Because of their tireless work as pollinators of both wild and cultivated flowering plants and trees, honey bees are overwhelmingly beneficial and essential insects. Their work is vital to Georgia's agricultural economy. They're also very polite as stinging insects go: As long as you're not threatening them -- a determination that they don't make lightly -- real honey bees actually are not very likely to sting.
Part of the reason why bees get a bad reputation for being aggressive stingers is because many people mistake other insects such as yellow jackets, hornets, or other stinging wasps, for bees. Stinging wasps in general are far more likely to sting than honey bees are. In fact, because of the barbs on their stingers, honey bees can't pull the stingers out after they sting someone without destroying other essential parts of their bodies, which causes them to die. Insects like hornets, on the other hand, can (and do) sting repeatedly.
Their important as agricultural pollinators and their relatively polite habits result in honey bees enjoying a somewhat protected status among insects. But when bees nest in homes or in other areas where they present a threat to humans, they and their nests must be removed. The reason the nest has to be removed along with the bees is that bees produce honey and wax, and once the bees are removed, the honey and wax will melt and drip all over the place. This can damage the structure and also will attract other insects and animals to the area.
The Augusta Regional Office of Rid-A-Critter provides honey bee removal service in Augusta and all the surrounding areas. Our crew are equipped with advanced technology, including FLIR cameras, to help them accurately locate honey bee nests even when they're hidden inside walls and ceilings. This allows them to remove the nests with a minimum of fuss.
Honey bees are common in Augusta and throughout Georgia and are among the most advanced of social insects. They live in large colonies that are started when either the queen or a virgin queen of an existing colony departs with a contingent of worker bees to start a new colony. These swarms usually occur in the spring. The bees have only a few days to find a suitable location and get busy on a new nest. If they don't succeed, they will die.
Most of a bee colony's activities are regulated by the queen. Her chemical messengers, known as pheromones, influence or directly control the rest of the colony's activity. The queen is also the sole or primary reproductive female and usually is the mother of all or nearly all the bees in the colony. A healthy queen honey bee can lay between a thousand and fifteen-hundred eggs a day.
In addition to the queen are the workers, who are non-reproductive females. They are responsible for all the colony's work, including finding nectar and tending the young. There are also a small number of drone bees, who are formed from unfertilized eggs. They have no stingers and do not gather nectar. Their only job is to mate with fertile queens.
Bees are able to communicate in at least two ways. Like insects in general, they produce that can communicate certain messages, as well as regulate the colony's overall activities. They also have a complex language of flight movements and gestures by which they can communicate facts such as the distance and direction to food sources or potential nesting areas and the presence of threats to the nest.
There's also evidence that honey bees have some ability to discuss and deliberate over decisions. For example, during a swarm, several individual "scout" bees will usually suggest nesting locations, and small committees of bees then go look at the locations while most of the bees remain huddled around a tree or in another protected location, saving their precious food and energy until the committees make their decision.
The body language of bees is also the way that bees respond so quickly to threats against the colony. Once a threat has been identified and a bee has alerted the rest of the colony, they will attack as a group. Usually, however, native honey bees will not alert to people doing non-threatening things like walking past flowers where the bees are browsing. Africanized "killer bees" are more aggressive and more easily provoked to attack, but they're not very common in Georgia except in southern parts of the state.
Very often, the most difficult part of treating a honey bee problem is finding the nest. Honey bees build their nests in void areas. In nature they usually use hollow trees, but in buildings they usually choose protected structural voids such as wall and ceiling voids and roof soffits.
To further complicate matters, their visible entry holes may be quite a distance from the actual nest, with the bees traveling inside the walls on their between the nest and the visible entry holes in the exterior of the building. They also have multiple entry holes in some cases, which further confuses the issue. This is also why trying to control bees by spraying a can of wasp-freeze at the holes rarely works.
We have a variety of methods that we can use to locate honey bee nests when their locations aren't obvious. Sometimes we can simply hear the buzzing when we get close. Other time we'll use simple stethoscopes. We also have high-tech infrared cameras that can "see" the nests inside the voids. Accurate location of the nest is necessary to allow our technicians to precisely remove it, with a minimum of cutting and fuss.
As mentioned earlier, the nest must be removed to prevent the honey and wax melting and making a mess inside the void. If by some miracle you were able to kill a honey bee colony using wasp-freeze or some other do-it-yourself method, you'd just be creating an even bigger problem for yourself. Without the bees to "air-condition" the colony with their wings, the honey and wax will melt and make a huge mess inside the void.
Honey Bee Control Gallery
Here are a few pictures of honey bee extraction jobs we've done in the Augusta area. Please contact us for more information about our honey
A honeybee browsing for nectar in Augusta
Honey bee nest in a house in Martinez
Honey bee nest in a house in Hephzibah, GA
Infrared photo of honey bees in a chimney
Brad removing a honey bee comb from a wall
Close-up of a piece of honeycomb
Honey bee swarm at a house in Augusta
Honey bee nest in an attic in Augusta
Honey bee swarm on the limbs of a tree
Difficult honeybee removal job at a hotel
Honey bee foraging on a catnip flower
Honeybees getting into an attic in Augusta
Honey bee removal from a house in Augusta