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Bee-proof Your Florida Home

September 22, 2014

Have you ever wondered if killer bees actually exist? Well, they do and they go by the name Africanized Honey Bees (AHB). But there are a few common misconceptions about these bees. Africanized Honey Bees are no more dangerous than the European Honey Bee, which is the typical bee keeper bee. In fact, the AHB contains a lesser amount of venom in their sting than that of a European Honey Bee. Africanized Honey Bees also look extremely similar to the European Honey Bees. So much so that is almost impossible to tell the two species apart in the field. So if they aren’t giant and they don’t pack a lethal punch, how do AHB get their killer nickname?

Africanized Honey Bees are WAY more defensive than European Honey Bees. I’ll give you an example: European Honey Bees will send out 10-15 bees to protect a nest from an intruder, while Africanized Honey Bees will send out 100. With ten times the amount of bees defending a hive comes ten times a number of potential stings, and since small children and pets cannot withstand too many stings, it is important that any AHB nesting sites be eliminated around your home. This can be achieved by using proper bee-proofing methods.

A major characteristic of the Africanized Honey Bee is that it can nest almost anywhere, which means these bees are more likely to create a nest in proximity to humans. Some of their favored nesting areas are in open shaded areas. These areas include anywhere from water meters and manholes to hollow trees and gutters. Once you’ve determined the potential nesting spots for bees, the next step is to bee-proof those sites. Bee-proofing is the blocking off or removal of potential bee nesting areas. Below is a list of bee-proofing methods.

  • Screening:

    Do you have any open vents, drains, or downspouts? You can cover these areas by stapling or attaching 1/8 inch of hardware cloth or standard insect screen to the openings. This method is great because it allows air and water to pass through the opening, but prevents bees from nesting there.

  • Caulking:

    It is best to use 100% silicone caulk to seal cracks 1/8 inch or greater. Latex crack filler may be used to seal cracks in concrete surfaces.

  • Foam:

    Expanding or insulating foam sealant is best for holes or cracks in walls. To prevent the cracking of exposed foam, paint the exposed surface to prevent erosion.

  • Filler:

    Wood filler or concrete patching can also be used to seal crevices in walls where foam or caulking is not appropriate.

  • Tape:

    Duct tape can also be used for holes in water meter covers or other small holes or cracks in plastic.

Equipment needed for bee-proofing includes:

  • Silicone and latex caulking

  • caulking gun

  • 1/4

  • roll of insect screening and/or ¼” hardware cloth

  • clippers screen cutting

  • staple gun

  • staples

  • wood filler

  • concrete filler

  • putty knife

  • duct tape

  • expanding foam

***Important reminder: All bees must be removed from the area before sealing. If you were to seal a hole without removing the bees, the bees will drive further into the structure.**

Although it is impossible to eliminate every potential AHB nesting site, it is still important to take the necessary proofing measures in areas that would be exposed to human traffic. To spot nesting areas, look for bees entering or exiting an area or hole in a structure. If you see this, there is definitely a colony nearby. If you find a colony of bees, it is imperative that you contact your friendly pest control professionals here at Nozzle Nolen and schedule a nest removal service. NEVER try to remove or handle any bee or wasp nest on your own!! This is a dangerous task and should ALWAYS be done by a professional.


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