Bee removal is a more delicate job than wasp removal, partly due to the ethical and ecological reasons associated with the high worth of bees to our ecosystem, but also because bees can be relocated whilst alive and even reused by beekeepers.
With that said, contrary to what some might believe assume, bees have no protected status in the UK and exterminating them is not illegal.
Despite the legality of bee extermination, live bee removal has become the go-to method of dealing with bee infestations.
This procedure involves the safe removal and relocation of the entire bee’s nest and colony. The bees, their larvae, the queen and even their honey stores can be moved with minimal disruption and casualties. Specialist live bee removal services are more common than many might think.
This article will cover the costs of removing bees, factors that can affect the price and other common questions.
Average Bee Removal Cost
By collecting quotes from 6 specialist bee removal and pest control companies and 8 secondary sources, we discovered the following average costs of bee removal or extermination in the UK.
The main determinant of cost is the size of the nest or hive itself. There’s massive variation here – some established bee colonies can number 80,000 bees and will be costly and time-consuming to move.
|Bee Swarm Removal*||Live Bee Removal and Relocation*||Bee Extermination|
|Wall||£60 to £100||£100 to £500+||£60 to £100|
|Loft||£60 to £100||£150 to £700+||£150 to £200|
|Chimney||£80 to £100||£150 to £700+||£60 to £150|
|Exposed/Garden/Other||£60 to £100||£100 to £700+||£60 to £100|
*Subject to the availability of local beekeepers. Some beekeepers will remove a swarm of honeybees for free.
There are more live bee removal services in the UK than one might expect. Many of these companies work in tandem with beekeepers to rehome the bees.
Depending on the availability of beekeepers, companies may not be able to rehome the bees and may have to release them elsewhere in the wild – this is still better than extermination.
It now seems that live bee removal is the typical course of action for bee removal in the UK. For example, Apex Pest Control here cites that insecticide is used only as a ‘last resort’.
Some removal companies will only very rarely treat comparatively small and harmless bumblebee nests (which are rare to find on one’s property).
Do I Have a Bee Infestation?
Bees are remarkable insects that proliferate at insane speed during the summer months. The queen bee can lay some 2,000 to 3,000 eggs in just one day.
Whilst bees have been declining on the whole in recent years, some evidence suggests they are making a comeback, and whilst we’d like them to settle in the wilds, it may well be our homes and gardens that become homes for new colonies of bees.
Bees infestations are probably less common than wasp infestations, but beehives are actually much larger than your typical wasp’s nests on average.
In fact, beehives can hold some 80,000 bees living together in one single colony whereas wasps nests tend to be somewhere around 10,000 at the most.
Furthermore, beehives tend to be much larger and well-developed than wasps’ nests which are more temporary. This isn’t always the case, though, as bees are also capable of making smaller nests rather than larger hives.
Bees can nest in small cavities, often within walls or in the loft. Once established, bees can overwinter together, meaning they hunker down and stay in the same place until spring. It’s also worth mentioning that there are many species of bees, the 3 main species of bees in the UK being:
- Carpenter Bees
Each species has its own unique hives, nests and nesting behaviours.
Whilst many people quite rightly love and embrace bees, the situation can change quite rapidly when thousands are buzzing around your house or garden.
Where small children and allergic individuals are concerned, bee removal should be undertaken swiftly and efficiently.
Signs of a Bee Infestation
If you spot any of the following signs, you may have a bee infestation somewhere in your house, garden or outbuildings:
1: Excessive Bees
This one goes without saying really. If you continually find more than your fair share of bees around the house or garden then you might have a bee infestation. Bees might find themselves trapped inside your home, which is when they can become distressed, angry and ready to sting.
2: Active Nest Building
It might be that just a handful of bees are heading to and from somewhere in your home or garden, whether it be a tree trunk, old shed or wall cavity. A few bees might signal the coming of many more bees – these scouts are preparing a nest for the queen bee.
3: Dark Patches on Surfaces
Honey bees can leave dark patches on walls or ceilings. This is residue from the nectar and honey they produce.
In these situations, it may be prudent to safely track down the nest or hive of the bees by following them around your property. The nest may be obvious, especially in the case of a fully-developed, larger colony. It may also be discreet, e.g. if bees are hiding in your walls.
Is Bee Extermination Legal in the UK?
Many people assume bees are indeed protected and others argue that they should be, but the cost of bee infestations are high for those with allergies.
In serious bee allergies, anaphylactic shock is a real risk and can be fatal.
As such, bees are not a protected species in the UK. Exterminating bees is completely legal.
Bee sting allergies are not especially uncommon and many people worry about whether or not they’re allergic to them or not, especially if they’ve never been stung before.
In fact, Medical News Today estimates that the proportion of the population that will experience a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting in their lifetime to be a reasonably substantial 5% to 7.5%.
However, there are strict rules and regulations associated with the use of insecticides and poisons.
If other species of living organisms are affected by poisoning or insecticide use then conviction is possible, as was demonstrated in 2008 when someone improperly used chemical insecticide to ki
Bee Removal and Extermination Options
There are three main options for removing bees from houses, gardens and other properties:
- Live bee removal and relocation
- Swarm removal
Bee Swarm Removal
First and foremost, swarm removal is not the same as exterminating or permanently removing the bees.
Bee swarms occur when a group of bees is moving from A to B and have not yet established a new home. In this situation, there will be no permanent hive or nest – at least not yet!
Whilst the swarm often moves on, it might choose to home itself where the bees are currently residing in your property.
Bees in this state are very docile and easy to move. Some local beekeepers are willing to perform swarm removals for low fees, or even for free, as they’ll be able to re-home the bees in their apiary.
This depends on the species of bee. Even so, swarms of bees that have not yet taken root on your property are the cheapest and easiest to remove.
- Swarm removal concerns bees that are not yet permanently nesting but are merely travelling from one place to another
- Bee swarms often just move on, or they might decide to build a nest on your property
- In this state, bees are docile and easy to move
- Some beekeepers perform swarm removals for small fees
Live Bee Removal and Relocation
Live bee removal and relocation reduce bee casualties virtually to nil. Experienced live bee removers are able to move the bulk of the hive, including its honey reserves.
This is not only great for ethical and ecological reasons, but it also ensures that the bees are removed in their entirety, leaving little to no biomass behind. There are different methods for removing live bees such as trap-outs and cut-outs.
Trap-outs encourage bees to move their nest into a movable box placed near the hive whereas cut-outs physically remove the nest and bees via vacuum and safely displace them elsewhere, along with their honey reserves.
- Live bee removal is beneficial for the bees and the environment; it’s the sound moral, ethical and ecological choice
- The bees will be able to re-established themselves elsewhere without too much hassle
- Specialist bee removal services have different techniques for live bee removal
- By removing live bees, you also remove otherwise decaying biomass (bee corpses) from your home
The aforementioned techniques require serious expertise, skill and time.
Extermination may seem like the quickest and easiest route, which is likely true. However, as many bee removal firms have pointed out, extermination poses many practical issues.
Firstly, there’s the question of what happens to those thousands of dead bees, and their larvae which rot into a nasty soup of biomass. This biomass then provides a fertile environment for other insects, animals or fungus.
Extermination might be quick but it also has unique implications that cannot be ignored.
- Extermination is quick, easy and cheap
- Can be performed in tight spaces
- On the downside, determination leaves behind vast volumes of dead bees. Most companies use it only as a last resort.
- Can become its own hazard
How to Choose a Bee Removal Firm
Whilst a niche job, there are many bee removal specialists throughout the UK. Your local apiary or beekeepers will likely be able to recommend someone, or can take a look themselves.
The British Pest Control Association (BCPA) is an important accreditor of trusted pest removal firms. Ask about how the bees will be relocated and to where. When it’s not possible to relocate bees to a beekeeper, the firm might simply release them in the wild. Of course, this is still a fate better than complete extermination, but it’s still worth asking.
Get Prices on Bee Removals Near You
We’ve done our best to give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay for a bee removal service.
However, our guides are not a substitute for a fixed quote specifically for you.
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