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Advice about Bees & Beekeeping

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Advice about Health > Advice about Bees & Beekeeping


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2010 - 2014 Reviews


Active beehive in the walls of my house

July 2014

We have an active bee hive in the house, between the walls. It's in the back of the house maybe 25'-30' off the ground. We talked to a local bee keeper about it and they said they can't relocate a hive that is that high up. So we talked to pest control and they recommend just boarding it up and eventually the queen and the rest will die. That is so awful! I put it off another year and here we are 5-6 years later and the hive is still going strong. For personal safety of my family, I'd like to get this relocated. I don't let the kids play in the backyard in the summer when there are so many bees out and about. I'm also concerned that the weight of the hive may cause some wall damage. I'd love to somehow save this hive. Does anybody have any advice? buzz off


If you haven't already, try speaking with Khaled from Queen of Sheba in Oakland. He cares very much for preserving and relocating bees and he has been able to get them out of very tight spots.
Khaled Almaghafi, fourth generation bee keeper, solved a similar problem for me. I had a giant beehive in the wall of my daughter's bedroom that we could hear vibrating through the wall. My landlord's solution was to poison the lot, which I did not go for, so called Mister Almaghafi. It was quite an educational event! I invited kids and parents over to watch, no one got stung and we got a large jar of honey in the bargain. You can read his YELP page. He is located at 2950 Telegraph Ave, Oakland. His number is (510)-399- 9112. Martha
For bee removal, contact the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association. They have volunteers who will remove bees for a $50 donation. Go to http://www.diablobees.org/swarmlist DC
My friend is a beekeeper and recommends that you contact the Alameda County Beekeeping Association. They probably have a swarm list. . merry
We have a bee hive in our tree and talked to someone about relocating it. Apparently what they do is put a one-way value on the hive so bees can come out but not go back in. Near the original hive, they put a new hive with a new queen and the bees who can't get back into the original hive go into the new one. The process is supposed to take about 6 weeks. I don't know how far away the new hive can be, but maybe you can find someone who can hang it from the roof or build some sort of scaffold to have it high enough that the bees will go to that. Our hive is about 6 feet off the ground and the person we talked to said it would cost about $2000 to remove it. We talked to an arborist who said our tree was fine and the hive wasn't damaging it so we decided to leave it. Bzzzzz
We had this problem . . . twice . . . due to an urban beekeeper who managed to never be home when the bees swarmed. We tried the humane methods of getting the bees out -- tiny metal gates and netting, several beekeepers and their traps, but it was useless. We were told by the beekeepers that if we left them in the walls they would cause structural problems with the house because of other pests that would be attracted to the honey. So we had them exterminated and spent thousands of dollars getting our chimney rebuilt and sealed. We also putting netting up on that part of the house to keep it from happening again. I really hope that community members who decide to keep honeybees make a plan for preventing the bee swarms from establishing themselves in other people's yards, and worse in the walls of these old houses. anon
We had the same issue, bees had burrowed in under an eave at the roof line on the 2nd floor. We called around and talked to a few people, and we ended up having someone come and exterminate the hive, then my husband sealed it up - the honey there in the wall will attract more bees if it's accessible. To relocate a hive, you'd need to locate the queen and try to extract her to move the hive, which you can not do without tearing your wall open, it's just not feasible, especially so high up. Unfortunately, TRULY so unfortunately, you have to exterminate. Sorry Bees, It's My House
In response to a question in this forum sent to me, a beekeeper...... If you board the entrance up, you risk the bees finding another! If they are closed off, you have the smell of decaying bee bodies and lure of honey and bee protein for mice, cockroaches and rodents. The bite-the-bullet, responsible thing to do, is hire a bee extractor who will locate the heart & heat of the hive, isolate it and go into the wall from the inside, take out the bees and honey, hopefully scape off and paints something like Killz Primer over the places where the honeycomb contacted the wood, close up and resurface the interior wall. Good ones are also licensed contractors. Get 3 bids! I hope you will not accept a bid that includes spraying with some toxin that will fume into the house. The children and bees should have no problem in the same yard unless the children swat at the bees. Kids are always the fastest to identify the queen in a hive and make excellent beekeepers. The bees are the sentinels of their future, after all. Friend of the bees
Nothing is impossible, it's really about priorities. The bee keepers mentioned in other responses should help. Need to get up high, ladders or scaffolding... need to get inside walls, careful demolition and dust control. Bees are good & absolutely necessary. I am a carpenter (and former bee-keeper) and willing to assist in some way at a reduced rate for this issue. oren

Where are the bees in my house coming from?

Nov 2013

Almost every day for a week we are finding one or two bees in our dining/living room, usually crawling on one of three big picture windows. I've looked behind and under all the furniture, paintings, etc. for a nest, but nothing. There are 2 floor heating vents, but no sign of bees there. We leave a sliding glass door open sometimes for our dog, but the bees aren't near that door. Any similar stories? Any clue as to where the bees are coming from? Thanks. Bee-fuddled


Have you checked the chimney (if you have one)? It's pretty common for them to set up house in there. Also, if you do find the colony, please have someone come out to remove and relocate them as opposed to killing them - bees are such a precious resource right now. If they're yellow jackets or wasps, nuke 'em. Good luck! Cara

Want to host a beehive in my yard

Oct 2012

I went to a beekeeping class in Menlo Park and heard about beekeepers who will put a hive in your yard and care for the bees themselves. You just get lots of pollinators and no responsibility for upkeep. I would like to find such a person in the Oakland area. Got any suggestions? Dawn


For information about bees, contact the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association. They are a group of volunteer beekeepers. Their website is diablobees.org When you go on their website, there is information about bee and queen suppliers and a list of beekeepers in the area. bee happy

Beekeeping and honey extraction for toddler?

June 2012

My daughter has become fascinated with bees and beekeeping. Does anyone know of a place where she could see honey being extracted? She's riveted by bee books and by honey extraction videos on Youtube. I'd like to follow this curiosity of hers if there is an accessible and safe way to do this.


I'm not sure where you could see honey extraction (I seem to recall there was maybe a food safety reason why too many people can't be involved in the extraction, but I could be wrong about that), but a couple local spots have observable bee colonies, including SF's Randall Museum (www.randallmuseum.org) and Berkeley's Botanical Garden (botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu) Maybe one of the organizations or shops on this page could point you toward extraction observation: http://www.citybees.com/resources.htm. The Alameda County Beekeepers were very nice about helping me arrange a beekeeper visit to our preschool a few years ago. Bee Happy
Are you looking for something like this? http://www.livingsocial.com/cities/1727/deals/368354-2-5-hour-beekeeping-class The webpage said that children must be over 7 years old to participate, but you can ask if a toddler is okay for just observe. Pris

Bee removal recommendations

Oct 2010

Anyone have any experiance with bee hive removal? (Still need to confirm they are bees.) Do it yourself, it so what do you use? Will wasp sprey work? Do you hire someone? Who to hire? What to expect to pay? Thanks Anon


If you've got honeybees, most beekeepers will be very happy to come get them! Local fire departments and sometimes police departments keep a list of beekeepers on file to call when they encounter a swarm. Don't spray them -- let them make honey! (somewhere else) Beelicious
Please verify if your visitors are Bees or not. If they are Bees then a Bee keeper will come for free and take your hive away - you can do a Google search for Bee- keepers I suggest trying Contra-Costa, Marin and Sonoma counties and this will generate a list. We had a wonderful Bee-keeper come and take a new hive that was being built next to our front door. My kids watched the whole process, it was fascinating. Please do not kill Bees with poison, we really need them for the health of our crops and to provide honey. If it is a true Bee-hive then they only swarm when they are moving their Queen and establishing the hive so depending on the location you may find that it is not as scary as you initially thought. We've decided to let the hive formed last week in a hollow tree in our front yard remain. Ilana
There are many backyard beekeepers in the East Bay that may be able to help you with this hive without exterminating it. Colony collapse is a major problem and it would be best for the bees (and us!) if you could get it removed without doing it damage. Contact the Institute of Urban Homesteading in Oakand (510)927-3252. They should be able to point you in the right direction. anon

Removing Bee or wasp nest from skylight

Aug 2010

I have an attic level skylight that is on a sloped roof so at my height. When I opened it recently, I immediately noticed a small nest of what looked like wasps or bees so shut it right away. How do you get rid of a nest in such a location?


I don't see why you need to remove the nest. I would suggest putting a good screen on the skylight, and just letting the wild creatures live. If you feel you must destroy them, hire a professional. I know there are ads for such services on Craigslist.
If the infestation is honey bees, beekeepers can remove the bees without destroying them. You can look for services here: http://www.ebeehoney.com/zCA.html and here: http://beehealthyhoneyshop.com/Bee%20Removal.htm John

We want to start beekeeping

Feb 2010

My family wants to start beekeeping as our spring project. Does anyone know the the city laws on this? I have heard that you need a city permit, but that most people don't do that. Also, what is the best way to get a starter hive that is not too expensive? Natalie


I have been given this information which might be helpful for you and for others wanting to keep bees. I think it's great that people are beginning to adopt sustainable efforts that promote local food and environmental well- being. Thanks for doing that.

''Kensington resident, long-time beekeeper and sustainable grower, David Eichorn, will teach a beekeeping class through the Richmond Adult School. The first class is April 17 and runs for Saturday mornings from 9-12. Anyone who is interested can sign up beginning February 22 through the Richmond Adult School office.'' I've seen beehives for reasonable prices on E-Bay, and there are local beekeeping societies all around. Linda


Classes on beekeeping in the city are given at BioFuel Oasis on the corner of Ashby and Sacramento. They also stock the starter kits; bee boxes and all beekeeping supplies in their urban farm supply store inside the station. I took the class and it was very informative and cheap! ($30 for 3.5 hours) ali
go to the biofuels oasis. Its a gas station on ashby and sacramento. They'll get you started. And read novella carpenter's book Farm City. She works there. -
Please, be cautious about urban beekeeping. We live in central Berkeley. Twice swarms of bees found their way into our walls, and in spite of having two beekeepers come (and a month of bee boxes) we were unable to extract them and had to exterminate them. After the second time we arranged for very expensive repairs to prevent this from happening again. If you live in central/west Berkeley your neighbors live in old houses that have attractive nooks and crannies. Unless you are going to keep watch for swarms, keeping bees can cause major problems for your neighbors. (P.S. after this happened to us, it turned out that two acquaintances in the neighborhood had the same problems with bees finding their way into the structure.) don't like swarms
Just received an email from the Berkeley Fuel Oasis, they are offering ''Urban Gardening'' classes, on of them being Beekeeping. Also, you can look up Beekeeping in the phone book and I believe you will find entries for the Diablo and Alameda clubs/organizations. You may want to look into the different styles of hives. as they supposedly make a significant difference in maintenance. Good luck. Fellow BK wannabe. Ps, no recommendation on any of the above resources. Tim

2005 - 2009 Reviews


Finding carpenter bees around our windows

March 2008

Anybody out there with experience dealing with carpenter bees? For a week or two we have found dead or dying bees (not honeybees or wasps) in and around the wooden window frames of our dear old wood shingle house. I have not been able to find a hole or see them flying around outside. I've found some information online, but it seems impossible to bee-proof a shingle house! Any suggestions? Obviously we want to avoid poisons; I assume these bees are beneficial, like honeybees. Bee queen


I don't have good advice about getting rid of your bees, but I would recommend checking any ceiling lighting fixtures for a place they may be entering your home. I lived in a 1906 Berkeley home for 20 years and bees would find their way into my bedroom through the ceiling light fixture. I would tape up the very small openings around the fixture and they would disappear (probably just hung out in the rafters). Good luck. Linda
I don't have any specific suggestions for removing them, but as far as where they are coming from - I used to live in a victorian with those old wooden-framed windows that opened with a rope/counterweight mechanism. One day when my husband closed the window, the rope was covered in wasps. They were living inside the wall and eating the ropes. If that is the case, you will probably have to call a specialist to get them out. Good Luck

Neighbor's bees are flying into my home

Sept 2007

I rent an apartment in north Oakland and live next door to beekeepers. My problem is that I don't have screens on the windows and at night when they are open and the lights are on, bees fly into my home. This is very annoying because it impedes my full enjoyment of living in my apartment. My landlord is unwilling to install screens and suggested contacting the state vector control. Even if my neighbors are in violation of the law, I don't feel comfortable reporting them, yet I am also resentful of the inconvenience that they are causing me. I would like to know how to handle this and would be grateful for any feedback provided. Anonymous


Do you feel you can approach the neighbors with the problem? Perhaps asking the beekeepers to install screens could solve the problem. Let them know they are coming in your house and you want to be supportive (of their business), but the bees are a hardship for you. There are removable screens that you can use when the window is open - I'm sure you can find them at Home Depot. Maybe not the most attractive things, but will keep them out and you can relax. Good luck. Jnana
As a new beekeeper in Richmond I am acutely aware of the sensitivity issues around bees. I think if someone had an issue with my bees I would want them to come and talk to me and engage me in finding a solution. Perhaps they would be willing to share the cost of screens with you or your landlord (can't believe you landlord won't give you screens!) or some other alternative? As is, there is the issue of allergies to bee stings, but there is also the huge and devastating issue that bees are disappearing and we are losing our pollinators. I started bees this year because, for the first time, I saw there were no bees pollinating my veggie garden and I wanted to help the wider issue. So, I feel like I am doing a community service in a way by having my bees, taking on the strenuous work, large expense, and the bodily risks ( I haven't had my first harvest yet). I would bet your neighbors might feel the same and would be willing to work this out. You might also get some delicious honey out of the bargain. Good luck Jenn
While your landlord is being cheap about not installing screens, for just $5-10 each, you can buy perfectly effective adjustable screens yourself. I use them all over my house. You just open the window, put these in the opening, and voila. You can buy them at places like Orchard Hardware and Home Depot, or online: http://www.amazon.com/MARVIN-MFG-CO-1545-15x25-45Wind/dp/B00004Z13G/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-0728133-0076719?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1188914794&sr=8-1

Maybe if you explain the problem to your beekeeping neighbors, they will pony up for the screens, or at least give you some nice jars of honey, and everyone goes away happy. Becky


I appreciate your searching for a solution that protects you while also proteting the bees and your neighborliness. Most hardware stores have inexpensive adjustable window screens that you fit into the open window. You can also make screens that would work to keep out bees from inexpensive net fabric, perhaps held in place with adhesive velcro attached to the window frame. You can find the net & velcro at any sewing store. Best wishes. Ann
I don't have any legal expertise to offer, but I would suggest talking to your beekeeping neighbors about the issue prior to calling vector control. Perhaps your neighbors would be willing to purchase screens for your windows or split the cost with you. I don't think that garden variety bees are considered vectors. Mark
Well...since you don't want to go to vector control, and I applaud you for that, I would approach the neighbors,tell them your landperson won't spring for the screens and ask if they are willing to...or at least contribute something $$. If they won't, then I would go to someplace like Home Depot, purchase some of the rolled up screen (it's fairly cheap) cut off what you need for each window and tape, tack it, whatever...it may not be pretty, but it will serve the purpose. Also,Home Depot actually makes small screens that expand to the size of your window. I have 2 of them and they work quite well. They cause about 10 dollars each. D
I think the focus should be on getting your landlord to install screens....either that or you may have to go to the expense of doing it yourself.

An old boyfriend used to keep bees in Berkeley a long time ago. It is perfectly legal and actually a good thing to keep bees as it helps pollination, produces honey, keeps them in reasonable ''housing'' so they don't build hives in the eaves of our homes, etc. (fascinating critters, really!)

I agree it's very annoying to have honey bees flying into your home. You might talk to your neighbor and see if he/she has a suggestion or if this has been an issue ever before. Honey bees fly out of their hives in a particular pattern so if they were coming in during the day it MIGHT be possible for him to turn the hive in a different direction...however, you said they are coming in at night. Bees don't tend to fly at night. They stay close to home and are more docile. They are likely drawn to the light (since they fly when it's warmer and light) in the window.

I'd go for getting screens at any cost. Good luck. fan of honey bees


Maybe you should just buy a couple of the insert screens that go into the window temporarily while it's open (URL to sample product below). They are inexpensive and available at most big stores like Longs or Walgreens and you can take them with you if you ever move. You might also want to check with the beekeeper next door about what he/she would suggest to keep bees out of your living space. http://www.amazon.com/Adjustable-Window-Screen-10-45/dp/B00004Z13J/ref=pd_bbs_sr_5/105-5169850-3073233?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1188926507&sr=8-5 -Allergic to bee stings
Adjustable screens can be purchased at Home Depot. They are inexpensive and will keep the bees out. That's the route I would go as I think it will avoid conflict and provide the quickest result. A in Alameda
How about go buy your own screens? I realize this may cost you all of fifty dollars, but it'll solve the problem.
Hi. You have a couple of options, actually. 1), You can talk to your bee-keeping neighbors and explain your situation and emphasize that you don't want to wake up the bees, sort-to- speak, by reporting them as your landlord had suggested, and see if you all can come up to some kind of compromise. Who knows, they may have some screens for your windows?!! You won't know, if you don't ask.

2) It's really your landlord's responsibility to make sure you live in a habitable and comfortable unit. If he chooses not to cooperate, you can take him to the Renter's Board in your area, and take it from there.

3) You can always purchase some screens for your windows. Something is bound to work. Speak up and see how your neighbors can help you. Good luck!! Bee Lover


You sound like such a respectful person. That is kind of you to respect your neighbors. I had an apartment with no screens and I found these adjustable screens at Home Depot. You just slide them open to mount them in the window. They aren't permanent so your landlord cannot object and they are pretty cheap ~$10. Here is a link so you can see what I am talking about: http://hardware.hardwarestore.com/72-156-adjustable-window-screens.aspx Try OSH or Home Depot. Hoping you will be Bee-Free!
Get a quote from screen mobile (see yellow pages) and/or a couple of other broadly accepted screen vendors or installers. Photocopy the quote(s). Speak (before you write a note) with your neighbor and tell them simply and calmly of your concern. Propose a solution (they re-imburse you for the screen and installation). Hopefully that discussion will go well. Try to keep it non-confrontational. You could bring it to a neighborhood - city-sponsored mediator. Try to keep it civil. Anon
Have you considered asking the beekeepers to pay for the screens? Seems friendlier than reporting them to vector control. We have those adjustable slider screens from the hardware store. They're not insect tight, but they would probably keep out curious bees. Good luck! anon
I was immediately drawn to your email because my father is a beekeeper and I've worked with him for many years. I understand how disconcerting it is to have bees flying into your home (although it seems very strange that they would do that unless the beehive is EXTREMELY close to your window). Also, it is completely impossible for bees to fly at night because they can not see - they can only crawl. I know this because beekeepers move bee hives only at night because they can not fly then, only crawl. This is an indisputable fact of nature. Based on your post, here are two suggestions:

1) get the screens installed because if there are bees getting in, it is more than likely that numerous other pesky bugs are getting in too - your landlord should probably have screens on there anyway

2) you might want to consider the possibility (again, I don't know how close the hive is to your window or the exact living situation there) that you have an unrelated nest around the eves or windows of your own house (this may or may not be actual bees - it is extremely common for people to think wasps are bees. I just recently had an argument with my husband about the critters in our backyard, which look much like honey bees, but are actually wasps) - this would explain why they are getting inside

3) naturally, I feel some sympathy for your beekeeper neighbours and I'd tend to say not to report them, but what you definately should do is talk to them about the problem. If the hive is too close to the windows of the apartment it is their duty to move the hive so as not to burden other people with rogue bees. Other people in your apartment may be having the same problem. If they are polite and understanding about it, I don't think you should report them. At least give them the chance to solve the problem. Also, once you have screens, it shouldn't matter at all.

You should really look into the possibility that these are not your neighbour's rogue bees. This is another reason for not reporting them - they may be doing no harm at all! If bees really are flying in at night when it is dark outside, they are coming from somewhere much too close to your window to be your neighbour's bees. It is more than likely that there is actually a nest around your window and they are coming from there. In which case they may or may not be honey bees. Good luck! Lisa


You can get adjustable window screens at most hardware stores-I found them at Bolfings Elmwood on College Ave. The screen material is set into a wooden ''slider'' frame that expands to fit the window width, and comes in several heights. The weight of the window sash resting on the top of the wooden frame holds them in place. They are not expensive and easy to take in and out as the seasons change, and you can take them with you to your next home! Sandra
Unless you have casement windows, it's pretty easy to pick up an expand-to-fit window screen at a hardware store. Heidi
I bought screens when I had bug problems to my apartment. According to the law, the tenant is responsible for screens, not the landlord. I could have not bought them and continued to be unhappy but they provided the safety and peace I was looking for. Marie
while i truly believe that your landlord should provide you with window screens, i would ask the beekeepers to buy and install screens for your windows. i'm sure they'll comply if you explain that you are asking in lieu of reporting them to vector control.
I can imagine having bees flying around your living room is a distraction, to say the least. However, I also thinks it's really cool that your neighbors are keeping bees. There are window screens that are removable, as in they just rest in the window when it's open, and are removed when the window is closed. They are framed w/ metal or wood. I don't where you can get them, but I have seen them. That would be way less expensive than having custom screens built. Heck, you could easily make screens yourself by making properly sized wood frames and tacking mesh to it. I do hope you don't end up calling vector control. Bees are good! Anon
It seems to me that your landlord is not being responsible in not putting screens into your windows. You could start with the Oakland Rent Board http://www.oaklandnet.com/government/hcd/rentboard/ordinance.html If they cannot help you they can probably refer you to how to get help with getting screens. Good luck with getting screens for your windows. Also, I wanted to let you know that bees are not vectors, and in fact, bee populations are declining around the U.S. (and probably the world) and this is cause for worry about the stability of some plant populations and specific plant species (since bees are pollinators). So I say: Hurray for the beekeepers! anon
Hello- First, I would suggest you get the East Bay Express (maybe online?) article that came out this summer about backyard beekeeping... for the most part it is not only legal, but a valuable service for the general community (and their plants). Chances are, they are within their rights. And if they're not-- vector control is for vectors (those insects that carry disease), which would not include bees.

So-- here is the least problematic solution to your problem, MAKE some screens for your windows. My husband just did this for our house since our windows stopped being maufactured in the 50's. It cost about $30 for the screen material and the rim stuff from the hardware store, and he built 2 in about 25 minutes. He's somewhat handy, but not a contractor or anything-- I think he needed a jigsaw or something like that to cut the rim material. And, you'd learn a valuable skill that might come in handy when you are a homeowner yourself.

You could ask your landlord to pay for the materials-- but either way it's not a big investment, and would make you happy. WAY happier than arguing with your landlords and or neighbors about a situation that is not likely to change anytime soon. You can do it! Good luck anon


Home Depot has screens you can buy that are very cheap and they are made to adjust to any window. We have used them in rentals that didn't come with screens.
Good for you for not wanting to report your neighbors- the honeybee population worldwide is in steep decline, and scientists have yet to figure out why that is. Because Honeybees are critically important pollinators for much agriculture as well as for home gardens and ornamental plants, it's very important that all of us do everything possible to keep the bees that are left alive.

But are you positive that it's your neighbor's bees that are coming inside your apartment at night? That is actually extremely unlikely since Honeybees are diurinal insects and are active only during the daylight hours- they return to their hive at dusk and don't go out again until dawn. They innately know the difference between natural and artificial light, and also are attracted only to flowering plants (their only food source), not to human food or anything to be found in a human being's apartment!

There are some species of bees that are nocturnal, but not Honeybees, and HBs are the only kind that beekeepers are interested in. It's also possible that what you're thinking are your neighbor's bees are actually yellow jackets, which are wasps but many people mistakenly call them bees, or some other kind of wasp.

Yellow Jackets are officially diurnal, but they stay active later into the evening than do Honey Bees, are attracted to artificial light, and are attracted to human food (every barbecuer knows that!). Take a good look at your invaders- wasps are distinguished from bees by their ''wasp waist'', which is a an effect of their two body segments being tightly and narrowly connected to each other.

Links to pics: Honeybee- http://www.arrowexterminating.com/images/honeybee.gif Yellow Jacket- http://www.afpmb.org/pubs/Field_Guide/Images/originals/Fig.%20109.jpg

Have you spoken to your neighbors?

Whatever flying insect is bothering you, you can buy inexpensive little screens at larger hardware stores that fit right into your open window. Cece


The bees likely constitutes a public nuissance, as they likely impeed the ''comfortable enjoyment of life or property'' to a ''considerable number of persons'' in your neighborhood. Your neighbor's landlord is legally responsible for any public nuissance by his or tenant(s). The Oakland City Attorney is responsible for determining if the activity is a public nuisance, and will communicate with your neighbor's landlord as necessary. The City Administrator Nuisance Abatament office ph no is 238-7542. Also, tell them to buzz off!

Active beehive in the ground next to front door

May 2007

We have a very active and live beehive in the ground too close to our front door and unsafe for kids and people walking in the yard. Any recommendations on someone who could help move it away - either off our property or farther away on our property. I am trying to avoid destroying it entirely. Many thanks. Susan


To safely and humanely remove bees, check out the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association at www.diablobees.org, then click on swarm list. There is a detailed list of names and phone numbers of beekeepers who will remove the bees without killing them. A few resources are Steve's Bees at 925-254-8063 and A & Bee Swarm Removal (ask for Stan Umlauft) at 800-500-4747/925- 458-3900. Or contact Khaled's Alive Bee Removal Service-their 24 hour emergency line is 510-388-9112/510-549-9509. Diane
If it's in the ground then it's yellowjackets, not bees- very different creatures! If it were a bee hive, then you could find a local beekeeper to take it away, but nobody wants your yellowjackets. It's best to call a pest control company. Anon
There's a bee shortage this year, so I would call bee keeper and offer it to him/her for free. Bees are quite precious with all the food they help us with. Glad you are taking care of your hive. May you have lots of sweetness
I'd recommend Bob the Beekeeper, based in Oakland. He removes bees naturally, without use of pesticides or anything, and relocates them to people who want to start hives. #: 510 268-8466 Good luck! Claudia
If you call Alameda Vector Control, they're in contact with beekeepers who will come and get the hive. anon
Post your bee hive on Freecycle (some bee keeper in Alameda was looking for swarms recently). They will come and get it and relocate the hive. www.freecycle.org Jennifer

Bees in the wall - How to remove them?

Aug 2006

Can anyone help remove a bee hive within a wall? I installed and vent and did some exterior work to my house and low and behold, I've closed off entrance/exit to a bee hive and seem to have trapped a zillion of them in frame of my house. I've sprayed them, but it has not helped. I'm feeling bad for these wonderful creatures who do so much for my garden! I don't know in the least, how to get rid of them or remove them. Help in North Oakland!


You need to get a professional beekeeper to come and remove the hive from inside your wall. Merely spraying (which is what most exterminators will do) is not enough, as bees will return to a hive. You don't want bees in your wall. They can eat through the sheetrock. We had this problem and we found a beekeeper who came in, vacuumed up the bees to take back to his hives, removed the hive (and gave us a big chunk of beeswax with honey in it) and charged us about $600 for it. (We had to hire someone else to repair the wall.) Be warned, after the hive is gone, bees that have left for the day will continue to return to try to find their home and it will be like ''The Swarm'' is being acted out live in your house. If you are squeamish about lots of dead bees (and I mean lots), book a hotel room for the night and pay someone else to come in an clean up. BEEn there
We just had the same problem, bees in the wall. We paid a guy about $500 to remove them alive. They were honey bees. I don't have the number handy, but I found him on Craigslist. Good Luck! Sarah
I know what you mean about the dilemma; I too had a hive in my wall (but they had a hole in which to escape) for awhile. I wanted to spray them, but my landlord explained that they're practically becoming an endangered species and to try and co-exist with them first. Lo and behold, we get along just fine! They don't bother me or my guests at all, and I have very prolific fruit trees in exchange. Why don't you drill a small hole in the outer wall so they can escape? They will most likely leave a hostile environment once they have a way out! Or, you could try the local beekeeping societies: San Francisco Beekeepers' Association has swarm & nest removal contacts on this website: http://www.sfbee.org/. Good luck! goldiosa
Call Alameda County Vector Control. They helped us say goodbye to a big yellow jacket nest about 3 years ago. They're usually freee and a great use of tax dollars! email: ehvector1@acgov.org web: http://www.acvcsd.org/ phone 510-567-6800 fax 510-337-9137 Jim
You really need a professional to deal with this problem. You can get hurt. If you try to remove the hive where the queen is the rest of the bees will do anything to get at you. A professional is sometimes expensive, so I would suggest looking into a local college or university with a that might be able to do it as a class project for free. Maybe the UC Berkeley Dept of Entomology can help. Good Luck!
Hire a beekeeper to remove the nest. Look in the phone book - I did this several years ago, paid about $60(???) and got a jar of honey out of the deal and the bees harmlessly (to me and them) removed Buzz

Too many bees in my garden

May 2005

I have a lot of bees in my garden -- I know that they're beneficial and I don't mind a few but this year there are suddenly a lot more there. My 6-year-old will no longer go out there to play (I don't like it much either -- it's nervewracking to garden out there when they're buzzing around and I have been stung). We also like to eat outside in the warm weather and this has become nearly impossible. When I look up ''bee trap'' on the internet I find traps only for wasps and yellow jackets. Do these generally work for bees also? Or do people have other suggestions? I am pro-bee and anti-poison, but having this many bees means we can't enjoy our yard. Thanks for any suggestions you may have! Nancy


If you have a lot of bees and they are not yellow jackets (who like to eat meat at barbeques) or wasps then perhaps you have a bee hive near by. Can you tell what kind of bees they are? Are they honey bees? If so, and if you can find where they are living, and if their hive is on your property, then you could call someone to collect them and take them asay (for a fee). IF they are not honey bees, then (I hate to say it, but) the best non-lethal option may be for you to pull up the plants that the bees visit most or cut off those plants'flowers. Then the bees won't come to your garden for nectar. There is a prof. at UC Berkeley who is studying all sorts of bees and what flowers they like to visit most. I think his name is Dr. Franke. He has a web site that lists several of the plants that are most popular to our native bees. (in fact, he may want to know what is attracting so many bees to your garden). You could find that list and exclude any of those plants form your garden. Or, better yet you could transfer those plants to a part of your part of your yard (or your neighbor's yard) where people don't spend as much time. signed - anon mom

Beehive Removal

May 2004

We discovered a swarming and growing beehive in our backyard where my 2.9 y.o. loves to explore, so we have to remove it. I don't know who to contact about this--the city? a gardener? I live in Oakland & could use some recommendations. Thanks! Julie


Contact a local beekeeper, and they can help. Someone on the Alamedafreecycle list (a yahoogroups list) recently posted notice that she wants to be notified about swarms. Presumably she'll take the honeybees off your hands. Betsy
Contact a beekeeper. It's the season for bees to swarm. I'm a beekeeper in Alameda, and I'd like to get notified for swarm removals. If you have a swarm in your yard or know someone who does, please contact me. Help save the bees, and there's a bit of honey in it for you! anon
call alameda county vector control. bee free

2004 & Earlier


Beehive in garage wall

Oct 2004

I need help immediately. Bees have built a hive in opening of the outside of my converted garage wall. Swarms of 50 or more bees were observed just yesterday. Is there a service to rid me of this mess? Does anyone have experience and a recommendation for this situation. Many thanks anon


There are a number of services in the yellow pages that will spray the hive (many people recommended Vector Control of Alameda County, but they only come if the bees are in the ground). We chose, somewhat randomly, a service called Bzzzz. I was too lazy to get bids, so don't know how they compare, but they were nice and efficient and not too expensive. If the bees are in your walls or chimney, as ours were, beware. I wish I had duct taped a tarp around the chimney and some windows that don't close well, because the bees managed to find their way into the house after they were sprayed, and they were literally carpeting the floors. Rebecca
Check out the Oakland Beekeeper's Club. They don't have a specific website that I can find, but should be in the phone book. Also check out www.honeybee.com/beeclubs.htm. I actually need bees for my hive, but I have no way to transport them. Please email me if you can find someone who can move them. heather
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