Bee Wrangling and Other Problem Solving Techniques
Bee-yond the unbee-lievable. When the unexpected strikes hard, call in the true experts.
A bee in your bonnet.
A bee in your britches.
Take your pick.
Either is better than several dozen bees in your kitchen.
Yup, that’s what I came home to from a recent trip. My husband is allergic to bees, wasps, etc., so it was up to me to get rid of them. Lucky guy. A fun time for me.
The big questions we wrestled with afterwards were:
How the heck did they get IN?!
Is there (gulp) a hive in our house, the walls, the floor joists?
Or was this just a scouting party?
It was high time to call in the experts.
Now there are two types of "experts":
The honest-to-goodness true expert who specializes in this sort of thing. Like a real beekeeper.
The so-called expert who comes in, looks around, Googles around on his phone, and then announces he'll have to take out part of our kitchen to look around for the hive that is ... somewhere. Oh, and his company doesn't repair anything afterwards.
Uh huh. There's the door, bub. That was an easy decision. We went with the expert who already had the right diagnostic equipment with him to precisely locate the hive, if one was determined to exist. And his company promised minimal, if any, damage to our home with a contractual obligation to repair anything that might get damaged in the process.
Fortunately, the several dozen bees in our kitchen appeared to have been a scouting party. Evidently, our home failed to gain bee approval.
We were never so happy to fail a test.
It goes to show that when you have a problem and you want it handled right, you go about it the smart way.
Don't mess around with amateurs. Hire the right person to get the job done right the first time.
Step 1: Do your research
Avoid unnecessary problems - and hiring unqualified so-called "experts" - by taking a little time to do some basic research. No wonder the rube was Googling on his phone. The internet contains a wealth of information.
There's no reason why you can't do the same. Negotiate a resolution from a position of strength.
Learn as much as you can about the situation BEFORE calling in anyone to do the job. Or even before you try to remedy it yourself.
Note: don't try to remove a bee hive yourself, that is, if you can find it. More likely than not, if you don't know what you're doing, you'll only get yourself stung twelve ways or more to Sunday. If you don't know what that old euphemism means, pray that you're not allergic to bee stings!
Research the problem and possible solutions. That's how we learned the difference between an active bee environment and a scouting party. We also learned about the behaviors of honeybees (which we had) versus the more aggressive Yellowjacket. We also learned to check for other hive-building bee behavior outside, unknown damage to the house that could provide entry and exit points to our house, and the type of bee we were dealing with.
Step 2: The right people for the job
Make sure you research experts who can and will complete the project expeditiously. And do it right the first time. That goes for pest control pros, tax accountants, and voice actors (hey, I had to throw it in there!).
Hopefully, you're not dealing with an emergency that can brook no delay. We weren't happy that we had bees in the house - which we were afraid could return at any moment - but we weren't about to make an expensive mistake either. And honestly, it doesn't take too long to Google and find what you need. Take the shortcut and go the cheap route, if you must, but don't be surprised if you end up with more problems afterwards that cost even more time and money to fix.
We were lucky to find a few nearby companies with experienced beekeepers on their pest removal staff. One came out the following day to assess the situation. From the dead bees found, he'd determined that they were scouts, because they had no pollen on them. And the intense buzzing along the roof of our house was gone. Evidently, the bees were off to find another possible home, leaving our home thankfully free from their intrusion.
Whew. That was close.
The internet contains a wealth of information. Negotiate a resolution from a position of strength.
Step 3: An ounce of prevention is ALWAYS worth a pound of cure
The point of this story goes beyond "finding the right person for the job." It also serves to remind us to check for cracks in our homes - and in our business models, projects, or whatever else we're working on - BEFORE problems show up.
Prevention is part of doing things right the first time. Being proactive and anticipating problems helps us forestall many of them from occurring.
That could mean keeping organized, easy to access records. Checking for loopholes in legal codes ... or in return policies. And making sure that there's no unwanted entry to your home made by bugs, animals, or sheer accidents of nature, even if it's hard to see some of the higher, more out-of-reach areas.
Ol' Ben Franklin knew a thing or two about avoiding problems.
Laura's Quick Tips
Got a problem? Research it before calling in any ol' Tom, Dick, or Harry. Or Lucy, Ethel, or Marge. (I made that last one up.)
Do things right the first time. It might cost more, but bring in a real expert to get the job done. It saves you money and aggravation in the end.
Be proactive and anticipate problems before they occur. Think ahead for loopholes, resolve known issues before they become bigger and more expensive to fix.
I hope you never have to deal with home intruders, human or insect. But if you see bees where they definitely don't belong, know that it's not uncommon for bees to build hives in your walls, along floor joists, or near vents in your home, like for chimneys and cooktop range hoods.
Here's how I ushered them outside without killing them or getting myself stung in the process. (My husband is conveniently allergic to wasp and hornet stings, so he stayed safely away. Lucky guy. Even if he does have his epipens handy.) I used a long-poled feather duster, the type you'd use to reach very tall shelves, to very gently sweep the bees one at a time through an open door. The feathery end was soft and easy to entrap the bees, and I was able to shake them loose once I positioned the duster outside. I hope those little pollinators show some gratitude by pollinating the flowers in my vegetable garden on their way to freedom.
The good thing to know is that bees do not return to build a new hive in a formerly used location. Or even (I hope) to a site that their scouts deemed unsuitable. Their hive minds seem to learn from their mistakes fairly quickly.
But still, invest in a long-poled feather duster, just to be on the safe side.