Bee Infestation in a Garden

Wild bee hive (via Wikimedia Commona, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Bee infestations in a garden can be a serious issue for many homeowners. These infestations can occur when bees decide to build their nests in or around a person’s garden, leading to a significant increase in the number of bees in the area. This can be a problem for those who are allergic to bees, as well as for those who simply don’t want bees in their garden.


  • Seeing bees flying in and out of a specific area in the garden, such as a hole in the ground, a hollow tree, or an old shed.
  • Finding large clusters of bees on flowers, trees or other plants in the garden.
  • Seeing bees crawling on the exterior of a building or structure in the garden.
  • Observing bees constructing a hive or nest in the garden.
  • Finding dead bees or bee parts around the garden.
  • Seeing bees collecting pollen or nectar from flowers in the garden.
  • Finding honey or wax residue around the garden.
  • Observing an increase in the number of bees visiting the garden during the day or night.
  • Finding bee stings on yourself or other people in the garden.
  • Experiencing allergic reactions such as hives, itching, and swelling on the skin after bee stings.
  • In severe cases, bees may become aggressive and attack humans or pets in the garden.

It’s important to note that not all of these symptoms need to be present for an infestation to occur, and different species of bees may exhibit different symptoms. If you suspect you have a bee infestation in your garden, it’s best to contact a professional for proper identification and removal.

What is a Bee

A bee is a flying insect that belongs to the order Hymenoptera and the superfamily Apoidea. There are many different species of bees, but in general, they have certain physical characteristics that are common to most bees. Here are some specific details on what a bee looks like:

  • Body: A bee’s body is generally small and fuzzy, covered in hair. The hair on a bee’s body serves as a way to collect and transport pollen. The body is divided into three segments: the head, thorax, and abdomen.
  • Head: The head of a bee is relatively small and contains the eyes, antennae, and mouthparts. A bee has three simple eyes and two compound eyes, which help it navigate and find food. The antennae are used to sense the environment and detect chemicals, such as the scent of flowers. The mouthparts are used for biting, chewing, and lapping up nectar.
  • Thorax: The thorax is the middle segment of the bee’s body and contains the wings and legs. A bee has two wings and six legs, which are used for flying and walking. The wings are transparent and are used for flying, while the legs are used for walking and collecting pollen.
  • Abdomen: The abdomen is the last segment of the bee’s body and contains the reproductive organs and the stingers. The abdomen is usually pointed and can be black or yellow in color.
  • Color: The color of a bee can vary depending on the species, but most bees have a combination of black and yellow stripes, which can act as a warning signal to predators. Some species of bees, such as carpenter bees, are solid black or brown in color.

It’s important to note that not all bees are the same, there are around 20,000 species of bees worldwide, and they can vary in size, color, and shape depending on the species. Also, many bees look similar to wasps and hornets, but they can be distinguished by their hairy bodies and their behavior.

Treating a Bee Infestation

It may be necessary to use a combination of methods to effectively treat a bee infestation in a garden. For example, a professional beekeeper may remove the bees and their hive, but then the homeowner may need to use physical barriers or natural repellents to prevent the bees from returning to the same location. It also depends on the type of bees and the severity of the infestation, a professional will be able to give you the best advice on how to proceed.

Professional Removal

  • Before a professional beekeeper or exterminator begins the removal process, they will first assess the situation and determine the type of bees present, and the location of the hive.
  • They will then use protective gear such as bee suits, gloves, and veil to protect themselves from stings.
  • Once the bees and hive are removed, the professional will clean the area to remove any remaining bees or honeycomb.
  • In some cases, it is possible for the bees to be relocated to a new location, such as an apiary or a bee farm, where they can continue to pollinate and produce honey.

Chemical Control

  • Chemical control should only be used as a last resort and only by a professional with proper training and equipment.
  • Pesticides and insecticides can be harmful to other beneficial insects and animals in the garden, as well as to humans and pets if not used properly.
  • Products such as dusts, sprays, and baits can be used to kill bees, but they must be applied according to the label instructions and with the appropriate personal protective equipment.

Physical Barriers

  • Physical barriers such as screens, netting, or caulk can be used to block bees from entering the garden or a specific area.
  • Screens and netting can be placed over windows, doors, or vents to prevent bees from entering the house.
  • Caulk can be used to seal cracks and gaps in walls, foundations, or eaves to prevent bees from entering the house.

Natural Repellents

  • Natural repellents such as essential oils, soaps, or vinegar can be used to discourage bees from entering the garden.
  • Essential oils such as citronella, peppermint, or lemongrass can be used to create a repellent spray.
  • A solution of water and dish soap can be sprayed on bees to suffocate them.
  • A mixture of water and vinegar can be sprayed on bees to repel them.

Non-Professional Removal

Non-professional removal of bees should be approached with caution, as bees can be dangerous and protective of their hive. It is also important to note that certain species of bees, such as honeybees, are important pollinators and their populations are in decline. Therefore, it is important to first identify the type of bee and determine if it is a protected species before attempting to remove them. If it is a protected species, it’s best to contact a professional for safe removal.

If non-professional removal is deemed necessary, the following steps and considerations should be taken:


  • Always wear protective gear such as a bee suit, gloves, and veil to protect yourself from stings.
  • Have a plan of escape in case things go wrong, and always have a way to call for help in case of an emergency.

Identify the type of bee

  • Bees come in different types, sizes, and colors. Identifying the type of bee is important as it will help determine the best course of action.

Locate the hive

  • Bees usually build their hives in hidden areas such as attics, walls, or underground. Finding the location of the hive is important as it will help determine the best method of removal.

Time of day

  • Bees are most active during the day and are less aggressive at night. It is best to attempt removal at night when the bees are less active.

Use of smoke

  • Smoke can be used to calm the bees and make them less aggressive. A smoky fire, such as a campfire, can be used to create a smoke barrier.

Removal of the hive

  • Once the bees and hive have been located, they can be removed using a vacuum or a hive tool. The vacuum should be used with caution to avoid injuring the bees.

Seal the entry point

  • Once the bees and hive have been removed, the entry point should be sealed to prevent the bees from returning.

It’s important to note that non-professional removal may not be successful and bees may return. In such cases, it’s better to contact a professional for help. Additionally, it’s important to understand that some bees are protected species, it’s important to check with local experts or authorities before attempting to remove them.