Spring is in the air! Warmer temperatures bring everyone out to enjoy the great outdoors, including honeybees. When Spring rolls around, Mary, Missy and Gail, our amazing bee phone call specialists, start to get some panicky calls from Dallas /Fort Worth customers about honeybee swarms.
Q: “Why is there a football size clump of bees hanging from my tree?”
A (Mary): “Sounds like you have a honeybee swarm, no need to panic.”
Q: “Please help me! There is a swarm of bees down the block what do I do?”
A (Missy): “Take a deep breath you’ve called the right place.”
Q: “I see a ton of bees flying around outside my house. I’m scared.”
A (Gail): “Don’t worry. We can help!”
Spring gives rise to honeybee swarms. A swarm sounds scary, but it is just nature’s way of helping the bee population survive. All winter, bees have been holed up in their current hive living off the honey they have produced. When the weather begins to warm the colony starts to expand.
The queen bee is busy laying eggs this time of year, including worker and drone eggs. Soon the hive grows too big for only one queen bee and another queen is created. The second queen bee arrives when the hive has expanded so much that the workers can no longer smell the first queen bee’s pheromones she emits. Basically, if they can’t smell the first queen bee, they don’t know she’s alive so they create a new queen bee by feeding the future queen bee royal jelly. There is only one queen bee per hive so now a new colony needs to be formed. Usually the original queen bee will fly off with about half the colony and go find a new place to live. This is a swarm.
Little Giant Beekeepers gets many call about this phenomenon this time of year. People see a clump of bees hanging on a tree, branch or sometimes a car and the sight can be a bit unnerving. A swarm stops wherever the queen decides to rest. The group waits here while scouting bees go find a new place to make a permanent home. If you see a swarm in your yard or area you will want to keep an eye out to make sure the scouting bees don’t make your home, their home!
If you have a swarm around your house call Little Giant Beekeepers and we can talk about the next steps in protecting your home from a swarm moving in. We can come safely remove the swarm for a fee and relocate them to an apiary so you don’t have to worry about them moving into your structure…never fun for a homeowner! Call 972-980-0923.
A live honeybee hive removal is when a bee removal company removes the bee colony and hive alive and relocates the bees to an apiary. Our company, Little Giant Beekeepers & Bee Removal Specialists, performs live honey bee hive removals all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
A swarm of honeybees can take up residence in some unexpected places, like your house! Honeybees particularly like older homes without wall insulation and often build behind an eave, siding, or wall. They can move into a structure through tiny cracks, as little as 5/16 of an inch! Once a swarm moves in, they begin to create a hive and honeycombs quickly. A queen can lay 1,500-2,000 eggs a day. An established hive can contain an average of 60,000 honey bees. A honeybee hive can grow rather large in a short time if not removed properly by a bee removal professional, like Little Giant Beekeepers and Bee Removal Specialists.
Once honeybees are established in a home it takes several steps to properly perform a removal. The first step of a live honeybee hive removal is finding the area where the bees are located. Once our technician locates the area of activity he will open the cavity in which the bees are located. It is hard to know the size of the colony until the space they are occupying is open.
Our highly trained bee technician will then remove the bees with a bee vacuum. This is a piece of equipment created to safely remove the bees from the space. The bees are then relocated to a container for safe keeping. Our bee technician will remove the hive and honeycombs from the area and clean out space with soap and water followed by bleach. If the area is not properly cleaned out, you might get bees in the same spot again because they can smell the pheromones left from previous bees and return. Needless to say, the cleaning step is important! After cleaning, we hard pack the area with insulation, another bee deterrent. We receive many calls from people who have had bees removed by other companies who did not properly clean the old hive area. Guess what that means? Bees again in the same spot!
Our bee removal experts have a background in bee removal as well as carpentry. At this point, the carpentry skills come into play. We replace all existing materials, for example, wood or siding, and leave the structure exterior exactly as it was before the bees were removed. We make sure all holes are completely sealed so no bees can get in again.
After the job is complete we will safely relocate the bees to a local apiary, a safe place where bees can go about being bees and making lots of honey.
There are some situations which make a live removal extremely difficult or in some cases too costly to remove and repair. For example, if a bee colony occupies a space enclosed by cement, stone, or brick, a live removal might not be possible without the assistance of a brick or stone mason. No matter what, Little Giant Beekeepers & Bee Removal specialists can help you determine the right treatment for your specific needs and budget.
These are the basics of a Little Giant Beekeepers and Bee Removal Specialists live honeybee hive removal. We warranty all of our work, providing a two-year warranty for all removals performed by our company. Please feel free to call us at 972-980-0923 for a free live hive removal estimate.
When we get a call for a live honeybee hive removal in North Texas, the first step is to make sure the insects we are going to remove are actually honeybees. Some people see a flying insect and assume it is a honeybee, but in North Texas we have a variety of flying insects often mistaken for honeybees, including carpenter bees, bumblebees, southern yellow jackets, mud daubers, and lots of different types of wasps. Not all flying insects are the same! We’ve put together a handy little blog to help you sort out what kind of flying insect you may have zooming around your backyard.
First, they are cute! We might be a little biased, but we love honeybees. One key visual identifier for honeybees is that they are hairy. Southern yellow jackets and other wasps have no hair. Their coloring is golden brown with black stripes across their abdomen. If you take a closer at a North Texas honeybee on a plant, you can see yellow on their legs. Honeybees have little “baskets” on their legs to store pollen.
Unless you have Africanized honeybees, most are docile. They do not usually sting unless you smash one by accident or somehow attack the hive. Honeybees are interested in flowers and flora and are not very interested in humans.
Another key identifier of a honey bee is the nest. Honeybees build their comb out of the wax they produce. It can be hard to find a hive though because they are often hidden behind a wall or cavity. We can help identify and confirm if honeybees are the insect you see at your home with some simple questions we ask over the phone.
Per Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas is home to nine different species of bumblebees. Bumblebees are bigger than regular honeybees and are also hairy. Their body is covered with fuzzy yellow and black striped hair. They are most often confused with carpenter bees. The main differentiator between bumblebees and carpenter bees is bumblebees have a smaller head and hair on their abdomen. Carpenter bees have a larger head and no hair on their abdomen. If you have a chance to get an up-close look, you will see that bumblebees also have pollen baskets on their back legs. If you see one pollinating, you will hear a buzzing sound. That noise helps them remove pollen from plants.
Unlike honeybees, bumblebees live in the ground and build their nest in abandoned mammal holes and under porches and in wall voids. You won’t find a hive or honeycomb with a bumblebee.
Carpenter bees are the larger than honeybees and bumblebees. The carpenter bee looks a lot like a bumblebee. They have a black body with yellow and black hair on their head and thorax. Their abdomen is bald and shiny, not fuzzy like the bumblebee belly.
If you see a larger bee coming in and out of a hole in wood, for example, a fence post or pergola, that is a carpenter bee. They build their home in unstained and unpainted wood. They create a hole in wood that appears as though it was created with a power drill, perfectly round. You will find a small pile of sawdust underneath the hole. Unlike bumblebees, carpenter bees are solitary. The female carpenter bee lays her egg in the holes in wood they create. Males cannot sting but may fly at you aggressively. Females can sting but do not unless you stick your finger in their nesting hole or swat them.
European and Southern yellow jackets are our least favorite flying insect at Little Giant Beekeepers. If you’ve been stung and it hurt like heck, then you might have encountered a yellow jacket. Due to the similarity in coloring and size, yellow jackets are often mistaken for the more docile honeybees.
One big differentiator from a honeybee is yellow jackets have a narrow waist and are hairless. They have a shiny yellow and black striped abdomen. Their coloring can make them look like bees, but they are in the wasp family. They do not have pollen baskets on their legs since they do not pollinate.
A main yellow jacket descriptor is their personality. They are aggressive. They can sting multiple times with their barb, and it is quite painful. They will aggressively defend their nest and do not die after stinging you. You will not usually find yellow jackets on a flower or in a garden unless they have a nest nearby. Yellow jackets are considered carnivorous and eat other insects like ants.
Southern yellow jackets build their nest out of a paper fiber; it almost looks like papier mache.
Mud Daubers look scary but are harmless! They can sting but they most likely will not. They get their name from the elaborate nest they create out of mud. Usually, they have blackish brown bodies with yellow markings. They have a very small thread-thin waist, linking the thorax and abdomen and have a large head.
One of the easiest identifiers of a mud dauber is their mud nest. The female makes a nest out of mud on the exterior of a structure, like a porch, overhang or eave. They are a solidarity creature. One female creates the nest and lays the eggs. Mud daubers can be great for spider control as they feed their larvae spiders.
These are just some of the flying insects you might encounter in Texas. If you find you are having honeybee issues and need a live honeybee hive removal or another flying insect removed, please call Little Giant Beekeepers at 972-980-0923 for a free estimate. We will ask you some simple questions over the phone to find out what flying insect is buzzing around your house.
Photo courtesy of ShopBeemancandles.com
Love is in the air, but do you have a valentine gift planned for your honey? Is your heart pounding because you don’t know what to get your honey for Valentine’s Day? Sure, a little blue box is lovely, but it’s not the perfect fit for all gift recipients. Here are some Valentine’s ideas Little Giant Beekeepers has come up with to make your love’s heart pound…and you relax because you found a great gift.
They say a couple that hobbies together stay together, so why not start a new one you both can enjoy? Beekeeping is picking up momentum as a fun, unique backyard hobby. We won’t lie, it’s not as easy as a Netflix bingefest, but once you get it going, it can bring joy for years to come. It’s often a shared hobby because it is a little labor intensive. A hobby that helps the environment and a couple, what’s not to love? Also, this truly is the gift that keeps on giving… honey.
Now that we are talking ambitious gifts, how about a Valentine’s home reno project a couple can get behind? Why not update a backsplash or bathroom floor with this adorable honeycomb tile design? Retiling a bathroom or backsplash might not seem that romantic at first, but there are tons of couple reno shows on cable now so why not give it a try yourself? If you ask us, the hexagon or honeycomb, is the new subway tile and, it’s #trending everywhere! Bees have known this for ions of course, but the hexagon is not only aesthetically pleasing it is also a super strong design. According to Sue Cobey, a bee researcher at Washington State University, “The geometry of this shape uses the least amount of material to hold the most weight.” Man, those bees are smart.
How about some less ambitious Valentine’s plans? Say, you’re gonna plan a lovely candlelight meal with your honey at home. Well, nothing speaks romance more than the dim glow of candles. How about some candles that won’t interfere with the smell of your dinner? Real honeycomb wax candles are a beautiful way to light the night and won’t emit a floral or fruity smell like so many candles, a perfect accompaniment to our next idea.
Light the beeswax candles and make a romantic dinner. Steak anyone? Honey plays a role in the perfect marinade. Here is a delicious black pepper honey steak recipe from the Splendid Table. The honey, garlic, and red wine recipe had us salivating. Enjoying your dinner with the family, including the littles? How about making homemade chicken tenders and creating your own ever-popular honey mustard sauce?
Getting ready for a big Valentine’s night out? Don’t forget the honey Valentine gift! Honey has played a role in women’s beauty routines since before Cleopatra. Her most famous beauty secret was her ritual of bathing in milk and honey. The lactic acid in milk acts as an exfoliate, and the soothing honey makes you soft and smell wonderful. Get ready for date night by adding 2 cups of milk and ½ cup of honey to your bath at home. Cleopatra also used honey in a face mask. Blend 1 tablespoon of honey with two tablespoons of cream and let it set for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and get ready to glow.
Of course, we love bees and honey at Little Giant Beekeepers! But, we also realize you don’t want them residing in the eaves of your house. If you’re are looking for a live hive honeybee removal company in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we are your Valentine! Call us at 972-980-0923 to ask questions and to schedule an appointment today.