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How to Protect Your Property From Bees

Closeup of Honeybees on HiveBees are essential pollinators and play a critical role in beautifying our natural environment. In many respects, bees make farming and gardening possible. Yet, when a beehive forms in or around your investment property, it needs to be moved. Bees can pose a threat to your renters—especially those allergic to bee stings. This article reviews several ways to prevent beehives from forming around your property, and what to do if your renter calls you about an active hive.

Clean up your property

Of course, bees are known for creating hives in trees, but that’s far from the only place they’ll colonize in and around your home. Bees are opportunistic hive creators, and will create hives in a diverse set of locations around your rental property:

  • Bushes & Shrubs: In terms of foliage, bees are not just limited to trees. They’ll also form hives in overgrown bushes and shrubs around your property. To keep this from happening, hire a landscaper to keep the landscaping trimmed down regularly.
  • Storage Sheds: If your property has a storage shed, make sure it is securely sealed. Bees can fit into spaces no wider than a pencil. A dark, seldom-used storage shed makes for a great shelter. Look around the door and window frames to ensure the entire structure is sealed tight.
  • Tires & Wood: If the property has piles of used tires, abandoned vehicles, or loosely stacked firewood, you should take steps to clean it up—or ask your renter to do so. Bees can easily create hives in any of these spaces.

What to do if you have bees

If your renter calls you to let you know there’s a hive on or around the property, here’s what you should do.

Talk to your renter

Start by talking with your renter and getting details about the hive location, what bee activity they’ve noticed, and if anyone has been stung. Tell your tenant to keep any children or pets inside until the hive has been safely removed from your property. While most bees are relatively unaggressive, they will swarm and sting anyone or anything they perceive to be a threat to their hive.

In recent years, the Africanized Honey Bee—perhaps more commonly known as the “killer bee”—has settled in the South and the U.S. Sunbelt. This invasive species is virtually indistinguishable from the average bee and is far more aggressive than other honey bee variants. These bee colonies are far more likely to swarm and sting and may follow would-be “attackers” great distances. Potentially, any beehive can be home to this more aggressive type of bee. It should be approached with caution and only by a trained professional.

Call a professional

Always have a trained professional out to deal with a beehive. Never try to remove or deal with a hive by yourself. Pest professionals and beekeepers have the right tools and safety equipment for the job. By hiring a professional, you’ll ensure that no one else—you, your tenants, or people in neighboring properties—get stung. Given that about 5-7% of people are allergic to bees, it’s not a risk worth taking. 

Depending on where the hive is, your beekeeper or pest control company will likely try first to relocate the hive. In many cases, a hive can be moved to a beekeeper’s hive box, allowing them to place it in a garden so that flowers get the pollination they need. If, however, the hive is inaccessible or cannot be safely removed, your beekeeper will likely need to treat the hive and then remove the leftover hive material. Talk through your options with them.

With the hive removed or otherwise dealt with, consult with your beekeeper or pest professional about avoiding future hives best. If the bees infested an exterior wall of your home, garage, or carport, you’d want to have the area completely sealed to avoid reinfestation. Bees are attracted to the smell of beeswax, which may remain even after the hive has been removed. If you don’t seal their access point, there’s a good chance another hive will settle in your walls, putting you right back at square one.

Take steps to protect your rental property from bees

While a bee infestation isn’t the end of the world, it can cause your renter a considerable amount of stress—especially if they or a member of their family is allergic to them. Be prepared and decisive when dealing with the problem. When a hive is first noticed, call in a trusted, local pest professional or beekeeper. Your quick action can help prevent people from getting stung, while also allowing the bees—an essential pollinator—to be safely relocated elsewhere.

To learn more about bee infestations and what to do if your property has a hive, check out this new infographic:

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