden-ware” at the removal site."
"To where will the bees be relocated? This is the first question a prospective client should ask. The answer should be a definite one, such as “my apiary yard or at another beekeeper yard”. An answer like “orchards, gardens and farms throughout the area” is not verifiable. A person engaging in live bee removal will be proud of their beehive maintenance activities and should readily share the place they site the colonies they remove."
Best Practices Summary
"To sum up, the questions to ask are:
1) Who is doing the removal (not a PCO)?
2) What are they taking with them?
3) How are they transporting it?
4) Where is the destination?
If any one of these questions get a wrong answer, your bees will not survive. Be careful!"
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