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I'm faced with a hive in my home in Southern California every 7 years or so. (Specifically just south of Irvine in Orange County.) At this moment I have a huge hive in a wall and am waiting for a local contractor to remove them. In this area there is a lot of confusion about what we can and should do with hives like this.

Many ask if it's illegal to kill bees. My research says the answer is no. We need to do what we need to do.

I was told by a removal "specialist" yesterday that it's a law that bees here Must be killed because there is a high likelyhood that they are africanized. I have found nothing to substantiate that.

We have a vendor in the area that specializes in relocating bees, not killing them, "supposedly" giving them to bee keepers.

We have another vendor that says other local specialists are lying and provide no evidence that they are finding a new home for the bees. But of course they claim that they actually do this.

Other notes that I've read say beekeepers won't accept feral bees because they have no idea how they will behave.

We have a large garden with vegetables, fruit, and flowers, and we rely on our little friends for pollenation. Killing a local hive is gut-wrenching. There are those who say there has never truly been a bee problem, that was a short-term phenomenon blown out of proportion. There are those who say killing small hives like this is OK, in the big picture, because it doesn't impact the larger populations of bees that carry on with what they do for us.

So what's the truth?
Is there a single beekeeper in Southern California that accepts bees removed from homes?
Can any of you actually name a removal specialist that you work with regularly? (I'm not looking for you to advocate services, just to verify claims.)
What is your success rate of making good use of these formerly-wild bees?
Are you OK with feral bees like this getting destroyed regularly?

Is there a credible resource that already answers questions like this? (And I fully understand that the answers are probably subject to local facts and preferences.)

Thanks!
 

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You bring up a lot of concerns, especially the Africanized issue. Only a local beekeeper can answer that. I can say that if the hive is killed out with pesticides without removing all the comb and sealing the ingress/egress point, there will be more bees and possibly other problems. Pests such as small hive beetles, rats and others will move in to reap the harvest. Beetles ferment the honey and give of a disgusting odor. There generally are beekeepers in every area who specialize in removals. If you do a search for local beekeeping clubs you can probably connect with one.

Try clicking on the "Bee Removal Link" on this site and you will find a long list for California. Good Luck and thanks for thinking about the bees.:)
 

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i agree that the best course of action is to connect with a local beekeeping club. you will likely get straight answers there and maybe even someone willing to come and collect the bees. there may not be a thing wrong with them, but if they turn out to be overly aggressive a beekeeper can deal with that too and eliminate a safety hazard for you and your neighbors in the process.
 

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I won't speak for anyone else, but as a local beek in Los Angeles I have personally experienced the following:
  1. I got started by keeping a feral hive that was cut out from my wall.
  2. I have accepted cutout bees from a local beekeeper many times.
  3. I have seen that same beekeeper exterminate a colony when it was "too much trouble" to do a cutout.
  4. I collect feral swarms by the dozen, every year.
  5. Some of those feral bees are [email protected]#@^!^# nasty, and need to be exterminated, but you often won't know that until a month or two after collecting them, when they've built up their numbers and have some honey to defend.
  6. I exterminated one such colony last year, when it became clear that it was a hazard to people and pets.
  7. I prefer to requeen my hot hives, if possible, but sometimes you just can't wait the 8-12 weeks that requeening takes to completely change a colony.
 

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"I was told by a removal "specialist" yesterday that it's a law that bees here Must be killed because there is a high likelyhood that they are Africanized."
That person is obviously not a "specialist".
"Are you OK with feral bees like this getting destroyed regularly?"
NO I am not. As suggested you can find someone in your area that will work with you and do what You Want with the bees in your structure, or at the very least give you solid advice. It may take a few beekeepers to "apply for the job", but I believe that's called customer service.:D
 
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