How to Remove and Dispose of a Beehive

Close up view of the working bees on honeycells.

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The task of disposing of a beehive is never an easy one given the fact that honeybees easily respond aggressively to any kind of intrusion. It is therefore wise to contact a professional if you are in doubt about how best to do it. The work requires the necessary equipment backed with know-how and experience. This makes it possible to dispose of a beehive without harming the honeybees. Any beekeeper can however do this if trained on how to do it. We shall cover the safe ways of disposing of beehives. We however recommend that bees be left alone if they have not caused any trouble.

Reasons to Dispose of a Beehive

There is a number of reasons that might warrant the removal of bees or a beehive from a location. These include:

1. Wrong location

We might love the bees but beehives that have been positioned in unwanted locations can pose a serious risk to pets and family members. For such, removal is inevitable. The hive might also be too close to human shelters attracting unwarranted attention to those using strong perfumes, aftershave, perfumes, and deodorants. Strong scents lure bees since they are misled as they perceive these as scents from nectar flowers. This relates to the fact that beekeepers are discouraged from using strong scents during a routine inspection of beehives or while harvesting honey.

2. Allergy to bee venom

Bees can establish their hives next to and even inside homes. There are those that exhibit allergic responses to bee venom and this can sometimes be fatal. Visitors too may also have an allergy to stings and therefore such hives should be removed to guarantee their safety. Any beehives that have been established close to a window or door should be removed since sooner or later the bees will find their way into the house.

3. Damage to structures

Some bees such as carpenter bees can wreak havoc on existing structures. These include carpenter bees that love nesting in holes in wood. A delay to remove them may result in huge replacement costs. They can also cause the collapse of structures. Therefore, such bees should be removed soonest possible.

Disposing of a Beehive Yourself

This is the most difficult choice for those who have not done it before. It however becomes easier through experience. If you have to do it yourself then your first priority is your safety. Never make any assumptions since beehives can go deep into walls, roofs, trees, or even chimneys. You should therefore handle the hive with caution and skill.

The bees should not be disturbed and this means staying calm and not provoking them. Honeybees will never sting until they feel they have been invaded. You should then keep a reasonable distance between yourself and the bees. You should also guarantee the safety of pets and anyone with an allergy to bee stings by keeping them far away from the bees. Young children should be safeguarded from bees as well. The best way to do that is by isolating the area before you embark on bee removal.

It is also important to try to figure out where the bees might have sneaked through to get into your home or compound. That will enable you to keep the bees from escaping and causing more problems somewhere else.

With that said, follow the below steps to remove bees yourself:

1. Wear Safety Gear

You will require a veil and gloves to do the job. This will protect your hands and face. You should also wear comfortable clothing that is perfectly fitted without entry points for the bees. A full-body beekeeper safety gear is highly recommended. Avoid using perfumes or any strong scents when disposing of beehives. You will also need a smoker to calm the bees.

2. Dispose of the beehive

This might mean killing the bees or collecting them for use elsewhere via swarm traps. The second option is ideal especially when you have contacted a local beekeeper to help out. In case honeybees have to be killed, ensure they have been completely cleared to prevent future colonies from re-emerging. The hive should be placed inside a garbage bag for disposal. It should then be thoroughly cleaned using water and soap. Any cracks and openings should also be sealed completely to keep off future intruders.

Other Ways to Dispose of a Beehive

1. Make use of Bad Odor

Bees are very sensitive to bad smells. This can save you a lot of time and money when you encounter unwanted beehives in your backyard. The use of bad odor can help remove bees in the most humane manner. You have so many options to choose from including peppermint, garlic, cinnamon, and vinegar.

You can plant peppermint plants within your backyard or around your home as a way of chasing away bees. Cinnamon and garlic are best applied in powder form around your home. You can do that every day for a period of one week for the best results.

Citronella never harms honeybees and can be obtained almost anywhere. The citronella candle when lit for several days next to the beehive or nesting area will clear out the bees. Smoke also works well. Beekeepers use it to lull the bees during hive inspection and honey harvesting. You can also use smoke to chase away bees that have nested in an unwanted area. Smoking out bees works since they will believe there is a forest fire and end up abandoning the beehive. A disclaimer, however, bees exhibit aggressive behavior when smoked. This method thus requires a safe distance from the spot to carry out. 

Mothballs and dryer sheets also make the best materials for generating bad odors that deter honeybees from nesting. You can put these in a breathable sack and place them next to the nesting spot. This should however be a last resort since it produces harmful chemicals that kill bees.

Vinegar spray also works in terms of eliminating bees even though its effects are devastating. A mixture of 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 1 quart of water can be applied directly to a beehive. This will work perfectly on carpenter bees and should be treated as a last resort. It has the effect of suffocating and clogging honeybee wings hence it’s not recommended.

2. Contact a Professional Removal Service or Beekeeper

This is not only the best strategy to embrace but also the safest. It is recommended for those with an allergy to bee venom. Bee stings can be fatal to certain individuals and will cause swelling, difficulty in breathing, vomiting, and even loss of consciousness. You might even die in the worst-case scenario. Therefore, your first action to take is to contact a professional to handle the bees. If the bees are left alone they will rapidly increase in number and this can incur major structural damages over the long run.

Another option would be to contact an experienced beekeeper to do the job. This in most cases is way cheaper than hiring a professional bee remover. Most local beekeepers are willing to help out in disposing of bees. They may in fact add them to their existing stock. They will also share contacts of persons who can do the job in cases where they are unable to do it themselves. You can also contact local farmer’s markets or organizations since they most likely have reliable contacts.

Leave the Beehive Alone

The bee population has declined massively over the last decade and hence the widespread bee conservation efforts. It is therefore only wise that you consider not exterminating them. Bees are beneficial to the environment not only as pollinators but also for their products. If the honeybees have not harmed anyone and are not a bother or threat, then leave them alone.

Avoid the use of traps or insecticide sprays. This harsh treatment is greatly discouraged and most of the insecticides have been banned by EPA making the strategy illegal. The use of traps will also leave behind thousands of angry bees trapped, which is never exciting to watch. It might not also be exhaustive in getting rid of all the bees, posing serious issues later.

In case the beehive has to be removed, then ensure all traces of the hive are completely cleared to avoid other bees in the future. Honey and wax residues not only attract other bees but also animals and insects. Therefore, all leftovers should be cleared and entry points sealed.


Even though it is not always the best choice to dispose of a beehive, circumstances may force you to do so. If that happens, then you should consider employing the most-friendly approach to the bees. You can choose to do it yourself or opt to hire professional bee removers within your locality. We always recommend the safe disposal of unwanted bees since their numbers have been declining over the years. Local beekeepers can always lend a hand when it comes to the safe disposal of bees.

About Michael Simmonds

Michael Simmonds is an American beekeeper with more than two decades of experience in beekeeping. His journey with bees began in his youth, sparking a lifelong passion that led him to start his own apiary at the tender age of 15. Throughout the years, Simmonds has refined his beekeeping skills and has accumulated a wealth of knowledge concerning honeybee biology and behavior. Simmonds' early exposure to beekeeping ignited a fascination with these pollinators, influencing his decision to establish BeeKeepClub in 2016. The website was created with the aim to serve as the ultimate resource for beginners interested in beekeeping. Under Simmonds' guidance, BeeKeepClub provides comprehensive information to novices, including the basics of beekeeping, the different types of bees and hives, the selection of hive locations, and the necessary beekeeping equipment. In addition, the site offers detailed reviews of beekeeping tools to help enthusiasts make informed decisions and get the best value for their investment​​. His contributions to the beekeeping community through BeeKeepClub are substantial, offering both educational content and practical advice. The website covers a wide array of topics, from starting an apiary to harvesting honey, all reflecting Simmonds' extensive experience and passion for the field. Simmonds’ approach is hands-on and educational, focusing on the importance of understanding bees and the environment in which they thrive. His work not only guides beginners through their beekeeping journey but also reflects a commitment to the well-being of bees. Michael Simmonds has dedicated a significant part of his life to bees and beekeeping, and through BeeKeepClub, he has made this knowledge accessible to a broader audience. His work undoubtedly embodies a blend of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in the realm of beekeeping.
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