Beehive in Shed - Can I leave it alone?

Asked November 27, 2015, 5:09 PM EST

We discovered a small beehive in August 2015 just inside the outer wall of our shed near the ground. We hired a bee removal man and he opened the wall, removed the hive and combs and told us to seal up the hole. We sprayed some cleaner on the walls and sealed it up. But the shed is old and decaying near the ground and the bees found another way in. Now 3 months later we have a much bigger hive in the same location - before there were only a few pieces of comb, now there are many.

I am ready to hire a new beekeeper to do the removal. But I can't find any that do repairs to ensure we don't get bees again. We are not ready to tear down the old shed and replace it - you can see from the photos that there are other places the bees can get in (due to wood decay).

My question is: What will happen if we just leave them there? We live in Miami - there are flowers year round for them to enjoy. What are the dangers of leaving them where they are? They are not aggressive thus far.

Please advise.

Thank you!

Miami-Dade County Florida

1 Response

It is quite common for honeybees to make hives inside of sheds, buildings, and other structures, and removal is difficult. Often unless all of the old honey and wax is removed and a rebuild done as you described, a new colony of bees will find their way in to the same location. So what you are experiencing is not uncommon.

Although there is always a danger of being stung, honeybees are by and large among the least aggressive of all bee and wasp species. They will sting if they sense the queen is being threatened or if overly agitated (being swatted at, etc), but they don't go out of their way to sting you. I would say that unless the hive location is near the entrance to the shed or in a spot where there'd be a similar volume of traffic and as long as they are not flying around in the inside of the shed, then you can probably coexist peacefully. It looks like the hive is away from the entrance, but if it were close and you walked right by the opening frequently, that might increase your chances of being stung. And a few bees flying around inside the shed is probably not cause for great alarm, but if there is an opening on the inside wall and a good number of bees are exploring inside, I'd think that being around them in a confined space might make you uncomfortable. Other things you might think about are whether you have young children or pets who might go near the shed.

All said, I'm much more inclined to let honeybees be than I would for wasps or yellow jackets, but the decision is of course up to you.