Why are Bees in My Eaves?

by Leslie Reason on August 04, 2022

bees in eve, roof

Why are Bees in My Eaves?

It usually starts by noticing a couple of bees hanging out under the eaves of your roof, then there’s a few more, and before you know it, you don’t really want to mow by that part of the house anymore…

Sound familiar? Just why are bees attracted to your attic or eaves, and what can you do to remove or prevent them from building there at all? This is a common issue so; let’s look at some of the reasons why… 

First, why do honeybees swarm?

While there are several reasons honeybees swarm, the main reason is usually down to space.

It doesn’t matter the reason for the lack of space; it could be there’s been a huge population growth in the spring, or a new queen was born so they’re swarming.

It also doesn’t matter if it’s a traditional-style hive or a hollow tree, when they run out of space to grow as a colony, they’ll leave and find a bigger hive to accommodate their growing colony.

Why your eaves, soffit, or attic?

Location, location, location!

Scout bees go out and look for the best-placed space for a colony, so your house must be in a prime location for food & water sources, plus up in the eaves or in an attic is ideal, as it puts them out of the way of most predators, especially humans!

This can be a big problem, because by the time people notice the bees coming and going, they’re usually an established colony, not a swarm. What’s the difference; a swarm is somewhat easier to lure out of their new accommodation, whereas an established colony will usually need to be removed.

How Do You Keep Bees Away?

Based on some research apparently bees can enter through an ¼ inch hole, so a few good preventive techniques can help:

  • Seal all spaces where a bee can enter with materials, such as metal screening and caulk.
  • Keeping clutter down in your yard can help, as there will be less places for them to build.
  • Remember, if you’ve already had bees, everything needs to be removed (honeycomb & honey too), or a new colony could be interested in the ready-made home.

I Think I Have Bees, Now What?

swam bees in tree

If you have a ball or clump of bees hanging out on your property, they’re looking for a place to stay. At this point, they’re easy to ‘catch’, so if you contact a beekeeping association in your area, they should be able to direct you to someone who can help.

If you see bees coming and going, it’ll depend on how established the colony is, but at this point, you may need to contact a professional to remove the colony. A lot of the time, this can be done as a ‘live’ removal, where the colony is removed with the queen, and placed in a hive far enough away where they aren’t lured back with any pheromone smells.

Some will choose to spray or kill them, which as a beekeeper I don’t endorse. Also, please note killing the bees will only take care of them coming and going, but it won’t address the possible issues of honey & honeycomb in your walls. If the entire hive isn’t removed, it can lead to vermin, insects, or even a whole new colony of honeybees to start the process all over again.

Sources

Entomology Today: How to Keep Honey Bees from Nesting in your Home https://entomologytoday.org/2014/05/28/how-to-keep-honey-bees-from-nesting-in-your-home/

We Save Bees: Bees inside your Eave, Roof, or Attic
https://wesavebees.com/bees-inside-your-eave-roof-or-attic

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