How to Get Rid of Bees: Safely, Effectively & Responsibly

how to get rid of bees


Photo Credit: Umberto Salvagnin

Before you wonder why we discuss how to get rid of bees, we must learn what are the special circumstances that warrant bee repelling. If you have a beehive in your yard and the bees are not bothering anyone, it is best to leave them alone. It can take years for bee colonies to rebuild from being destroyed or removed by humans – that’s right! We destroy their home then wonder why they sting us.

How Dangerous Are Bees and Why Should We Repel Them? 

Bees are an important part of the ecosystem that have garnered much attention in the media. As we all know, bee populations are declining, posing a threat to our entire ecosystem and life itself.

While protecting them is important, this does not mean you should share your living space with them.

  • Some species can damage your home or become hostile.
  • The good news is that they are generally less destructive than rats or termites.
  • The bad news is that they are sometimes difficult to remove.

Know Your Bees

Before choosing a method of removing a colony of bees, it is important to identify the species of stinging insect, and whether it is a bee, wasp, or hornet. This knowledge will give you a better estimate of damages or the threat of stings. Some species also require specialized treatment.

  • Bumble Bee: Aggressive only when threatened, the bumble bee prefers to nest in loose, fluffy materials and occasionally underground.
  • Carpenter Bee: These oval-shaped bees burrow into surface leaving perfect three-eights inch holes. Carpenter Bees are solitary, and rarely damage structural beams. However, individual nests can multiply, eventually destroying the surrounding surface wood.
  • Honey Bee: While honey bees are not aggressive and highly beneficial, their nests are heavy and produce thousands of workers. They are the only species where relocation from your home is the preferred method.
  • Worker Bee: Worker bees are the only ones that sting. Generally, a colony will have one queen and several dozen workers.
  • Queen Bee: A queen bee is larger than a worker and the only fertlie female in t he  colony.  She has a stinger that inflicts more pain  and can  sting multiple times.

How To Treat A Sting From Bees:

A bee sting can happen quickly and without warning. One minute your children are playing outside happily, the next a piercing scream reveals one of them has been stung by an angry wasp or hornet – who just wants some attention!

To help alleviate panic (and pain), it’s important to know what you should be doing when treating bees in order avoid infection from their venomous barbs.

The first thing that comes into play is getting out any remaining stinger as soon as possible so more poison doesn’t get pumped into our skin longer than necessary; this will also reduce swelling around where it is stuck… But if we’re lucky enough not receive another attack then there are still plenty of ways to prevent these pesky bugs wreaking havoc on ourselves again at home.

Follow these instructions for a bee sting:

  1. Stay calm. Although most bees usually only sting once, we can’t be sure that this will happen so it’s best if you stay still until the attack is over and avoid additional attacks by calmly walking away from where they are located.
  2. If one does remain in your skin after remove then wash with soap and water.
  3. Apply a cold pack to reduce swelling. However, if the swelling moves to other parts of your body and you experience difficulty breathing or hives from an allergic reaction then go immediately to the emergency room for treatment as these signs can be life-threatening! 
  4. Painkillers like acetaminophen or IBuprofen over-the-counter pain medication, which help relieve discomfort associated with bee stings etc… follow directions on label when taking over the counter medications such as these types listed above – apply them correctly so that they work effectively; do not exceed recommended dosage because it could cause other side effects instead just use enough until relief is achieved.

A Bee sting allergy is a rare condition, but it’s one that could be life-threatening to those who are allergic. Symptoms of anaphylaxis can include difficulty breathing and swelling around the mouth or Nose; if someone with milder reactions has experienced multiple stings without seeking medical attention they should still contact their doctor for advice on how best handle any future encounters with bees.

A person’s reaction may also vary depending upon factors like age: children under 12 years old typically have less severe symptoms than adults do when reacting after being stung by this type insect . If you notice signs such as these—even just once!–seek professional help right away!


Bees vs. Wasps

Wasps resemble bees, but are more aggressive. They can also sting multiple times. Wasp nests are usually aerial and can be found hanging from a tree or building. Wasp colonies die at the end of summer, but common wasp species will form new ones each spring which can last for up to seven years.

The Wasp Nest

Wasp nests resemble a gray, papery material with many holes in it. They are often found hanging off of eaves or branches but can also be located on the ground. If you find one while gardening, do not disturb it! Wasps have been known to attack when their nest is disturbed so keep your distance


Common Wasp species include:

  • Ground Bee: This smaller species of yellow jacket builds nests between two inches and two feet underground, usually in abandoned burrows. They are easily agitated and fairly aggressive.
  • Hornet: This aggressive species builds external paper nests that are shaped like an inverted teardrop.
  • Yellow Jacket: These black and yellow-striped insects build nests similar to hornets. However, they also build nests in walls and can slowly chew through drywall or surface wood for materials.

How To Treat A Wasp Sting:

Stings from wasps can be a painful problem, but most of them only sting when disturbed or irritated. The common species includes yellow jackets and hornets with many different reasons for stinging you such as nest-building in your home (if they are nesting), food stealing behavior due to hunger pangs , defending their young against predators like birds who might consider raiding the colony’s provisions without any competition; robbing humans looking for honey stores which often contain tasty bits that insects enjoy eating too!

In addition some kinds may have more than one motivation – think bees who also hunt other small invertebrates.

Wasp stings can be painful, but they’ll mainly cause minor discomfort after the initial sting. Common symptoms include pain in your area and swelling that extends out from where you were bitten/stung. Some people may experience itching or heat at the site of their encounter with wasps as well!

If you’ve been stung by a wasp, it’s not likely that the site of pain is an indication for concern. If your venomous encounter involves any part on your body other than the mouth (for example nose or throat), then be sure to seek medical attention immediately as this may indicate life-threatening complications associated with Wasp Venom Antidote Test Kits which can quickly alleviate suffering caused from these types of stings! Now let’s take a look at some home remedies and treatments:

The most effective way in relieving tissue damage following such events would have two parts; prevention through wearing protective gloves while working outdoors where predictably high levels occur AND treatment using antihistamines like Benadryl PMD ® particularly if symptoms worse.

Treating a Wasp Sting:

  1. Apply Cold pack
  2. Take an anti-inflammatory, over-the-counter medication like IBuprofen and follow directions on the box.
  3. Apply Antihistamine or Calamine cream to the entire swollen or red area. 

When to See a Doctor:
When you get stung by a wasp, the pain and swelling should go away after 1-2 days. If this doesn’t happen or if your symptoms are persistent over several days instead of getting worse then it may be because there is an infection (which would require medical attention). An allergic reaction can cause even more harm than just minor discomfort from these types of insect bites so don’t ignore any signs!

  • Tightness in the throat or chest
  • Tickling in your throat
  • Uncontrolled coughing
  • Wheezing in the chest
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Profuse sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Hives over large parts of your body


How to Get Rid of Bees Infestations

Human structures often prove attractive to bees, as their natural tendency is to build their hives in tree hollows and similar cavities. In the event that a colony of bees has taken up residence in your home, yard, or vehicle, there are steps you can take to get rid of them. 

As they are diurnal (active during the day), it is best to deal with hives after dark.

Let’s see now how to get rid of bees depending on the infestation location!

How to Get Rid of Bees in the House

Dealing with a colony of bees living in your home may be easy or difficult, depending on whether the hive is exposed.

  • You should dress in bulky protective clothing and spray an exposed hive with pesticides after dusk to avoid stings.
  • Watch the hive at dawn and dusk the next day for any activity and spray again, if necessary.
  • Once you are sure the bees are dead, you should remove the hive to avoid the risk of honey or wax melting and causing damage to your walls. This will also make a future infestation less likely.
  • In the event of a nest inside the walls, you may need to call a professional.
  • Under no circumstances should you plug the entry point, as this may lead any bees in the hive to seek another exit, possibly into your living areas.

How to Get Rid of Bees in the Ground

A simple method for eliminating a ground bee problem is to purchase a chemical spray specifically labelled for these bees (we recommend Spectracide).

Bees on the ground are a species of yellow jacket and can become aggressive when agitated, so be sure to dress protectively and spray at night.

  • Try to aim the chemical into the hive entrance so that the spray reaches the nesting area.
  • Watch the area around dusk or dawn over the next few days for movement and spray again if needed.
  • Note that bees who survive the spray will attempt to relocate their nest.
  • Under no circumstances should you attempt to kill bees on the ground by pouring gasoline or other generic chemicals into the nest. Doing so will poison the ground, killing both plants and animals. It may also prove a fire or health hazard to humans.

How to Get Rid of Bees in Your Car

Eliminating bees or wasps from a car is often difficult, depending upon the location of the nest.

  • It is dangerous and you should wear bulky, protective clothing and work at night if you plan to approach the colony.
  • Sprays such as Raid will often eliminate the bees after a few uses.
  • However, in the case of car nesting, the safest solution is to seek out a bee keeper or professional expert.
  • Simply driving or letting the motor run will not eliminate a colony and may prove to agitate the bees.



How to Get Rid of Beehives Around the House

Photo Credit: Jess Pac

It is important to remove a hive after killing the bee colony. Not only does this eliminate dead larvae which will decay and stink, but it will also help prevent any new colonies moving into the abandoned hive.

Removing a wasp nest is different than removing bee hives, so knowing which stinging insect you are dealing with will aid in the removal process.

For all species of bees, the methods of removal are all similar.

  • Once the hive is empty, you may knock it down from a tree or other visible surface.
  • It is especially important to remove wax hives from your walls, as the wax and honey may melt and cause damage. This means opening a hole in the wall and then breaking the comb apart, removing it a piece at a time.

Wasp species nests, such as the paper wasp (flat with a visible comb), hornet (teardrop and usually hanging from a tree), and yellow jacket (unevenly-shaped or in the ground) can be dangerous to remove.

Be sure that you have eliminated the colony and wear protective clothing in case you encounter a survivor.

  • The empty hive may be dislodged and destroyed.
  • For bees, you may simply pack the hive entrance with dirt.
  • For nests in walls, you may use a vacuum to pull corpses from the hive and then seal any openings with caulk to prevent a new colony from forming.

Regardless of the species, hives built inside of a tree hollow or other enclosed space outside of your home will prove difficult to remove.

  • In these cases, the method used is to seal the hive.
  • Find any openings which may give access to the hive and fill them with caulk, cement, or a similar substance.

How to Get Rid of Bees Naturally

There are several natural methods to help remove an unwanted colony of bees.

  • In many cases, you may need to experiment with more than one method before finding one that works best for your particular intruders.

It should be once again noted that you should make every effort to relocate honey bees instead of exterminating them.

Natural Bee Lure

Bees will often relocate to be closer to their food source and are attracted to strong, sweet smells.

  • Cut soft, ripe pears or mangoes into chunks and place them into an open sandwich bag.
  • Place this 15 to 20 feet away from the hive.
  • After a few days, move the bait a few feet further away from the hive.
  • Continue this process until the bees stop visiting the original location and have set up a new hive closer to the bag.

A more lethal form of lure is to fill a basin with sugar water and place it where the bees congregate. The bees will be attracted to the water and drown.

  • For better effect, add some soap, which will disrupt the water’s surface tension.

Other Natural Bee Removal Solutions

While bees are attracted to sweet smells, they are equally repulsed by pungent smells.

Garlic Powder

  • One of the simplest methods to repel bees is to liberally sprinkle garlic powder in places where the bees congregate.
  • Not only will they generally avoid the area, but direct application of the powder on bees may prove lethal.


Citronella candles will not harm bees, but it will help repel bees they will avoid any areas containing the smell. This helps protect some areas if you have a hive in your yard, and may prove partially effective in forcing a colony to relocate if you burn the candles close to the hive.


Scatter a handful of cucumber peels as another natural form of repellent.

  • The peels give off a scent that bees and many other insects find repulsive.
  • The downside to this method is that it is not easily used to make bees abandon their hive.
  • However, if used in the garden, the degraded peels will help fertilize your plants.


Add one teaspoon of vinegar or canola oil to a quart of water and place in a spray bottle.

  • By spraying bees with this mixture, you not only make it difficult for them to fly, but they will suffocate.
  • Adding some dish soap to the mixture will break the surface tension of the water droplets, making the spray even more effective.
  • The downside to using sprays, however, is that you must attack the bees directly.

Diatomaceous Earth

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is an organic pesticide which is comprised of ground diatom shells.

Alternative Solutions for Ground Bees

There are a few ways to deal with these bees.

Boiling Water

The first is to pour boiling water into the hive entrance at night. The water will kill bees on contact. This will not affect bees that are away from the hive, however.

A Glass Jar

Using a large, clear jar is another method to eliminate Bees from the ground

  • Place the jar over the hive entrance at night. During the day, bees will fly out, only to be trapped in the glass.

The heat from direct sunlight will have some effect, but the primary effect is to prevent the bees from having access to food or water.

  • The major flaw to this method is that there may be another entrance to the hive by which the bees may escape.

The Tarp Method

A third method for removing or kill bees requires several large, dark tarps.

  • Wearing dark clothing, cover the nest with the tarps, making sure the tarp stretches several feet in every direction.
  • Place large stones, bricks, or other weights down around the tarp so that the bees are sealed in.
  • With no light and no exit, they will starve to death over the next several days.
  • This is one of the best eco-friendly methods of ground bee extermination.

Professional Bee Removal

Unlike most other types of pests, there are two different types of bee professionals to choose from.

  • Exterminators usually eliminate hives, including wasps and hornets.
  • Alternatively, many beekeepers will relocate bee colonies, especially honey bees.

What to Expect from Professional Pest Control When Working with Bees

A professional exterminator will use chemical sprays to destroy the bees or wasps. Often, experts use sprays designed specifically for that species. Once the colony is eliminated, the exterminator will destroy the nest and seal any openings.

Your local beekeeper may or may not offer a removal service. In the event your stinging insects are a species of beneficial bees, they will use a bait trap to coax the colony into a box hive and then relocate that colony.

In the case of a hive in the walls of your house, a beekeeper may opt for extermination or decline the job. Fewer beekeepers are providing this service for species other than honey bees.

How Much Does Bee Removal Cost?

If a beekeeper is available, they may offer to relocate the bees at no cost or for the price of the trip, but only if the colony is healthy.

  • According to Cost Helper, the cost of removal for hives exposed to pesticides or wasp species will range between $75 and $200 for visible hives and $100 to $700 for hives located between walls.
  • Pest control companies may charge between $100 to $400 or more to remove a hive.
  • How Much Does it Cost gives higher estimations for extermination, beginning with $100 to $250 for removal of an exposed hive. A wasp nest will run between $85 and $250, while hives located under a roof or in walls cost $150 to $1,400.

In the event you need to open a wall to remove a hive, there may be additional repair costs. Some companies will do this for $300 to $900. However, not all removal companies offer this service, requiring you to pay another company for the repairs.

Saving Money on Professional Pest Control

To save the greatest amount of money, identify the type of bee or wasp.

  • If it is a species of bee, avoid using any chemicals or pesticides until you have called the local beekeepers about removal services.
  • Many wasp species may be removed using home kits purchased at your local hardware or grocery store.
  • Be sure to use them at night when the wasps are least active.
  • Due to their large colony size and aggressive tendencies, hornet nests are best left to professionals.

Additional Resources for Bee Removal

Honeybee Swarm Removal is a national directory of beekeepers which provide removal services.

FAQs Regarding Getting Rid of Bees

How do I get rid of bees naturally?

Some of the most efficient natural repellents are:
1. Bee lure that helps with relocation;
2. Garlic powder;
3. Citronella;
4. Cucumber;
5. Vinegar;
6. Food-grade diatomaceous earth

How do I get rid of ground bees?

For bees, you can use:
1. Boiling water;
2. A glass jar trap;
3. Dark-colored tarp trap.

How do I get rid of carpenter bees?

Carpenter bees are also effective pollinators, so you should remove/repel them instead of killing them. Just like most bees, they do not suffer pungent smells, so you can try vinegar, citrus, and even almond oil mixtures.

Who do you call to remove bees?

You can call a professional exterminator or you can enroll the services of a local beekeeper. The former will mostly deal with the harmful species of bees and use chemicals to get rid of them. The latter will most likely employ relocation techniques.