Bees occur in Tucson and surrounding areas year round however their peak time is spring and early summer. When we talk bees we are specifically talking about Africanized Honeybees. First lets cover a little about the Bees, their biology, and why you may need bee control services in Tucson.
Africanized Bees are an aggressive species that originated from a poorly administered science experiment. Bees are sometimes harmless, however if you are concerned about bees at your house, you should call Gecko Pest for a free consultation with one of our bee control experts. The cross breeding of African Bees and European Bees created the Africanized Bee. This was being done in Brazil in an attempt to optimize honey production in a tropical climate. However when one scientist decided to remove the physical barrier holding the reproductives of the colonies from escaping, the epidemic started, like a zombie movie.
When the queen dies, when a hive reaches a certain maturity point, or for no reason at all an Africanized Bee colony will leave the hive in search of a new nest site. We call this a Swarm. This is usually visible as a cloud of bees flying 5-15 off the ground, sounding almost like a miniature train. These swarms are typically not aggressive at this time unless people start to swat at them. When the swarm lands, they gather into a cluster, we usually encounter this in a tree, the eaves of a house, or even just on a wall. Again they are usually docile at this time. They will wait at this spot while scouts go in search for a suitable area to establish a nest. Once a scout finds an area of interest it will return to the hive to dance. Yes, dance it does a dance around the colony to attract more scouts to check her new found location. If found to be suitable, worker bees will set up a nest and once this nest is established, the colony will escort the queen into the hive. Soon egg laying, brood and honey production starts. Once this starts to happen Africanized bees become much more defensive of the site. When this occurs, you will need to call an expert to see if you need bee removal services.
Now that we understand some of their habits. It is a good time to try and illustrate what Gecko deems as a pest and what it doesn’t.
~ Bees in a swarm have no hive to protect and so they are not aggressive, unless egregiously provoked. They will typically move from this area in 2-3 days. !!!Spraying them with water WILL NOT encourage them to leave!!! But it may encourage them to put you in the hospital. At this time they are not considered a pest and Gecko will not treat these areas. However after 3 days if they still haven’t left they may have decided to make honeycomb, attaching it directly to the branch. This may be hard to spot as the honeycomb will be covered with bees.
~ Bees pollinating in trees are not defensive because they aren’t by their hive. In the spring when everything is blooming its not uncommon for hundreds even thousands of bees to be found in one tree. The sound of them flying around the tree may be intimidating however, they are not defensive or aggressive at this time as they are not around their hive. Bees will not be treated by Gecko and in addition to that Gecko will not spray any trees in an attempt to prevent bees from pollinating in the tree.
~ Once the colony establishes brood and start creating honey, they become quite defensive more so than other species of honey bees. It is at this time that the bees are dangerous to people and animals if the hive is near a house or dwelling. This is the only case in which Gecko eliminates bees.
GECKOS BEE SERVICES
Gecko Pest Management’s bee control service is a three tier system, designed to allow the customer pick exactly how much they want to be involved in the whole process.
1. Gecko treats and eliminates the colony ONLY. It is on the customer to access the area, remove the hive and honey, disinfect and repair.
2. Gecko treats and eliminates the colony. It is on the customer to create access to the area, then Gecko returns removes the hive and honey, then disinfects. After which its on the customer to make or get repairs.
3. Gecko treats and eliminates the colony, creates access, removes hive and honey, disinfects. Then repairs to paint ready condition. !!All access and repairs are made by our licensed contractor DO NOT let anyone cut into your house who isn’t licensed!!
DANGERS OF NOT REMOVING THE HIVE AND HONEY
Below is Gecko’s policy on bee hive removal and honey removal. Before any service you will be asked to sign and date a copy of this policy acknowledging you have received it.
The purpose of this policy is to effectively explain the bee- and hive-removal protocols that Gecko Pest Management
recommends and follows.
– Today, all the honeybees we encounter are recognized as having some “Africanized” bee biology in them. They are
not aggressive, as in it is not their intent to go hurt anyone. They are, however, very proud of their efforts and will
defend their hive if they have one. They won’t stop until the perceived threat is eliminated, and they are very
dangerous if provoked.
– Swarms VS. Hives
Swarms are groups of bees you see flying in a mass together, eventually they land and “ball up” around the Queen to
protect her; this usually occurs on a tree, but sometimes on a wall, on your home, in the yard, even on patio furniture
or play equipment. They are simply resting while scouts are out evaluating the surrounding area for a new home.
These bees do not have a hive to protect, so they are generally not a threat to you. They eventually will move on their
own, in one to two days. We don’t want to kill them in these situations. Patience is the best course of action, and the
bees will usually leave on their own.
Hives form when a swarm moves into a void of your home, property walls, hardscapes, or under sheds, to name a few.
They release pheromones to associate this spot as the “hive” and this can be very dangerous. If not eliminated soon
after their arrival, they will create honeycomb and brood. The bees start filling the honeycomb with honey and “fan”
the honey to prevent it from melting. It is not uncommon to find 5-10 pounds of honey in a few days, and over a
hundred pounds in a few short months. You DO NOT want to eliminate these bees without a plan to deal with the
honey that will inevitably melt, draining down from wherever the hive may be. The melting honey, dead bees, and
brood will attract vermin and other insects, not to mention create mildew on the building materials inside the voids of
It may be considered “expensive” to deal with this problem, however it pales in comparison to the size and complexity
of the problem if left unattended.
It is for this reason Gecko Pest Management recommends a complete bee removal protocol to eliminate the bees AND the hive.
Here are the steps in which this process takes place:
1. Eliminate the bees
2. Create access to the hive
3. Remove the honey, brood, and dead bees
4. Clean, sanitize, and pre-treat the area against future bee intrusion
5. Put the access site back to “paint ready” condition
THE DECLINING HONEYBEE POPULATION
As you may have heard the population of honeybees around the world have been on the decline. A number of different reasons have led to this, bacteria in the gut of the larvae, mites, virus, and by popular belief pesticides. But we wanted to take the time to cover a couple facts that aren’t being explained or discussed.
It is the fact that now, all honeybees encountered in Arizona are considered Africanized. The reason for this is the aggressive invasive nature of the africanized bees. They invade European honeybee colonies, find and kill the queen. They establish their own queen and start breeding three times as much. For this reason they have decimated all European honeybee colonies in the wild. Beekeepers have been dealing with this issue, by killing an Africanized once they see their colony has been taken over. They then replace that queen with a European bee queen and after 1 to 2 months the colony calms down again.
These beekeepers not only make money from honey production but more so from leasing the colonies out to pollinate crops in other parts of the country. An africanized colony is not good for this as they have a tendency to just leave a hive to establish a new nest site, making them hard to keep. They also don’t do well in cooler climates as they can not go very long without foraging. Even though the news reports claim honeybee populations are declining, Arizona is still one of the major exporters of bees for pollination.
Additionally Africanized bees are not native to the Americas, brought here for an experiment gone wrong. Our natural ecosystem in southern Arizona does not depend on them, but instead our natural native pollinators find themselves in competition with Africanizd bees. And actually the same rings true for the European honeybee, brought to the Americas in the 1600s
Lastly when many discuss pesticides they are referring to Neonicotinoids and Phenylpyrazoles, more distinctly, the broad agricultural use of them, not structural use. These chemicals are used in Southern Arizona by structural pest control companies but mainly as termiticides. These are usually buried in the ground or injected under a concrete slab, not in areas frequented by bees. Regardless the structural pest control industry has also been concerned with the honeybee populations so for the past half decade, responsible companies have been adopting policies to help control wind drift and water runoff. Also in the last two years policies specifically to protect pollinators have been implemented. Such as not spraying flowering plants, even when spraying chemicals not loosely linked to Colony Collapse Disorder.
Our methods and materials used to eliminate this invasive species of bees does not have adverse effects on the ecosystem.