Bees are a common pest all around the world as they can build their hives more or less anywhere. One of the odd spots is on or in walls, believe it or not!
There can be obvious signs of bees in walls, which if recognized, are a call to action. Read on to learn how to recognize bees in walls, all about bee infestations, what to do with bees in walls and how to prevent bees from nesting in your walls.
- Signs of Bees in Your Wall
- What Type of Bees Nest in Walls
- Do Bees Damage Walls
- How to Get Rid of Bee Infestations in Walls
- Preventing Bees in Walls
- Are Bees Dangerous?
- Signs of Bees in Walls – Final Thoughts
Signs of Bees in Your Wall
The silver lining in having bees in your walls is that it’s not so difficult to spot them. It’s almost impossible to miss them when they’re so close. So here are the five telltale signs that your walls are home to bees.
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1. Bees Sightings
The most obvious tell is to witness bees moving around the outside of your home and landing on external walls and crawling into small holes. Bee holes are generally found in small gaps in between brickwork, oftentimes the holes are in the mortar itself.
Seeing one bee crawl into a hole doesn’t necessarily mean you have a bee hive. Many species of bees are loners and prefer to create a single burrow as opposed to being colony bees. Carpenter bees and Minor bees both fall into this classification of solitary bees. They can burrow into walls and lawns. Carpenter bees can even eat their way into timber, hence their name.
If you find a bee crawling into your brickwork, it is important to be vigilant and watch the flight path to see if there are dozens of bees or just one. Large numbers of bees moving in and out of the hole will be a clear indication you have a nest inside your wall.
2. Increased Number of Bees
An increased number of bees, regardless if they are indoors or outdoors, is a sign that there’s a hive nearby. Bees are willing to fly far away from the hive when they’re working, but bee population density increases as you get closer to the hive.
If you notice that there are hundreds of bees in your yard, or specifically near a room, it’s possible that there’s a hive nearby. Once again, this doesn’t guarantee that the hive is in the walls, but it does mean there’s a hive somewhere in close proximity.
3. Buzzing Noises
Getting buzzing noises from the inside of your home is a much more damning sign than the previous two. While outdoor buzzing is clear if you’re close by or if there’s absolute silence, it should not be audible once you’re inside your home.
However, if you hear buzzing when you’re sitting on the couch, you either have incredibly thin walls and record-breaking loud bees, or you have bees in the house.
The inside structure of a wall is a great spot for a nest establishment, so you shouldn’t be surprised to find a hive in there. However, hearing buzzing inside could point at other spots too.
Drawers, closets, and basements are all great spots for hives.
4. A Hive
If you find a hive in your home, that means that bees were at one point living here. It’s possible that they left their old hive and that they built a new hive in the walls.
If you keep hearing buzzing inside your home on top of finding a hive, you can almost guarantee that there are bees inside your home – possibly inside your walls.
5. Damp & Dark Spots on Ceilings or Walls
Dark spots on walls are created mainly by honey, and it’s virtually a guarantee that you have bees inside your home if you also hear buzzing. Bees produce honey, and that honey will leave a mark on the walls because it ruins them from the inside (the exact process is explained in the ‘Do Bees Damage Walls’ section below).
On top of that, bees themselves can leave spots on your walls.
What Type of Bees Nest in Walls
According to Iowa State University, 90% of home infestations are yellowjacket infestations, not honeybee infestations. Yellowjackets are wasps, in case you didn’t know, but they’re easy to mistake for honeybees because they’re so similar.
You could also come across carpenter bees, which are known to dig through wood with ease.
Mason bees are another type of bee to nest in walls, and they’re capable of nesting in brick walls – unlike other bee species, which usually need wooden constructions to nest. They’re also called mortar bees because they’re capable of digging through mortar.
Bumblebees can also dig and nest in walls, but they, however, they tend not to hang around for too long, so you are unlikely to have to evict them.
Most species of bees and wasps can build nests in your walls, but the main issue is how bees actually get inside of your walls. Carpenter bees find this easier than other bee species because of their wood-digging abilities.
Aside from bees and wasps, hornets have also been found in walls on occasion, but that’s rare. So, if you’re certain that there are bees on your wall, yellowjackets, honeybees, and carpenter bees are the most likely culprits.
How Long Do Bee Infestations Last
If not treated, a single nest can remain in a spot for years! Honeybees find the inside of your walls very comfortable because there are no natural predators and they’re mostly shielded from any interference.
Yellowjacket infestations are less serious, though, as they tend to disappear over the winter even if you don’t treat them. Because of this, honeybees are considered to be a much bigger problem than wasps.
Do Bees Damage Walls
Bees are most certainly bad for your home, and this doesn’t only include the walls. The aforementioned carpenter bees will dig through wood, while all bees are dangerous because of their honey production.
Remember the black spots we mentioned earlier as one of the five signs of bees in walls? Once bees die, it actually gets worse than that. Honey starts extracting moisture from the air if it’s not taken care of (which is usually the bees’ job), and this leads to honey fermentation.
Fun fact, this is how mead is made – albeit in a controlled environment!
A not-so-fun fact is that honey starts decomposing rapidly when fermenting, which can tear apart the wood it comes in contact with. This is also the reason honey leaves dark spots on the walls.
So, not only do bees damage walls by destroying the paint and the superficial layer – but they also destroy the internal structure of the building.
Is It Safe To Leave Them Alone?
This question is logical, especially considering that yellow jackets will die in the winter with or without your intervention. Even more importantly, if the bees aren’t leaving the walls and putting you or your family members in danger, why should you touch them?
In my opinion, you should always contact beekeepers and have the bees taken care of immediately. The danger of someone being stung or your home being destroyed is simply too great.
Even if you could somehow guarantee that you won’t get stung – your walls and internal wooden structures could get destroyed.
How to Get Rid of Bee Infestations in Walls
There are a few things you can do to end the bee infestation on your walls. However, the safest thing you can do is pay for a professional to take care of this. Bees, wasps, and hornets are dangerous in swarms and have even killed people who didn’t know what they were doing before.
Call a Beekeeper
Beekeepers are the most experienced help you can get. These people are professionals with expansive experience with bees, and there’s even a possibility that they can get the bees out of your walls without killing them.
People often refrain from calling for their services because it’s going to cost (and the price can be hefty), but it’s still the only option that ensures your safety.
Additionally, it’s almost impossible for an amateur to remove an established hive.
Unfortunately, it might be necessary for the beekeepers to break the wall down – it could be the only way for them to reach the bees. In that case, you’re going to have to build a new wall, and this is just another investment.
The good news is – you’re guaranteed to get a clean house after the pros do their job, which is why I wholeheartedly recommend this option.
Before I move on to the methodology, know that the use of insecticides is restricted (different restrictions apply to different regions), which is why you might not even be allowed to buy insecticides.
However, if you can legally buy and use them, you can kill the bees with them. This leads me to another thing to keep in mind – bees are protected in certain regions, and killing them might be illegal. In that case, you once again have to hire a professional.
However, if you can legally kill bees – do it at night. Bees are dormant at night and the chances of being stung are significantly lower.
You’ll have to physically reach the nest and fill it with the pesticide. It’s possible that you’ll need to apply the insecticide several times before the nest is empty.
If you act quickly enough and use the insecticides as soon as the bees form the nest, you could be saving both money and time.
Calling an expert or applying insecticides yourself (in case of small infestations) are the only two things you can do. This means that you have to focus on prevention and avoid this problem altogether.
Preventing Bees in Walls
Unfortunately, there is no 100% effective method of keeping bees away from your home. This isn’t an over-exaggeration – it’s an official statement from the British Pest Control Association.
They are nifty creatures and can get into any area if they have at least a quarter of an inch of space. On the other hand, bees follow the path of least resistance, and if they have to work really hard to establish a hive in your house – they’ll likely move on to another place.
The most important thing to do is to physically prevent the bees from entering your home. This means that all openings have to be closed.
If you do want to keep your windows open for ventilation, you’ll need to install insect netting.
It’s just as important to close down all the crevices and cracks, especially around the holes where pipes enter the walls or where windows meet brick.
Knot holes and sidings gaps are just as important, and caulking them is crucial to prevent bees in walls.
Another thing you absolutely have to do is remove the honeycomb once you’ve killed the bees in your home. The honeycomb is an attractant to other bees while keeping your yard free from clutter is also helpful.
Are Bees Dangerous?
The short answer to this is – yes, bees are dangerous. Although in most cases they’ll ignore you, some bees and wasps are extremely aggressive if you approach the nest.
There are also bee species that won’t react to your presence unless you poke the nest.
Either way, if you have a hive near you, don’t disturb it, and don’t try to remove it on your own unless you know what you’re doing.
Signs of Bees in Walls – Final Thoughts
There are five characteristic signs of bees in your walls and it’s impossible to ignore them. Unfortunately, leaving the bees alone and expecting the problem to solve itself won’t do any good.
The best thing you can do in this situation is to hire a professional to remove the bees, which is usually done through the use of insecticides. To prevent them from returning, close all gaps and caulk all small openings in your home.