Thursday, October 29, 2009

FREE Yellow Jacket nest removals about to expire, Contact us now to schedule your free yellowjacket treatment!

Our FREE Yellow Jacket Wasp nest removal offer is nearly over. Hurry, and contact us now to have your Yellowjacket nest removed for FREE!

---EXPIRED---(but we hope to secure research funding for fall of '10..stay tuned)

(repost of our September blog entry follows:)

Do you have a Yellow Jacket nest in your yard or pasture?

Well, we have a deal for you! Our entomologists at ALL Florida Bee Removal are currently conducting research on Yellow jackets in Florida and are looking for a few good yellow jacket nests. Another common name is ground hornet, so if you are looking for FREE ground hornet removal, please contact us. If your nest fits the parameters of the study, we may be able to treat your nest for free!!! (or at least a very, very low cost). This is a time-limited offer, so contact us soon either by phone at: 800-343-5317 or email at:Click here to send an email to our entomologists

10/29/09 Update: Only a few treatments remain, Contact us soon to get your Yellow jacket nest treated and removed for FREE!

---EXPIRED---(but we hope to secure research funding for fall of '10..stay tuned) 

You can also reach us on our local numbers (remember to mention FREE YellowJacket Study):
Orlando/Brevard/Osceola Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 321.251.8064
DeLand/Volusia Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 386.490.4541
Jacksonville/St.Augustine Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 904.807.6645
Gainesville/Ocala/Lake Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 352.870.0346
Tallahassee Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 850.391.0272
Tampa/Hillsborough Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 813-930-BUGS (2847)
Pinellas/St. Petersburg Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 727-443-BUGS (2847)


Yellow jackets are wasps that can be extremely fierce defenders of their nests. The populations of these nests can range above 100,000 individuals, making them very dangerous to treat. They are in the Vespid group of wasps, and build nests out of chewed-up barks and other cellulose materials. (Bees produce wax to make their nests)






All Yellow jackets are carnivorous, usually feeding on insects such as caterpillars. They will chew the caterpillars up, right on the spot, and bring the goodies back to the nest, feeding the developing larvae grub. They’ll readily feed on other meat sources too, and often bother hunters, as they are field dressing shot animals. We used to capture them for research using canned tuna!






We have two common Yellow Jacket species in Florida, the Eastern Yellow jacket, Vespula maculifrons, & the Southern Yellow Jacket, Vespula squamosa.

This Yellow Jacket on the left is the Eastern Yellow Jacket. It tends to have small to medium size nests, and in Florida can easily overwinter in the ground, where it usually builds its nests.

This species has one queen per colony, which limits the size of its nests.



video
This is a sting video I shot and edited while working at the University of Florida Entomology Department. It shows a Yellow Jacket sting and a Honey bee sting. Which looks worse to you?
---EXPIRED---(but we hope to secure research funding for fall of '10..stay tuned)
9/16/2009 update: Available slots for our free yellow jacket wasp study are filling up. Please contact us soon before our study is complete!

FREE Yellowjacket Wasp Removal CAll 800-343-5317 and mention "Free Yellowjacket Study"
You can also reach us on our local numbers (remember to mention FREE YellowJacket Study):
Orlando/Brevard/Osceola Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 321.251.8064
DeLand/Volusia Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 386.490.4541
Jacksonville/St.Augustine Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 904.807.6645
Gainesville/Ocala/Lake Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 352.870.0346
Tallahassee Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 850.391.0272
Tampa/Hillsborough Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 813-930-BUGS (2847)
Pinellas/St. Petersburg Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 727-443-BUGS (2847)
---EXPIRED---(but we hope to secure research funding for fall of '10..stay tuned)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Don't be a victim of improper honey bee removal! Cocoa Bee Removal 321.206.5100

We at ALLFloridaBeeRemoval.com responded to a frantic call this morning. A lady in Cocoa Beach had an infestation of honey bees in her soffit, and paid a well-known, national pest control company (hint, starts with "O" & ends with "N"), to take care of the infestation.

here's a video of the bees trying to get back in the opening:



The technician from this company, applied a dust product that is commonly used in the pest control industry, and sealed up the colony opening with an expanding foam product. Two days later, the client arrives home from Saturday shopping, and is immediately attacked by bees. She hurries inside, only to find THOUSANDS of bees in her living room and kitchen!! Can you imagine this??? It had to be very frightening.

We arrived to find neighbors complaing of being harassed and stung. We performed a proper treatment, opened up the soffit, removed the colony, and sealed it up proper. We do this every day, and know how to do it right. Call us at 321-206-5100 for a free estimate!

So, this really bugs me. (excuse me, lol). This client paid the national company, twice our rate, only to be assailed by bees. They were not available on Saturday, when she was attacked. We see this frequently... Well meaning technicians, good at controlling roaches or flies, try their hand at bees or yellowjackets and make the problem MUCH WORSE! In this case the dust product is repellent and aggravating to bees, and will drive them into living areas. Plus, it's rather difficult to kill a mature colony of bees, as they can fill several feet of wall, soffit, or joist voids, and a simple dust application only kills a small portion.

Plus, here in Brevard County, we are encountering Africanized Honey bees on a daily basis, and the incidents will only increase as these bees fill out the ecological niches, and become commonplace. Is it worth the risk to use a generalist for these complicated, potentially dangerous social insects?

I like to use a medical analogy.. you may think your family doctor is the bees knees (oops, there I go again), but would you trust him/her to perform complicated heart surgery?

And you shouldn't use a general pest control company for Bee Removals either! We at ALLFloridaBeeRemoval.com are University of Florida trained Urban Entomologists (insect scientists), registered beekeepers & Licensed & Insued Pest Control Operators. We work with stinging insects daily, and have developed protocols to protect you, our valued clients. Give us a call at 321-206-5100 for a free estimate!

We service the following Brevard County cities & towns & perform brevard live honey bee removals, when appropriate.


Cape Canaveral bee removal,
Cocoa bee removal
Cocoa Beach bee removal
Grant-Valkaria bee removal
Indialantic bee removal
Indian Harbour Beach bee removal
Malabar bee removal
Melbourne bee removal
Melbourne Beach bee removal
Melbourne Village bee removal
Palm Bay bee removal
Palm Shores bee removal
Rockledge bee removal
Satellite Beach bee removal
Titusville bee removal
West Melbourne bee removal
Allenhurst bee removal
Angel City bee removal
Aurantia bee removal
Aurora bee removal
Ballard Pines bee removal
Barefoot Bay bee removal
Bellwood bee removal
Bonaventure bee removal
Canaveral Groves bee removal
City Point bee removal
Cocoa West bee removal
Courtenay bee removal
Delespine bee removal
Dummit Cove bee removal
Dummit Grove bee removal
East Mims bee removal
Eau Gallie bee removal
Floridana Beach bee removal
Footman bee removal
Frontenac bee removal
Georgiana bee removal
Indian River City bee removal
Jay Jay bee removal
June Park bee removal
Kennedy Space Center bee removal
Kings Park bee removal
La Grange bee removal
Lotus bee removal
Melbourne Village bee removal
Merritt Island bee removal
Micco bee removal
Mims bee removal
Pineda bee removal
Port St. John bee removal
Rockwell bee removal
Scottsmoor bee removal
Sharpes bee removal
Sherwood bee removal
Shiloh bee removal
South Cocoa Beach bee removal
South Patrick Shores bee removal
Southmere bee removal
Sunnyland Beachbee removal
Suntree bee removal
Tropic bee removal
Turnbull bee removal
Viera bee removal
West Eau Gallie bee removal
Whispering Hills bee removal
Wiley bee removal
Williams Point bee removal
Wilson bee removal

Friday, October 16, 2009

Live Honey Bee Removal

Today I recieved a phone call from a gentleman in Melbourne, Florida, who wanted me to perform a free live honey bee removal.

I explained to him that we are finding our Brevard County Live Honey Bee removals mostly turn out to be mean Africanized Honey Bees, and that while I will consider doing live bee removals, I turn down many, because the sting risk is just too high, especially in tight suburban or urban settings.

He seemed to be understanding this, so when I then explained that we usually charge more for these live removals, he was obviously getting rifled up a bit. I explained that in order to perform a TRUE Live bee removal, we have to be careful, work slowly to protect the brood (eggs,larvae,pupae), and that we then have to re-queen the colony to introduce gentle European genetics into the colony. Of course, we have to purchase the queens, and spend a good deal of time caring for the newly transferred bee hive box.

Well, he evidently had enough, told me that I should "be paying him" to get these bees out of his house, because "you are going to make money off these bees!".

I was befuddled. This guy clearly has no grasp of what it takes to be a successful beekeeper. Most beekeepers will gladly tell you that this hobby or even business TAKES money to keep going. If one is successful, Bee sure that it is hard work and one is not getting rich off of bees. And that's with bees that come from a great genetic line, selected for things like putting away honey, disease resistance, gentleness, etc.

The going price for a starter colony of "thoroughbred" bees is $50-$75. Yep, I'm sure making lots of money with your bees!

When we do Central Florida Live Bee Removals, it's like throwing dice...We never know what kind of bees we'll get.. They usually turn into mean colonies as the colony becomes mature, they often will swarm out of the hive boxes, they put away small amounts of honey, etc.

Plus, factor in the cost of salaries (yes, I do pay my guys, hello???), truck expense, diesel fuel, auto insurance, Workmen's comp (don't you WANT us to protect you, the client, hello???), Commercial General Liability Insurance (again...??), and of course many more expenses. I haven't found a Chevron station that will give me free diesel!

And remember, we are experts, with 3 entomologists and other highly trained professionals. That's got to be worth something, or do you like billy-bob and his helper, with no insurance and a hand axe, tearing open your home. Do you?

And to top if off, Our regulator of beekeeping, Apiary section, Fla Dept. of Agriculture, is "highly recommending" that we eradicate all feral honey bees that are close to human or animal activity..primarily because of the spreading of Africanized Honey Bees in the state. What happens if I do a live removal and an allergic neighbor gets stung and dies or is severely injured? What happens to me then? I'll tell you what, I'm shark food for the lawyers!

All to play the roulette wheel or throw the dice with your bees.

Yes, "Mr.-Your-gonna-make-money-off-my-bees", you can keep your bees. Thank you very much.

For those that understand value, I remain committed to providing the best Live Bee Removal services in the State of Florida. I really do love performing proper live bee removal in Florida, when we can.

You can call anytime: 800-343-5317 or visit us online at: ALLFloridaBeeRemoval.com

West Volusia County Yellow Jacket Nest

Today I checked out a Southern Yellow Jacket nest for some research I'm doing. It's rather unusual, as it's almost all above ground. We sometimes see above ground nests in swampy areas, where the Yellow Jackets can't survive burrowing in the wet mucky soil. I shot this video, just to get some initial views. It's very rough, butWe hope to go back tomorrow, and shoot closeups of the nest attacking our technician Jason, as he weedeats nearby. (Don't worry, he'll be in a bee suit. or two!)

The nest measures about 3'X2'X2', not huge in our experience, but quite significant. It contains at least 50,000 individuals!!! It sure could put a hurting on you if you stumbled upon it. This nest size could even be fatal If one is allergic or not very mobile.

Call us anytime at 800-343-5317 or visit our website: ALLFloridaBeeRemoval.com


Monday, September 21, 2009

Florida Beekeeping Calendar of Events

We now have many new Beekeeping Associations here in Florida (yea!!), so I've made a calendar of Bee keeping events in the state of Florida. We here at ALL Florida Bee Removal
support Florida Beekeeping & like to make as many beekeeping meetings as possible!!


Friday, September 4, 2009

FREE Florida Yellow Jacket and ground hornet removal: Support Research

Do you have a Yellow Jacket nest in your yard or pasture?

Well, we have a deal for you! Our entomologists at ALL Florida Bee Removal are currently conducting research on Yellow jackets in Florida and are looking for a few good yellow jacket nests. Another common name is ground hornet, so if you are looking for FREE ground hornet removal, please contact us. If your nest fits the parameters of the study, we may be able to treat your nest for free!!! (or at least a very, very low cost). This is a time-limited offer, so contact us soon either by phone at: 800-343-5317 or email at:Click here to send an email to our entomologists
 
1/2/10 Update: This study is EXPIRED. we hope to secure funding for fall 2010, stay tuned! Of course we perform yellow jacket removals for a fee
You can also reach us on our local numbers (remember to mention FREE YellowJacket Study):
Orlando/Brevard/Osceola Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 321.206.5100
DeLand/Volusia Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 386.490.4541
Jacksonville/St.Augustine Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 904.807.6645
Gainesville/Ocala/Lake Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 352.870.0346
Tallahassee Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 850.391.0272
Tampa/Hillsborough Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 813-930-BUGS (2847)
Pinellas/St. Petersburg Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 727-443-BUGS (2847)


Yellow jackets are wasps that can be extremely fierce defenders of their nests. The populations of these nests can range above 100,000 individuals, making them very dangerous to treat. They are in the Vespid group of wasps, and build nests out of chewed-up barks and other cellulose materials. (Bees produce wax to make their nests)






All Yellow jackets are carnivorous, usually feeding on insects such as caterpillars. They will chew the caterpillars up, right on the spot, and bring the goodies back to the nest, feeding the developing larvae grub. They’ll readily feed on other meat sources too, and often bother hunters, as they are field dressing shot animals. We used to capture them for research using canned tuna!






We have two common Yellow Jacket species in Florida, the Eastern Yellow jacket, Vespula maculifrons, & the Southern Yellow Jacket, Vespula squamosa.

This Yellow Jacket on the left is the Eastern Yellow Jacket. It tends to have small to medium size nests, and in Florida can easily overwinter in the ground, where it usually builds its nests.

This species has one queen per colony, which limits the size of its nests.



video
This is a sting video I shot and edited while working at the University of Florida Entomology Department. It shows a Yellow Jacket sting and a Honey bee sting. Which looks worse to you?
1/2/10 Update: This study is EXPIRED. we hope to secure funding for fall 2010, stay tuned! Of course we perform yellow jacket removals for a fee

FREE Yellowjacket Wasp Removal CAll 800-343-5317 and mention "Free Yellowjacket Study"
You can also reach us on our local numbers (remember to mention FREE YellowJacket Study):
Orlando/Brevard/Osceola Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 321.206.5100
DeLand/Volusia Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 386.490.4541
Jacksonville/St.Augustine Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 904.807.6645
Gainesville/Ocala/Lake Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 352.870.0346
Tallahassee Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 850.391.0272
Tampa/Hillsborough Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 813-930-BUGS (2847)
Pinellas/St. Petersburg Free Yellow Jacket Removal: 727-443-BUGS (2847)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Late Summer Honey Bee Swarms - Should I have a bee swarm removal done?



Yesterday, I ran across a great blog maintained by a very interesting lady, Mo, who lives in Arizona. A honey bee swarm landed in her backyard tree, and being a naturalist, she wants to save the honey bees. She’s been researching honey bees and swarms and getting quite the education about these complex social insects and the dilemma we are now facing with Africanized Honey Bees. Please take a look at her blog here. I wrote a post on her blog, and she was kind enough to consider my thoughts. Here is a follow up to my post, and it applies to anyone who encounters a late summer bee swarm.
“About your bee visitors. Ladybug gave good advice, when they advised that you could probably leave the swarm alone, and it will leave on its own. Swarms are *usually* transitory, providing a resting and reconnoitering waypoint, until the bee scouts find a permanent location. You probably have a mother colony nearby and can expect to see more swarms in the future.
And, swarms are mostly non-defensive, meaning that the sting risk is low, probably because they have no nest, young or honey to defend, and they are focused on finding the permanent colony location. The clock is ticking, as they have maybe a week’s worth of honey stored in their crops.
Here are my opinions, fwiw:
1. I’d bet the swarm was Africanized, based on the size. It’s a small swarm, plus European bees will rarely send out swarms this time of year.
2. Swarms in late summer are probably loaded with parasites, such as varroa mite, which is believed by many to be a major culprit in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). These small swarms can be thought of as ‘taking one for the team’, as they might be an effective means of removing a high proportion of the parasite load of the mother colony. Beekeepers risk infecting their own bees if they hive these parasite and disease laden bees.
3. Honey bee populations are increasing, & sacrificing one swarm near a residence will have little effect on the population. Yes, the media has publicized (yes!) our higher mortality rates of Managed honey bees lately, but I think an important message has not been conveyed: Wild bee populations have actually been increasing in much of the U.S., and in some areas, we are seeing an explosion of bees! Of course, this population growth might be due to Africanized (AHB) intrusion, which is a double edged sword…GREAT for pollination, not so good for humans and domestic animals, as they can be quite defensive and a significant sting risk.
4. Transporting and relocating may be an option, but realize that this swarm probably won’t survive. It’s small, probably has a virgin queen of low quality, and likely has a high parasite load.
One important note: Many will tell you that they can identify Africanized bees, based on behavior or morphology (what they look like). Let me assure you that these are false claims. I have a Master’s degree in Entomology, with a stinging insect specialization. I employ an entomologist who has spent years in Africa, keeping hundreds of African bee hives. My partner is an entomologist with years of honey bee experience. Even we can’t ID AHB by casual observation. We have to perform a lengthy test involving ~50 bees, dissections, measurements and calculations to get even a probability of Africanization. And like I mentioned before, swarms & newly established colonies (European & AHB) are usually non-defensive, so that is useless as a means of identification. Our website has some info on swarms that might be helpful, although it mainly deals with Springtime bee swarms, a totally different process:Honey Bee Swarm Info
Please bee careful with opinions (even mine!), as I’ve found many providers in this field are crafty, and tell the client what they *want* to hear. As an insect scientist, I try to be aware of my feelings and bounce them against fact.
Oh, one other note, please keep watch around your home, as bees often move into soffits, wall voids and many other areas in & around the house.
So, I guess my advice would bee to do what feels right. If your desire is very strong to have the bees relocated, have it done, but please have a licensed expert, one who has beekeeping experience, required licenses for pest control ( application of residual pesticide will help keep a repeat occurrence), commercial liability & workmen’s comp insurances. There is no reason for you to be liable for an incident that gets out of hand in today’s litigious society. Realize this will likely cost more than eradication of the colony, which is ok in my opinion. Again, if you go with eradication, employ a qualified provider. I have seen really, really unqualified providers make a mess of things and homeowners need not go through such an experience.
Bee well! Richard Martyniak, M.Sc. Entomologist (and super-tall beekeeper)”

p.s. I've always loved this bee swarm rhyme: "A swarm in May's worth a rick of hay; And a swarm in June's worth a silver spoon; while A swarm in July isn't worth a fly."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I have honey bees in my tree hole. Is bee removal necessary?

We receive several calls a day to ALL Florida Bee Removal from folks that have bees in a tree, usually in their yard and the question is asked: I have bees in my backyard tree, They have'nt stung me. Should I get the bees removed from the tree?

It's a good question, after all the interior of trees are the natural nesting spot for honey bees. Think Winnie the pooh and the bee tree. Tree holes are a near-perfect place for a bee colony to build a hive (nest). They usually offer a void that is insulated from cold, relatively dry, and best of all, are accessible by a small hole that is easily defended from potential attackers, such as skunk, racoon, other bee colonies (robbing bees), and most of all, Teenage boys!



Yes, it's cool to have a colony of bees living in one's backyard, so close and easily observed. But, we get many calls from clients, that have been stung multiple times, by bees that previously have been so gentle. Activities such as mowing, edging or leaf blowing, can agitate a colony of bees into a sting event. It's not unusual for a client to suffer 100 stings before he or she can get off the lawnmower and away to safety.

And the really sad event for us, is when a dog is confined to a back yard, the honey bees get agitated and deliver hundreds or thousands of stings to the hapless pooch. If a client has dogs or children, OR has neighbors with dogs or children, we always recommend a treatment and exclusion to prevent reinfestation by another colony of bees.

We can often handle bee nests that are located high in trees, either working by ladder, manlift, or by rope climbing.

The tree bee hives that bees build inside trees are very interesting. They often have to twist the building of combs to make them fit inside the trunk. And, they make a substance from tree resins to help seal the interior, keeping out pests and controlling fungal and bacterial infections. We call this bee-glue or propolis. Many folks around the world use propolis as a daily remedy for what ails ya!

These photos are courtesy of Anthony Vaudo. He's a Master's graduate student from University of Florida's Entomology Dept. He works for Dr. Jamie Ellis, Apiary Extension Entomologist. We had Anthony ride with us several days to get some experience working with bee removals. He's heading over to Africa to do research on the Cape Bee, Apis capensis.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Are Killer Bees in your Trailer Park?

Here in Florida, we have many residents that live in Manufactured Housing, aka, trailer homes and guess what, honey bees really like to live in trailer homes too! We perform house trailer bee removals every day.

Africanized Bees, aka Killer Bees, often build colonies close to the ground, in fact they are frequently found in abandoned armadillo, gopher, gopher tortoise and subterranean tree holes. This behavior is probably a holdover from living on the African plains, where available voids in trees were few, so building colonies in the ground works very well, until a honey badger arrives that is! Honey Badger, predator of African Honey Bees

Bees will often build their nests under the subfloor of the manufactured home. We also frequently encounter them under Office & Construction trailers.

We don't perform many trailer live removals any longer, primarily because most of the honey bees that nest under trailers have a very high probability of being Africanized. It's illegal to possess AHB here in the State of Florida, plus they make horrible occupants in our bee yards. Spend some time around them and you will see why, with 10's of thousands of them fiercely attacking, working every little opening, trying to get into your beesuits. Sometimes we have to wear 2 beesuits, and we STILL get STUNG!! Here's a photo of Jason, under a trailer, notice how much dirt he had to excavate!Bee Removal from under an Orlando, Florida house trailer

It's also very difficult and time consuming to perform live removals from under trailers. It's hot, it's very cramped, and we end up taking sometimes hundreds of stings, because we are rolling on the ground, over bees that have fallen on the ground. Also, the sting risk is high, especially in a tight, urban trailer park setting. And, it's very, very messy!
removing honey comb from underneath a Ft. Myers trailer bee removal

If you have a colony of bees in your trailer, give us a call or email. We handle removals all over the state of Florida, including Naples, Ft. Myers, Sarasota, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Kissimmee, Orlando, Brevard County, Ft. Lauderdale, Broward, Dade, Daytona, Palm Coast, Jacksonville and more!!!

If you have a bee hive in your house trailer, please consider us. We perform house trailer bee removal throughout Florida

We are entomologists (insect scientists), registered beekeepers, and Licensed Pest Control Operators, carrying full insurance and licenses for your protection. Visit our website, ALLFloridaBeeRemoval.com for more info

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Outdoor Bars and Honey Bees?

It's late August, and that means it's the time of year when Restaurants and Bars start calling us. And we get LOTS of calls right now, usually complaining of hundreds or thousands of honey bees, flying around the back bar, into and around the ice drains, floor drains and syrup lines.

Why you ask? Late summer is what we call a season of dearth for bees. There's usually little flowering occuring, meaning natural sources of nectars have dried up. We usually see flowering kick back in next month, but for now, bees are desperately looking for any sugar source, and that means open air bars, restaurants, bakeries and donut shops are ground zero for honey bees. Once they find that sugar source, they will exploit it, sending thousands of workers to gather the sugars.

It can be difficult to solve these problems and no simple solution exists. Inspections, sanitation, screens & forced air systems, are just some elements of our tool box.

If your bar, restaurant or bakery is inundated with honey bees, give us a call at 800-343-5317 or visit our website at ALL Florida Bee Removal for help. We are graduate entomologists, beekeepers and Fla. licensed pest control operators, standing ready to help you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Top 10 concerns about Live Honey Bee Removal


I recently received this email, and thought I'd share my thoughts:

I wanted to know whats the incentive for someone to call you to do a live removal instead of exterminating a beehive, if any.


There are people who are very concerned about honey bees and would rather pay a higher fee to have them relocated to one of our apiaries, or a fellow beekeeper's apiary. They have an emotional stake in the health of honey bees. It's necessary to charge a higher fee to do live removals because it takes more time to do a successful removal, plus, the stinging risk is elevated, as the bees can get defensive. (They usually don't take kindly to me relocating them). Most people tend to belittle the stinging risk, but for us at ALLFloridaBeeRemoval, it's not taken lightly. Collectively, we respond to over 10,000 nuisance bee calls a year in the state of Florida. We have seen bees so mean that they leave thousands of stingers in our bee suits, with some of the stings hitting home! Bees hit my helmet so hard that it sounds like a popcorn popper going full tilt. Our first priority is to minimize to the sting risk to nearby humans & pets. I can assure you that a catastrophic sting risk is real with some bee colonies, and it concerns us greatly. Add the increasing numbers of the African subspecies and you might see how we run a significant liability every day. This is our livelihood, and we take it very seriously.

I think there is a commonly held belief that honey bees are normally gentle and put away mass amounts of honey. Gentle honey bees are gentle, only because humans have made them that way. Thousands of years of selecting for traits such as gentleness, putting away copious amounts of honey, building up populations in early spring & low swarming rates have made managed bees, (those in our white bee hive boxes), the gentle insect that we love. Historically, this selection process involves harsh methods.For example, Say we go back a few thousand years ago and look at a Roman Beekeeper. If a Roman bee colony in Naples happened to turn mean, and stung the beekeeper excessively, it would be exterminated. If a colony did not put away much honey, it was exterminated. Over time, this genetic manipulation has given us a subspecies (Apis mellifera ligustica ), well known and widely used in beekeeping for its gentle, honey productive traits.

In Florida at least, Italian honey bee colonies left unmanaged will usually produce daughter colonies that are hybrid. These feral (wild) colonies, and subsequent daughter colonies usually start exhibiting traits that are not necessarily suitable for beekeeping. Their temperament can be quite variable, with some "hot as fire". Would you want a dog that bit you every time you fed or pet it? Probably not. Same with bees. And many feral colonies put away only small amounts of honey. Again, that kind of defeats the purpose of most beekeepers, where honey production is an important part of the process.

I like to call these feral colonies "mutts", we never know what we'll get. When people tell me they want to give me a 'free' colony, I just need to come cut it out of their house, I like to use an analogy. Suppose you are a sled dog racer, and someone wants to give you a "free" sled dog. All you have to do is spend several hours removing it from an underground pipe it fell in. (hey I'm trying here). So, you drive an hour to get to the place, use tools, supplies and several hours getting the dog out and sealing up the hole so other dogs can't get back in. Oh yeah, you have to pay a few thousand dollars a year for insurance and 'dog removal' licensing fees too.. You get the dog home, feed it, pay the vet bill, and then realize that this Chiuaua just isn't able to pull it's share of the sled. Yeah, some mutts aren't good for sledding, and some bee 'mutts' don't put away much honey, or are plain mean. What am I as a beekeeper supposed to do then?


Well, you may have heard of requeening the colony. This is the directive that the State Dept. of Agriculture wants us to do, because of the increasing proportion of African honey bees in Florida. This involves killing the existing 'mutt' queen and inserting a purchased queen of known and desired genetics.Within a couple months, as the new generation cycles in, you'll have a colony that is gentle, puts away honey and life is good. Of course, as with most things, it's not this simple, but can be done, although we are finding that more feral colonies in Florida don't accept queens as readily as they used to. And if I'm spending $12-$20 a queen, it gets pretty old feeding queens to some mutt bees. But even if you are successful, here's the disingenuous kicker that noone tells you. When you requeen, you have just exterminated that mutt colony. yeah, Killed it dead as a doornail. All that effort to save that colony is down the drain. The genetics live (and die) with the queen. She is a true queen mother, with all the other colony members being her daughters or sons. When you kill her, and insert a new queen, assuming the workers will accept her, all new emergent workers are her daughters, carrying the genetics that have been manipulated by a queen breeder somewhere. It's even possible that she's been artificially inseminated with known sperm from a drone. (In the wild, queens mate with 15-20 or so males in a night or two of unbridled bee passion, producing a nice diversified 'family".. single-mated queens lack this diversified production capability).

So, we probably have beekeepers that are not requeening, in the name of genetic preservation. That's all fine and great, but eventually, as African bees overtake the feral bee populations throughout the state, incidents will occur. All one has to do is check the experiences of beekeepers in the Southwest US, after the African bee entered Texas in 1990. Some beekeepers were convinced they could handle the hybridization, and continued to collect feral colonies and open-mate their queens. African bees are nearly indistinguishable from Europeans, even to experienced beekeepers and entomologists such as myself. Well, stinging incidents occurred, lawsuits & settlements ensued, insurance coverage was dropped. And now most beekeepers are very careful, declining to perform live removals, requeening every 6 months and increasing bee-yard set offs. Similar occurrences will happen here in Florida, and with our state's greater human population density, I wouldn't doubt we experience even greater numbers of attacks. I myself will cease to perform live removals, sometime in the future. As it is now, I don't do live work south of Orange County.

So, I guess the take-home message about live removals, is that its a complicated mess. The risk, the added expense and the uncertainty make it a dying endeavor here in Florida.

I know Bee Keepers are wondering where they have all gone.

Don't believe what you read, even my stuff. Do some research. You'll find that what the media has told you about the dissapearing bees, and things like the human race going extinct because of honey bee problems are greatly exaggerated.

Here's some scoop. Commercial Bee Keeper David Hackenburg first reported problems about 3 years ago. He had a massive disappearance event in his overwintering operation in Dade City. Since then some beekeepers have suffered entire losses, some none, and a gradient in between. The actual percentage of mortality nationwide has risen from about 25% annually to about 33% annually. Yes, cause for concern, but not catastrophic. We've been dealing with imported, invasive pests, and the higher mortality they bring, for about 20 years. And the interesting thing, is that our feral populations ( In Fla )during this time have been doing very well, and increasing in numbers if one is to trust our numbers. (Probably due to increasing #'s of Africans here in Fla) So, this loss ( Colony Collapse Disorder ) apparently is limited to managed colonies, not feral populations. Research has started and is ongoing, Beekeepers are paying more attention to their colonies, and it appears that we may have emerged through this past winter with a reduction in overwintering mortality. Too early to tell, but I'm crossing my fingers.

Extermination can't be good for the environment if the hive is indeed European Honey Bees, right? Thanks in advance for your time.

Like I mentioned above, our feral population of bees is doing very, very well, so exterminating pest bees in/around structures, yards etc, does not threaten the numbers of wild bees. Determining whether a colony is European or African takes time & money, both of which are in short order these days, and when the risk of stinging is present because of a feral colony near humans or domestic animals. Currently we are seeing some very mean feral bees and we will see increasing numbers of incidents between feral bees and humans/domestic animals in the near future.I'll attempt live removals, but only if safety, colony health, local African bee proportion are within safe limits. While it's sad on an emotional level to kill a colony, ( I know!), protecting the safety of humans has to take precedence.

I hope this helps to answer your questions.

Richard Martyniak

yeah, I didn't make a top 10 list, sorry.