Bees in the wild will adopt many strange places as suitable for making a home!
Sometimes this can include the dry, warm, and sheltered cavities in the walls of our homes.
Should the bees take up residence in the walls of your home, how long can the bees remain inside a wall, and how long will they survive if trapped in the wall?
How Long Can Bees Live When Trapped In A Wall?
A bee colony trapped in a wall will only survive for a week or two, depending on the food reserves the bees have accumulated in the wall and the size of the colony. Rather than sealing the bees inside the wall, the homeowner should contact a bee removal expert to safely remove the colony.
Bees sometimes choose the weirdest locations to call their home, and sometimes their choice impacts our lives. Scout bees are typically sent out to find a new and improved hive location once the original home becomes untenable for the colony.
The reason the bees relocate can be the result of continual disturbance of the hive by people (including a beekeeper), animal predators, insects such as ants, or pests such as rodents and hive beetles.
Scout bees will look for warm, dry locations with space for the colony to expand and grow. Occasionally, if the scouts can gain access to your home’s wall cavity, they find this location ticks all the boxes for a new home for the colony.
Signs You Have Bees In Your Walls
Several signs can give you clues that bees may have taken up residence inside your walls. These signs warrant further investigation so you can address the situation before the bee colony becomes a problem for you and your family.
The sooner the homeowner takes action to address the bee problem, the less damage the home will incur.
The following signs indicate you could have bees inside your walls.
- Buzzing noise in your house. Bees fan their wings to regulate the hive’s internal temperature. When the house is quiet, you may hear this buzzing noise from inside the house.
- Dark patches on the walls. Honey and moisture from the bee colony can stain the wall, which can appear as dark patches on the inside or outside of the wall.
- Increased number of bees in your garden. If you notice more bees than usual in your garden, or bees suddenly start bothering you when you sit outside with a sweet, sugary drink, a colony could have moved into your house roof or walls.
- Bees enter a hole in the exterior of your wall. If you notice bees entering a small hole or gap in your exterior wall, this is a sure indicator that a colony has taken up residence in the wall cavity.
Will Bees Die If Trapped In A Wall
Many people will consider their options of how to get rid of the bees in a wall, and one option is simply sealing up the entrance hole in the wall.
This measure will prevent the bees from entering the wall, but it will also trap the bees inside. The bees will eventually die inside, and any larvae still in the comb will also die and begin to rot inside your walls.
Consequently, this action is not recommended, as it can make a large smelly, sticky mess inside the wall cavity that you will need to deal with to prevent further damage to your house.
How Long Do Bees Live Without Food?
Bees typically need daily sustenance in the form of honey for energy and pollen or bee bread for protein and other enzymes.
A bee deprived of food will not survive for longer than a day or two, depending on how active the bee is in burning its energy reserves. This activity is why a bee that flies into your house and is trapped for the night will usually be dead by the morning.
The bee will expend all its energy continuously flying around, looking for a way to exit, or attracted to the lights in the house. The energy-sapping activity with no sustenance will result in the bee dying by morning.
So How Long Do Bees Live If Trapped Inside A Wall?
The time that bees will survive if trapped in a wall will depend on the stores of food the bees have gathered.
If the bees are well established, they could have enough reserves in the comb to sustain the colony for a while. The rate at which the colony will deplete the reserves will depend on how many bees and brood are trapped in the wall.
The colony could survive for a week, or possibly a maximum of two weeks if trapped inside the wall.
However, the trapped bees will walk around inside the cavity looking for a way out, and if they find an exit into the living space of your house, your problem may be intensified.
What Happens If You Leave A Beehive In A Wall?
A beehive abandoned by a colony will not have any brood or much honey left in the comb. The colony will consume the honey reserves before their departure as energy for the flight to their new home.
The comb left inside the wall can melt, and residual honey and melted wax can stain walls and sidings and even cause problems for electrical outlets in the wall.
Bees trapped in the wall will produce a greater mess due to the bee corpses and the brood that dies and rots in the comb.
Any bee comb, residual honey, and propolis left inside the wall will act as an attractant for the next colony looking for a comfortable hive location!
If the wall is not properly sealed from the outside, a new colony could find its way into the wall in the next swarming season.
How To Get Rid Of Bees In A Wall
Bees in a wall should not be left in this location, but there is a wrong and a right way to do this job properly.
Several safe methods for the homeowner and the bees can be used to remove and relocate the colony. These techniques require specialized knowledge and equipment to ensure a successful bee removal.
Many beekeepers have the knowledge required to safely remove bees from undesirable locations and offer this service to their community. You should never attempt a bee colony removal if you do not have the skillset or the right equipment.
Each colony in a wall will require evaluation as to the best technique for removal. A trap-out can sometimes be used to allow the bees to exit into a separate beehive via a one-way bee entry device.
Eventually, the queen will also come out of the wall cavity. The colony will be in a new beehive and can be safely taken away. This is a long-term process that can take a week or more to complete. The leftover comb will also need to be removed and the wall sealed.
In other instances, there is no way to remove the bees other than taking the wall apart. A specially constructed bee-vac, (which is a bee vacuum device), is often used in this case to suck up the bees into the container.
The comb is then removed, and the bees are relocated to a more suitable home. The wall will usually need to be reconstructed after this demolition-style removal.
The bee removal expert will usually negotiate with the homeowner regarding the removal and the reconstruction costs.
Bees will not live for more than a week or two if trapped in a wall. Rather than sealing the bees inside and leaving them to die, which can cause more complications for the homeowner, a safe removal by a bee removal expert would be the preferred choice.
This way, the bees are saved to continue playing their pollination and honey production roles in our environment, and the wall cavity can be cleaned properly.