How to Eliminate Bees Living in Exterior Siding
Common places for bees to hide and build nests include overhangs, cracks, window frames, shutters, door frames, and underneath the siding. If you have bees entering any of the above, you’ll want to know how to eliminate bees living in exterior siding.
The first step is to know what kind of bee you’re dealing with, if they are actually bees at all. From there, you might try smoke, insecticides, or calling in a professional. Let’s take a closer look at your options.
1. Know Thy Bee
Bees provide an important service. Without them and other pollinators we would lose our food supply. In addition, honey bees produce delicious honey for us to enjoy.
However, not all buzzing critters we refer to as bees are actually classified as bees, which is an important distinction when deciding whether to eliminate them or not.
Misidentification can lead to unnecessary harm to beneficial bee populations.
2. Distinguish Between Bees, Wasps, and Hornets
To identify bees, look for certain characteristics. Bees have a robust, hairy body with a more rounded shape. They are typically black or brown with yellow or orange markings. Some species may have metallic or greenish colors as well.
Bees are covered in fine, dense hair, which aids in pollen collection. They vary in size depending on the species, but are generally plumper and more compact than wasps or hornets.
You can distinguish female bees by flattened areas on their hind legs known as "pollen baskets", which is used for carrying pollen back to the hive.
Since they are appreciated by so many, if you’re dealing with bees, a local beekeeper may be willing to locate and remove the hive for you. This could involve cutting into the siding, removing the hive, and ensuring that all bees are relocated safely.
Wasps and hornets, on the other hand, can be identified by distinctly different characteristics. They feature a sleek and slender body shape, with a defined waist-like structure called a "petiole" that separates the abdomen from the thorax.
They often have distinctive black and yellow stripes, although some species may have different color patterns such as black and white or black and red.
Unlike bees, wasps and hornets have a smoother and less hairy appearance. Wasps and hornets have a noticeable thin waist between the thorax and abdomen, which gives them a more elongated appearance.
They are generally more aggressive compared to bees and can be more prone to stinging if they feel threatened.
It's important to note that these characteristics may vary depending on the species, and there can be considerable overlap in appearance.
If you're unsure about the identification or encounter a nest, it's best to consult a local beekeeper, entomologist, or pest control expert who can accurately identify the insects and provide appropriate guidance.
3. Identify the Bee Nests
You may not know for sure how many nests are inside your siding or how large the nests are. To locate the wasp or hornet nest in your siding, exercise caution and observe the nest from a safe distance to determine its size and activity level.
Do not approach the nest closely or provoke the insects. Make sure to locate all the nests as they may have set up camp in several areas.
Look at all sides of your house to locate all the nests. If you find multiple entrances and exit areas, lightly mark the points using a rock or some tape to remember the spots later.
4. Practice Safety
It's crucial to protect yourself from potential stings. Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, long pants, gloves, closed-toe shoes, and a veil or face mask to prevent stings to the face.
5. Attach Bees at Night
Wasps and hornets are generally less active during the nighttime. If possible, consider addressing the nest during the evening or early morning when the insects are less active and more likely to be inside the nest.
6. Use a Wasp/Hornet Spray
Use an aerosol wasp or hornet spray designed specifically for these insects. Stand at a safe distance away from the nest and carefully follow the instructions on the product label.
Spray the entrance of the nest and any visible wasps or hornets. Ensure you are using a product that is safe to use on or near your home's siding.
7. Set a Wasp/Hornet Trap
Set up a wasp or hornet trap near the area to capture and reduce the number of flying insects. These traps can be purchased from stores or made using simple materials like a plastic bottle with a sweet liquid bait inside.
8. Try Insecticide
Select an insecticide specifically labeled for bee control, if available. Look for one that is designed to target the specific type of bees causing the issue.
It is essential to carefully read and follow the instructions on the insecticide label.
While wearing gloves, funnel the powdered insecticide into the empty dish soap bottle. Do not inhale the powder. A dish soap bottle is recommended because the powder can be squeezed out easily onto a target area. Similar alternative containers can be used.
Make sure the container is dry before using it. After pouring the insecticide into the bottle, wash your hands, the funnel, and all involved surfaces thoroughly.
Depending on the specific properties of the insecticide you're using, you may require more than simple gloves. Read your manufacturer's instructions and obey any further safety recommendations, such as wearing protective clothing, including long sleeves, pants, gloves, and a face mask.
This helps minimize direct contact with the insecticide and reduces the risk of any adverse effects.
Apply the insecticide during periods when bees are less active, such as early morning or late evening when they are less likely to be foraging. Avoid spraying on windy days to prevent drift and unintended exposure to non-targeted insects.
Apply the insecticide directly to the areas where bees are nesting or congregating, following the specific instructions provided with the product. Avoid spraying the insecticide on flowers or other areas where bees are likely to visit.
When the bees are sleeping, squirt the powdered insecticide from the bottle at the entrance and exit points on the siding.
Make sure to cover all the points, using the marks you used as a reminder. Spray the powder in the opening of the siding. If the entry point is close to the ground, squirt some powder on the ground.
It will take approximately one week for the powdered insecticide to kill all the bees. As the bees travel in and out of the nests, they will carry the insecticide powder you sprayed at the entry point to other bees in the nest.
If the breed you are trying to kill has a queen bee, she will also die. Eventually, all the bees will be dead due to the spread of the powder.
Using bee insecticides should be approached with caution and as a last resort when all other options for bee preservation and removal have been exhausted. Consider the potential impact of using bee insecticides on other beneficial insects, wildlife, and the surrounding environment.
Minimize the use of insecticides and use them sparingly, focusing only on areas directly affected by the bee problem.
After applying the insecticide, carefully clean up any residual product and dispose of it according to the instructions on the label. Proper disposal prevents potential harm to the environment and unintended exposure to other animals or insects.
9. Call Pest Pros
If the nest is large, inaccessible, or if you're uncertain about handling the situation on your own, it's best to contact a professional pest control service.
They have the necessary experience and protective equipment to handle wasp and hornet removal safely.
10. Seal Entry Points
After removing the nest, seal any openings or gaps in your siding to prevent future infestations. Use caulk or weatherstripping to close gaps and potential entry points.
Q & A on How to Eliminate Bees Living in Exterior Siding
What Kind of Bees Nest in House Siding?
Various species of bees may nest in house siding, but the most common culprits are solitary bees, particularly carpenter bees.
Carpenter bees are known for tunneling into wooden structures, including house siding, to create their nests.
However, it's important to note that carpenter bees are generally considered beneficial pollinators, and their presence does not always require immediate removal or eradication.
Carpenter bees resemble bumble bees but have a shiny, black abdomen rather than a hairy one.
They typically create perfectly round entry holes in wood, such as siding, fascia boards, or eaves. Inside these holes, they construct tunnels where they lay their eggs and rear their young.
While carpenter bees can cause cosmetic damage to wooden structures, their impact on the structural integrity of a house is usually minimal.
If you notice carpenter bees nesting in your house siding, it's advisable to consider alternative solutions that prioritize their preservation, such as placing bee houses or providing alternative nesting sites nearby.
What Repels Bees Instantly?
While there isn't a foolproof method to instantly repel bees, there are some measures you can take to deter them from a specific area.
Bees are attracted to sugary substances and strong floral scents. Keep food and drink containers tightly sealed, clean up spills promptly, and avoid wearing strongly scented perfumes or lotions when bees are present.
You may be able to draw bees away from certain areas by placing fragrant flowers or fruit in a location away from your gathering space.
Certain essential oils are known to repel bees due to their strong scents. Peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and tea tree oil are examples.
Mix a few drops of these oils with water in a spray bottle and apply it around the area you want to keep bees away from. However, note that this is a temporary solution and may not be 100% effective.
If you want to keep bees away from a specific outdoor area, you can use physical barriers such as mosquito nets, screens, or bee suits to protect yourself.
Ensure that these barriers are well-sealed and properly installed to prevent bees from entering.
How Do I Keep Bees Out of My Exterior Siding?
Thoroughly inspect your home's siding for any gaps, cracks, or openings that bees could use as entry points. Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal these gaps and prevent bees from accessing the interior of the siding.
Install fine mesh or screen coverings over vents, openings, and other areas where bees could enter. Ensure that the mesh or screen has small enough gaps to prevent bees from passing through.
Bee screens, also known as bee-proofing screens, are specialized screens designed to allow airflow while keeping bees out. These screens are commonly used to cover openings such as attic vents, soffits, or other areas where bees might try to access the siding.
Install vents with adjustable or closable features. This allows you to keep the vents open when necessary for ventilation but close them off when bees are active or pose a problem. Ensure that the vents are tightly sealed when closed to prevent bees from entering.
Eave guards are typically metal or plastic strips installed along the eaves of your home to prevent pests, including bees, from entering. These barriers create a physical deterrent, making it difficult for bees to access the siding through the eaves.
What Else Can Deter Bees?
Bees are naturally cautious around predatory insects like wasps and hornets. The presence of these aggressive insects can deter bees from an area, so if you have one you may not have the other.
Smoke has been traditionally used by beekeepers to calm bees during hive inspections. While it doesn't necessarily repel bees, it can temporarily disrupt their normal behavior and make them less aggressive.
Bees are less active during extreme heat or cold conditions. High temperatures may cause them to seek shade or water sources, while very low temperatures can force them to retreat to their hives.
Do Bees Hate Vinegar?
Bees are not particularly fond of vinegar, as its strong smell can be off-putting to them.
However, it's important to note that vinegar alone is not a guaranteed repellent. It may have limited effectiveness and should not be relied upon as a long-term solution.
Where Can I Find Help with Bee Removal?
Beekeepers often have experience and knowledge in bee removal. They may be willing to help you or refer you to someone who specializes in bee removal.
Look for local beekeeping associations, clubs, or organizations and contact them for assistance.
Many pest control companies offer bee removal services. Search for local pest control companies in your area and inquire if they have expertise in safely removing bees.
Contact your local agricultural extension office or agricultural department. They may have resources or contacts for bee removal specialists in your region.
Check online directories or websites that list bee removal specialists or pest control professionals. Some examples include the Bee Removal Source, Beekeepers Guild, or local business directories like Yelp or Yellow Pages.
Participate in online forums or social media groups dedicated to beekeeping or pest control. You can ask for recommendations or advice from experienced individuals in those communities.
When contacting potential experts in bee removal, provide them with details about the bee infestation, such as the location, size of the swarm or hive, and any other relevant information.
Dealing with bees can be a literal pain, but more often than not, you're actually dealing with wasps or hornets. When it comes to bees, remember they are a crucial part of every ecosystem. You may even want to brush up on How to Support Bees in Your Yard,
At the least, it can't hurt to consider How to Get Rid of Bees Naturally.