The False Respect Bees Get

It is amazing how little true respect bees get when it comes to having them removed from somewhere.

You may or may not be stunned when you find out how many people are only interested in saving bees as long as they don’t have to pay for it.  This is especially true of people in the real estate and property management fields.

As a professional pest management service provider,  I get calls all the time to get rid of everything from carpenter ants to mice to roaches and fleas.   I also get calls to remove wasp nests, yellow jackets and bees.

It’s interesting though that for every removal I get called for, it is only when the “suspects” are bees that a question of paying for the service is questioned.

Usually, the reason is stated as “I thought bees were valuable, that someone wants them.”  Of course, they don’t stop to think that just because they are honey bees doesn’t always mean they are desired.

If the bees are especially “hot” or highly defensive, not many beekeepers will want them.

If the bees have been sprayed with a poison recently not a lot, if any, beekeepers will want them.

Bees aren’t guaranteed to survive a “cut-out” as a live removal from a tree or wall is called.  There are plenty of times that stress from the procedure, damage to or killing of the queen and a number of other things can cause the bees to die.

There is quite a bit of work that is involved in a properly done cut out.  Not only do the bees themselves get removed, but the whole nest should be removed as well.  If the wax comb with honey is left in the wall of a house, that can melt with high temperatures and the resulting flow of wax/honey down the wall can cause rot of drywall, stain the wall, and leave a horrible odor.

The cost to repair that damage can be twice or more expensive than the cost of having the bee nest removed properly in the first place.

Some amateur beekeepers often will do a removal for “free” because they think they are getting “free” bees.  Typically, their enthusiasm for this lasts as long as the first difficult removal.  Once they realize the cost of the tools and time from their regular schedule, and the level of difficulty, they realize those bees aren’t so “free” after all.

Some people will continue to do live removals after that, but they will limit the level of difficulty and location of the colony for them to do it.

If the hive is in an undesirable location, like high up requiring a ladder or scaffolding, near brickwork or other difficult to work around materials, they will just tell you no thanks.  you know why?  Because they know that even if the bees did stay alive and were not poisoned, doing a live removal can be a lot of work.

Do you have a job?  Would you go do your job, say sell houses, or fix cars for just anyone off the street for free just because they don’t want to pay because they think someone who does that work will “want” to have the privilege of the experience?

“Hey, why don’t you come sell this house for me.   I won’t pay to have it sold, but  I figure it was designed by Joe Shmoe so you’ll get all the prestige of telling people you sold one of his houses.”  maybe you will get prestige, maybe you won’t.  Will that potential prestige make up for all the work needed to make that rat trap the owner let it become worth it?  Probably not.

No, you probably won’t work for free.  you have financial obligations too, like everyone else.  You became a “specialist” in the field you are in because you don’t just “sorta” do that work, you do it professionally and in much more knowledgeable and detailed ways.

But, let’s even forget the person who does the removal for a minute.  Let’s get right back to the bees themselves.

It’s amazing how many times I have had people tell me “I want to have the bees removed alive if I can.  I know they’re having trouble.”  To which I reply, ” Yes Sir, you are right.  The best estimate I can give you for this removal will be $x.xx.”  And the person who asked me to come out and look the situation over, replies with, “You’re going to charge me for this?   I thought people wanted these bees.  Well, if I have to pay I might as well just spray them myself.”

Yep, more times than I can keep track of, these “concerned” bee saviours are only willing to save bees if they don’t have to pay for it.  If money is involved, well then, the bees can suddenly just die.

Out of curiosity,  I have asked them if they had called me out to get rid of carpenter bees, or yellow jackets or termites or some such other “pest”, would they refuse to pay for that service.  Again, almost every time, they say of course they would pay.

But for our honey bees, they are only worth saving, if they are saved for free. Nevermind the need to have these bees to pollinate their flowering trees and gardens.  Nevermind the health value of the honey and propolis they make.

Nevermind the damage an un-inhabited bee nest can do if the bees are just killed in a wall.

If you have honey bees that you don’t want to share your house, garage, or yard with, we would love it if you would consider having the bees and the nest properly removed.

A properly removed bee colony might be able to be kept alive and benefit the whole community.  Even if the bees aren’t able to be kept alive, a properly removed bee nest can save your property from expensive damage down the road.

At the end of all this, all I ask is to have a little more respect for the bees and those who try to keep them alive.

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