Relocation of bees

Asked June 24, 2016, 3:28 PM EDT

I had fiberglass under an outside bow window for the winter. When I took it down today, I noticed a few bees. Some were crawling out of the fiberglass, like they just woke up. They do not have dangling legs, so I don't think they are wasps. I would classify the size as medium large. If they are pollinators I want to relocate if possible. Do I move the whole bat of insulation? Some of the bees are still flying around the area where the fiberglass was. Any suggestions? Thank you Gordy

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Honey bee colonies are infrequently found in buildings in wall or attic voids. While yellowjacket colonies are annual and do not survive winters, honey bee nests may last for many years. If a honey bee nest is suspected, capturing a specimen or taking a good picture and getting it identified is an important step to verify what insect is actually present.

If the specimens are confirmed to be honey bees, first consider contacting a beekeeper for help with removal of the colony. An experienced beekeeper may be willing to gather a swarm and relocate it for you. To find a beekeeper that is willing to remove a honey bee colony or swarm in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, visit this bee removal website. If the honey bees are in Minnesota, another option is to look for a beekeeper on the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association website.

If it is not possible to salvage a honey bee colony, then it may be necessary to treat it with an insecticide. If possible, wait to treat it until early spring, March to April. At that time the colony may be either dead, or if alive will have little honey left. This is the best time to treat the honey bees and remove the nest. Even if honey combs cannot be removed chances are there will be very little, to no, honey left in combs by April. By late April or early May honey bees start collecting nectar again, so there is a narrow window of time to remove them when there is little to no honey. Any remaining wax should not be a problem as wax moths usually destroy it quickly and then are gone. However, any combs and honey that may still be present can potentially cause a problem from bees from other colonies, scavenging insects and mice. Do not salvage these honey combs or honey if the colony was treated with insecticide.