How To Get Rid of Bees: By Type of Bee, Bee Hive Removal (When To Call Pros)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Pest Control | February 26, 2024

Bee hive and trap with a box as person wonders how to get rid of bees and bee exterminator options, including natural bee removal, and how much bee nest removal cost and bee hive removal for various types of bees.

If you own a home, you may have wondered how to get rid of bees, specifically a beehive, if one happens to have been built near doorways or in the structure itself.

Technically speaking, bees are generally harmless. Bees only attack and sting when they feel threatened, whether done wittingly or unwittingly.

In the same way that you would need to remove an infestation of rodents, termites, raccoons, or other pests, you should learn how to get rid of bees safely.

Additionally, you should also understand when it is safe to employ removal methods yourself, or when you should definitely call in an expert to do so.

How To Get Rid of Bees: Common Solutions

If you want to know how to get rid of bees, you can use controlled smoke from a fire as a dispersal method and some natural spray irritants that you can create with some natural ingredients.

This guide explains which types of bees are dangerous and how you can coexist with these important members of the ecology of any area.

Graphic showing how to get rid of a beehive without killing the bees when trying to learn how to get rid of bees with various methods.

If you don’t feel an immediate danger from the types of bees you come across, taking action might not be necessary.

Although the bee is not the only pollinator in nature, the existence of most of the foods humanity takes for granted depends on the continued existence of bees.

The bee is solely responsible for over 130 distinct American agricultural crops that require its pollination abilities to exist.1 If the bee did not exist, a lot of your favorite foods would just disappear.

Over 80% of the global supply of almonds is solely produced in the state of California.2

Virtually 100% of the almond supplies in the United States are produced in California. However, if not for the bee, almonds would virtually disappear overnight.

Although almond crops can be commercially pollinated by numerous other kinds of insects and bugs, the Almond industry heavily relies on bees. Over 1.4 million bees have to be rented and brought into California by professional beekeepers and apiary companies throughout the country every year for the almond season.3

Without the beneficial pollination powers of bees in nature, onions, coffee beans, apricots, peaches, apples, limes, cherries, lemons, plums, avocados, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, elderberries, raspberries, many kinds of beans and legumes, grapes, beets, tomatoes, and hundreds of other kinds of fruit and vegetables would disappear from the Earth.3

Honey Bee

(Apis mellifera)

Honey bee in an oval frame on a green background.
  • Description: Stinging, flying insect
  • Natural Habitat: Southeast Asia
  • Locations: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Australia

There are over 20,000 species of bee and they have probably existed for well over 124 million years.4 Unprocessed raw honey will last indefinitely if you store it in airtight receptacles; additionally, the bee is actually an edible insect that can be safely eaten with the stinger removed.

The bee has been a useful pollinator and source of food for humans for over 124 million years.

You should never panic or attempt to touch a bee if you see one. Bees are efficient pollinators that will only benefit the health of a home garden.

However, bees mainly get a bad reputation for being hostile, attacking and stinging humans, and being overall pests. While this is not always the case, as a homeowner, the time may come when you need to know how to get rid of bees safely and efficiently like any other pests.

How To Get Rid of Bees (If Necessary)

While bees can be dangerous, they are only dangerous if they sense a nearby threat. In fact, some scientists believe that the bee is in danger of becoming an endangered species since over two-thirds of bee colonies have disappeared since the 1940s.5

Bees are basically harmless unless they are provoked to attack, believe their colony or hive is threatened, or misperceive humans as a threat.6 Only about two out of every 1,000 people have an allergy to bee venom that could potentially result in death after being stung.7

In fact, unless you have a severe, but rare allergy to bee venom and could go into anaphylactic shock after being stung, the typical human being could survive being stung 1,000 times by a swarm of bees.8

While no one is suggesting that you or anyone in your family should endure 1,000 bee stings, the point is that you should not panic whenever you see a bee. Bees are beneficial to the environment, your local ecology and gardens, and the global supply of crops.

With all of that being said, here is what you must know about how to get rid of bees if you deem such an action to be necessary. First and foremost, you need to assess if any action needs to be taken.

Initial Bee Hive Removal Tips

Before you learn how to get rid of bees safely, you must first ask yourself if the juice is worth the squeeze, to borrow a phrase. In other words, you should contemplate whether you should bother trying to remove a beehive you come across and whether you can do so safely.

One thing you must understand is that even if you call a professional exterminator or a beekeeper to remove the bees, they are not going to “kill” the bees. They will try to corral them, remove them, collect them in artificial hives, and then release them somewhere else where they can act as pollinators.

Unless you sense an imminent threat, you may not need to do anything.

Are the Bees Non-Threatening?

Is there anyone in your family who has a life-threatening allergy to bees? Have you noticed a bee hive or bee colony mass structure growing somewhere on your house’s exterior or on a nearby tree?

Have you noticed swarming bees on your property recently? Do you feel threatened by any bee activity on your property?

A close-up of a bee nest showing honeycomb patterns, with portions appearing weathered and torn.

(Image: yiyiphotos22)

Bees are an integral part of the planet’s ecology and invaluable pollinators to nature.

The pollination activities of bees generate over $20 billion annually for the American economy and well over half a trillion globally.9 The flowers, fruits, and veggies in your garden bloom because of bees.

You may be surrounded by bees all the time and not notice, so ask yourself if it is worth the hassle to remove them.

Contact Your Local Municipal Authorities

Check the websites of your local municipal government or call a local office to inquire about bee removal services. If you have a bee colony growing in your tree or near public property then it may be your local government’s responsibility to remove them, depending on local laws.

Even if the bee hive is growing on your house or on your land, it may be a good idea to contact your local government first and check your options.

Identify the Bees if Possible via Photo

Try to take a photo or short video of any bee hive or colony mass growing on your property, much like you would with tiny house bugs pictures and names, to aid any beekeepers or exterminators you potentially hire. Do it in a safe manner.

Some bee species, like the Honey bee, build their nests in trees, fence posts, or rotting cavities on the exterior walls of homes. Bumblebees and Carpenter bees, which are bee species that are solitary and don’t generally live in hives, build nests in the ground, compost piles, or burrow into rotted openings or cracks in wood on the sides of homes.

Recognizing them specifically requires ground nesting bees identification knowledge.

Barely 10 percent of bee species actually live in the traditional beehive structures popularized in popular entertainment.4 Getting a good photo or video of the problem can help a professional efficiently remove the bees.

Considering there are tens of thousands of bee species, including the black and white bee, certain removal techniques are best suited for specific species.

Consider the Dangers and Potential Litigation

If you have never handled a mass of stinging and swarming bees then you should consider getting a professional to do it.

You risk harming yourself and anyone around you by trying to learn how to get rid of bees if you are a novice.

Bees fly in a cluster against a blurred green background, showcasing their mid-air movement and activity.

(Image: ncsmnd22)

If you find a removal method that benefits you, that’s great, but you might also unwittingly encourage the bees you just removed to swarm and attack your neighbor or an innocent bystander who walks past your house. You might open yourself up to potential litigation by embarking on novice bee removal activities.

If you are determined to learn how to get rid of bees on your own terms then at least consult with a nearby beekeeping professional and get some tips. It is also a good idea to have a beekeeper on your side as you work; many beekeepers perform such services for free.

How To Get Rid of Bees Without Killing Them

There are several methods on how to get rid of bees, but not many without killing them unless you are a professional beekeeper.

Firstly, invest in a beekeeper’s outfit along with the bonnet veil and gloves. If you insist on performing such activities then you should protect yourself fully from any potential swarm attacks.

Secondly, proactively develop a plan of escape in case trouble occurs. Have an unlocked vehicle or door to your home available in case you need to make a quick getaway.

Also, keep in mind that these methods are optimal for removing bee colonies that are living in hive structures that are out in the open.

How To Get Rid of a Beehive Without Killing the Bees

Here are some of the ways to get rid of beehives without killing them.

Smoke Them Out

Bees communicate via the sensing of pheromone signals. Smoke causes bees to freak out and prepare to vacate their hive.10

Smoke plumes mask bee pheromones so that they can’t communicate with each other, they make the bees think they are in danger, and they cause the bees to gorge on any honey in the hive in case they need a long journey to find a new home.

You will recognize this method if you have ever seen a beekeeper on a documentary corralling bees from a hive and using a smoker to entice them into an artificial hive.

You can start a fire on your trash bin with a barbecue smoker or a metal barrel. Fill the receptacle a third of the way with cardboard and wood scraps and lit on fire.

A bee smoker, with a silver body and yellow airbag, rests on top of a metal surface with bee boxes in the background.

(Image: mekischc22)

Make sure that the flames do not extend over the edges of the receptacle and place it under the beehive.

Never leave such a fire unattended. The smoke should entice the bees to leave.

Bee Vacuum

A bee vacuum is exactly what it sounds like.11 A bee vacuum is a modified vacuum cleaner device on a low-power setting that is designed to vacuum up bee colonies into a receptacle box humanely and without killing them.

If you will go to the trouble of renting a bee vacuum then you should also work under the guidance of a professional beekeeper. If you don’t know what you are doing you might release more bees than you vacuum.

Even if you are successful at vacuuming away all of the bees, what next? Work with a beekeeper who can consult you and take away the box of bees you just collected.

Consulting a beekeeping expert is a great idea if you need to learn how to get rid of bees because removal methods can vary according to the species of the bees in question.

How To Get Rid of Bumble Bees

The Bumble bee, also written as “Bumblebee”, can be classified into over 250 distinct species, live in smaller colonies or even solitary existences, and does not make honey or wax.12 Bumble bees are supreme pollinators and are vital for crucial pollination activities in local ecologies.

The Bumble bee has a larger and rounder body than a Honey bee and has distinctive fuzz and yellow and black colors on its body. All female Bumble bees are fertile but only the queen is fertile in a Honey bee colony.

You are more likely to find Bumble bee colony nests in an underground nest in your lawn, under a rock with a cavity, abandoned rodent cavities, or exposed wall cavities.

Many species of bee, like the Bumble bee, are also called “ground bees” since you are more likely to find them nesting in the ground.

How To Get Rid of Ground Bees

Bumble bees abhor the sunlight when at home in the ground, so regularly mow your lawn, remove weeds, and check under all landscape rocks. They may move away if you remove the sun cover to their underground nests.

Identify and fill in any bee nest holes you find with soil and firmly pack the soil. Ground bees will either die after being buried alive or move away after being denied access.

You can also completely soak the area of soil where you believe the nest may be located. It will take several days, but the Bumble bees will either go away or drown.

Does vinegar kill bees? Bees are very sensitive to smell and communicate via pheromone reaction, so using vinegar with a high acidity content might kill them but is more likely to just annoy them due to the smell.

Spraying an equal mixture of vinegar and water should annoy the bees into leaving due to the pungent smell.

Spraying an equal mixture of liquid soap and water on the ground will severely dehydrate the bees and kill them. It will take days or weeks for this method to work depending on the severity of the problem.

How To Get Rid of Honey Bees

The Honey bee has eight distinct species, probably originated in Southeast Asia millennia ago, and are vital to humanity for their honey production and pollination.13

When you think of the bee in your mind, you are probably imagining the Honey bee.

A close-up of a cluster of Honey bees, their golden-brown bodies.

(Image: PollyDot22)

The Honey bee’s body is covered in fuzz and is colored in alternating stripes of yellow and black. Honey bees are eusocial, or live in highly regimented and hyper-organized collectives, live in hives and work in service for one fertile Queen bee in their hive.

While there are many species of bees that can sting you multiple times, Honey bee drones die after stinging people because their stinger is barbed and stays inside the puncture site until removed. The Honey bee will disembowel itself and die as it separates its body and tears it away from the embedded stinger.

Honey Bee Removal Tips

You can use the vinegar or liquid soap and water mixture spray to remove Honey bee colonies but you must be careful. Honey bees will sting in swarms when antagonized.

Additionally, Honey bee colonies and hives are more likely to form in a tree, on a fence, on a corner crevice of an exterior wall, or on a roof and not underground like with Ground bees. Honey bees are likely to sense your approach and swarm if you approach a hive without knowing what you are doing.

So, you may have to use some lethal methods to remove Honey bees while protecting yourself.

What Kills Bees Instantly?

You can spray a mixture of water and liquid soap gingerly on the hive and around the hive. The mixture will make the bees unable to fly, disoriented, and more likely to drown.

Never use a hose, always use a spray bottle to simulate heavy rain, and monitor the behavior of the bees as you do it.

Does Borax Kill Bees?

Borax is a toxic mineral salt that is used in chemical manufacturing, as a cleaning agent, and as a pesticide.14 Using borax will probably kill the bees causing you a headache, but this solution could also accidentally poison the local ecology.

Mix equal parts borax with sugar and place in a bucket with a grate that has openings in it that allow insects to go in and out but deter pets and animals. Place the borax and sugar bucket near the hive.

Bees are eusocial, meaning they live by a regimented caste system of organization. Honey bees equally share food in the hive and will bring the borax and sugar mix into the hive.

It might take several days, but the borax will kill the bees.

Unfortunately, the borax will also kill any other pollinator insect in the vicinity. Bees could also spread the poison to other nearby hives or flowers and kill other pollinators in the vicinity.

When Is the Best Time To Kill Bees?

Almost all bee species are diurnal, meaning they only fly and operate when the sun is out. If you plan to use the liquid soap and water spray or borax and sugar method then do it at night.

Bees usually settle into their hives during the night and won’t be as alert as during the daytime, though you should always use caution when trying to remove them.

What Will a Bee Exterminator Do?

A bee exterminator will assess your property, and the source of the bee colony, and identify the type of bees infesting your property.

Unless you ask them not to do so, bee exterminators will kill the bees.

A dead bee due to pesticide exposure lies on a textured surface.

(Image: rostichep22)

Bee exterminators will spray a dust-based pesticide into the hives or colonies of the bee. This process could require multiple treatments over time to be successful.

If you want to know how to get rid of wasp nests or how to get rid of yellow jacket nests then always contact a professional exterminator. These stinging insect species are much more aggressive than bees when they swarm.

When To Call Exterminator for Bees

You should call a bee exterminator if you feel endangered by bee swarms on your property.

If someone in your family has bee venom allergies or if you notice large bee swarm activity on your property often, then you should consider calling an exterminator sooner rather than later.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire Professional Bee Nest and Bee Removal Services?

Always compare your local exterminator prices before picking one. How much you ultimately pay for a bee exterminator depends on the severity of your infestation problem and the type of bees that must be removed.

The typical cost of a bee exterminator can range anywhere between $100 to $2,500.15 The average price for premium bee exterminator services is at least $450.

In Which Situations Would a Bee Nest Removal Cost Thousands?

Carpenter bees have bodies that are more slender than Bumble or Honey bees, have little to no fuzz, and have almost a metallic sheen aesthetic to their bodies.16 Carpenter bees sometimes live in the ground, but they derive their namesake from the fact the insect burrows and lives in dead wood or in the wooden parts of a home.

If a bee exterminator has to deal with a severe termite-like infestation of Carpenter bees living in the wood of your home, then be prepared to spend thousands.

Additionally, a bee exterminator may have to destroy parts of your home to do their job if the problem is severe enough. So, you may have to pay extra for repairs depending on the severity of the problem.

What Is the Cheapest Bee Nest or Bee Removal Service?

Contact a local beekeeper or beekeeping service for a consultation.

You may have to contact a few services to find the one that suits your needs. But most beekeepers have an intense dedication to their craft and might even remove your bee problem for free or for a modest fee.

A person in protective clothing performing bee nest removal, shaking a tree branch to disperse a swarm of bees in a green field.

(Image: maria-anne22)

A professional beekeeper is trained to remove bees without killing them and then safely reintroduce them in another environment so that they work as pollinators.

Always contact and consult with a beekeeper before paying a bee exterminator.

How To Get Rid of Bees: How To Keep Bees Away

Be proactive when protecting your property from invasive bee swarms and hive development. Inspect the exterior of your home and trees once or twice a month.

Bees are not usually active in cold weather months, but you should be vigilant when the weather heats up.

Repair and seal any cracks or holes you may see in your exterior walls. Aerate your compost heap regularly.

Clean up all of the clutter on your property to prevent their use as a home by bees. And visually inspect your soil regularly to look for signs of underground bee hive entrances.

Consider growing basil, cucumber, mint, geranium, wormwood, pennyroyal, and eucalyptus since these plants are known bee repellents.

Can People Survive Being Stung Hundreds of Times by Bees?

The Africanized bee, also known as the Killer bee, is probably the most dangerous and aggressive be on the planet.18 Once antagonized and angered, Africanized bees will identify a victim, attack in 1,000+ strong swarms, follow the victim for a quarter of a mile or more, and sting the victim mercilessly as if death were the objective.19

However, in early 2023 a 60-year-old man from Arizona was attacked by 1,000 killers, stung over 250 times, and still survived.20

No one is downplaying the severity of bee swarm attacks. But even if you are attacked by a swarm, bad luck, and a bee venom allergy are the major factors required to cause your demise.

How Long Do Bees Live?

The life span of a bee depends on numerous factors like species, environment, and access to food sources. Worker and Drone bees can live anywhere between a few days and up to two months, although drones die after mating with a Queen.21

Depending on the circumstances a Queen bee could live for as long as six years.

Bee stings and bee swarms can be terrifying and potentially deadly; no one is denying those facts. Still, bees are helpful pollinators, sources of honey, and beneficial for the health of plants.

You are probably surrounded by bees daily without noticing and bees are crucial for the health of everything on the planet.

But, with that said, it’s important to learn how to get rid of bees if you notice imminent bee swarms that could threaten the lives of people.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Get Rid of Bees

How Many People Die Annually From Bee Stings?

About 1,100 Americans have collectively died from bee stings from 2000 to 2017.17 About 50 to 100 Americans die annually from bee stings, and most such deaths occur because the victim has a severe allergy to bee venom.

Why Is It Important To Consult a Beekeeper for Bee Removal Tips?

A professional beekeeper can assess the potential danger of removing bees or a bee hive better than you.
Also, consulting a professional beekeeper might help you get rid of the bees for free or cheaper and will know the proper way to keep others around you safe during the removal process.

What Type of Bees Are More Likely To Sting Than Others?

Though only female bees sting, you are more likely to be stung by Carpenter, Bumble, and Honey bee species in the United States. A bee might sting you because you scared it, disturbed it, caused a noise that disturbed it, wore a perfume or scent that activated its pheromone senses or wore bright colors.6


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12Wikipedia. (2023, September 24). Bumblebee. Wikipedia. Retrieved October 23, 2023, from <>

13Wikipedia. (2023, October 21). Honey bee. Wikipedia. Retrieved October 23, 2023, from <>

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15This Old House Reviews Team. (2023, May 11). How Much Does Bee Removal Cost? (2023 Guide). This Old House. Retrieved October 23, 2023, from <>

16Wikipedia. (2023, September 21). Carpenter bee. Wikipedia. Retrieved October 23, 2023, from <>

17Gilmour, J. (2019, August 2). Watch out: Bee sting deaths have been on the rise, CDC data shows. Miami Herald. Retrieved October 23, 2023, from <>

18Wikipedia. (2023, October 2). Africanized bee. Wikipedia. Retrieved October 23, 2023, from <>

19Department of Systematic Biology, National Museum of Natural History, & Smithsonian Institution. (2023). Africanized Bees. Smithsonian. Retrieved October 23, 2023, from <>

20Moore, S. (2023, May 31). Killer bees stung a man 250 times in swarm attack, but he survived. How? Live Science. Retrieved October 23, 2023, from <>

21Buzz About Bees. (2023, October). How Long Do Bees Live? Life Expectancy By Species And Colony Role. Buzz About Bees. Retrieved October 23, 2023, from <>

22Photo of Bees by yiyiphotos, maria-anne, rostichep, ncsmnd, mekischc, and PollyDot. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

23Species Information Image: Black and yellow bee on green leaf Photo by Erik Karits. (2021, August 4) / Unsplash License. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Unsplash. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from <>