SoCal Beekeeping

Exterminating A Hive
P. Michael Henderson

We were gone most of the month of March.  When we got back in April, I went into my oldest hive to check on them.  They may have superseded the queen in the spring because the hive was a lot more defensive.  I used a lot of smoke but the bees were just all over me and wouldn't leave me even when I left the area.  For a long time after that, the bees were flying around the front of my house, trying to sting anyone who was outside, even my dog.

I gave them a day to calm down but the next day they were still trying to sting people quite some distance from the hive.

The hive was too defensive to be left as is.  I decided to exterminate the hive.  I want to take the honey in the hive tomorrow, so I sprayed the bees flying around the front of the hive with soapy water and killed a lot of them.  That should reduce the number flying around trying to sting people.

Tomorrow, I'll take the honey and exterminate the rest of the hive.

It's sad to kill a hive but they are too defensive to safely have in my backyard.  I have to think about my neighbors, as well.  And if my bees become a nuisance to the neighbors I'll lose the ability to have bees in my backyard.

[Update] I killed the hive with soapy water.  Slow going.  I took the honey out first - they had three supers full, about 80 pounds when extracted.  I washed the brood frames to remove the soap and gave the frames to a swarm that I collected recently.  They'll have to clean out the dead brood but I expect they'll do that okay.

You may ask why I didn't replace the queen.  One reason is that I can't purchase a hybrid queen.  A second reason is that I may not have been able to find the queen to kill her.  And the third reason is that I wasn't willing to live 4 to 6 weeks with the existing worker bees and their defensive behavior (until those bees died and new ones took their place).