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I have a friend who has a colony of bees take up lodging in the recesses of a large banyan tree here in Southern Florida. The tree is too old and valuable to start hacking or sawing into it to remove the hive and there are multiple entries for the bees to come and go. The aim is to simply euthanize the bees. What is the best way to accomplish this task. The bees are not africanized and the hive is still relatively small given the time they have been there. I have been advised that soapy water will drown them. Thank you for your feedback.
 

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Why do you want to do this? Resmethrin spray is what we used to use to kill honeybees in an AFB infected hive.
 

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Perhaps you could find a local beekeeping club and ask about a trap out. Than seal up the entrances.
 

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Sometimes it might be necessary or more cost effective to eliminate a colony that has moved in somewhere unacceptable. We are we to judge that. Yes we are about keeping bees but sometimes that means doing the hard things too.
 

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My comments/questions would be...

Are the bees posing a problem for man or beast? Are they up high in the tree or down low?...with many entrances I would think they're up high. Does anyone have a garden or fruit trees close to the colony?...they will definitely benefit from the colony's pollination. If this is a new colony of bees it most likely means that it was a swarm that was a product of another colony that is relatively close...personally (understand that I'm a beekeeper) I would be tickled to have a bee tree in my yard.

It goes without saying that honey bees are good to have around.<duh> Feral European honey bees are really nice (if they're truly feral and just not a fresh swarm from somebody's hive) being as they are "survivors" and are dealing (without man's intervention) with the pests and disease that are attacking bees everywhere...their donation to the gene pool would definitely be positive. But, they *can* be in the wrong place and *can* pose a threat to people. I would *really* consider leaving these bees alone, but you have to be the judge of that.

Btw, if later on you happen to walk out and the air is filled with bees and you hear a very loud bee buzz going on, just wait 5-10 minutes and the drama should be over with. That will simply be a swarm being issued from the colony...swarming bees (relatively speaking) are very gentle though will still sting if stepped on, tangled in your hair, caught in your shirt collar, etc.,. The swarming bees will eventually land on a limb or lamppost, or collard plant, or something...and begin to form a large clump of bees that will hang there for a while. Beekeepers are happy to come remove these for people. As for removing the bees live from the tree...a "trap out" is possible, but rather involved and does take a while...but the bees would live. :)

It's your call on the bees. If they're euthanized someone will lose something very beneficial to their environment and ecosystem...but, if they're in a place that is a hazard for people and pets then it's your or your friend's call on what to do with them. As a note, killing the bees inside of the tree will leave a rotting mound of bees, possibly gallons of fermenting honey along with all the nice bugs that will move in behind the bees. Think of it like this...if there are 5 pounds of bees (easily could be that or multiples of that) and you kill them in the tree that would be equivalent to a 5+ pound dead dog hanging inside the tree:pinch:...just sayin'....

Best wishes,
Ed
 

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My comments/questions would be...


It's your call on the bees. If they're euthanized someone will lose something very beneficial to their environment and ecosystem...but, if they're in a place that is a hazard for people and pets then it's your or your friend's call on what to do with them. As a note, killing the bees inside of the tree will leave a rotting mound of bees, possibly gallons of fermenting honey along with all the nice bugs that will move in behind the bees. Think of it like this...if there are 5 pounds of bees (easily could be that or multiples of that) and you kill them in the tree that would be equivalent to a 5+ pound dead dog hanging inside the tree:pinch:...just sayin'....

Best wishes,
Ed
That is a great post over all Ed. The final comments provided great perspective.

I hope that the bees live but agree that there are a few times when they should be removed.
 

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how do we 'euthanize' a human who has taken up residence next to our hive ? call pest control and see how fast they refer you to a beekeeper to save the bees.

feel free to enjoy ur food this year and not think about all the work that went into getting it to ur supermarket....by ur PESTS !
 

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If it's absolutely necessary (I would leave them, but I've had bees in my backyard for 40 years often with 40 or so hives and a couple of hundred mating nucs) it would be best for the surrounding bees if you use something that won't poison them when they rob out the existing hive. Sulfur is the traditional smoke used to kill bees. Soapy water can work. I've heard of people using fertilizer but that sounds scary as it can be pretty flammable (as can sulfur).
 

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On the flip side of things, you have a big OLD tree that has a hollow in it big enough for bees to want to make a home in, and has many holes in it. Sounds like the tree is short lived anyway, and hopefully not close to a structure.
 

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I wonder if the antifungal properties of honey and propolis might actually save the tree from invading insects and rot expanding the problem. I have seen some really old bee trees going strong, with trees the same size nearby rotting on the ground from collapse. Would be an interesting study.

TxBeek
 

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Not to mention the fact that unless the community is willing to deface the tree by sealing it up, killing the bees is only a short term answer. Its only a matter of time until some other swarm moves in and starts it all over again.
 

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I have a friend who has a colony of bees take up lodging in the recesses of a large banyan tree here in Southern Florida.
That is going to be tough to do because of the structure of the tree. One thing you might try doing is spray the tree with water constantly. A fine soaking spray might work in the hopes that the bees swarm somewhere else. It may kill them but we all hope that they decide that their new home was not a good choice and they abscond. It will probably take several sprinkler heads to surround the tree leaving no dry entrance or exit. Good luck.
 

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The only option for not causing a big stinking mess is: Trap out. Then rob out. Then seal the holes.
 

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I think some people should look as some photos of a banyan tree. There may not be any holes.
 

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Point well taken, that is not a tree, just a HUGE mess of vines out of control that looks like a tree.

Never seen anything like that.
 

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If you kill the bees and don't do anything about sealing the holes in the tree, there is a good chance that a new swarm will move back in that same tree.

And if you are prepared to seal up the holes, then you might as well seal all but one hole, then do a trapout (to collect and move the bees to a hive), THEN seal up the final hole.
 

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rader, look at the tree and then explain which hole you want him to seal up.
 
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