How to Safely Remove a Beehive

Bees swarming on the woodwork.
What You'll Need
Protective gear
Bee smoker
Box with a lid
Flathead screwdriver or scraper

The safest and most responsible way to remove a beehive is to call a local beekeeper. That may sound simple and betray the spirit of do-it-yourself, but given the vital role that bees play in pollination of our world’s plants, moving them away from your home using the proper equipment is much better than simply killing them.

If for some reason you must remove your swarm urgently and can not seek the help of a professional, then proceed with caution. Wear protective gear that covers all exposed skin, including the face and neck. In addition to having a specialized smoker, access to other specific equipment like a beekeeper’s suit is yet another reason this sort of removal is a task best left to the professionals when possible.

Step 1 - Identify the Hive

Locate the hive and examine it carefully to determine where and how it is attached. Because you will be under pressure to act swiftly while removing the beehive, plan out your movements in your head before you even make an attempt at detaching the hive.

Be sure to plan out your method of exit or escape in advance as well. If the bees do become agitated and swarm, you’ll want to distance yourself without hesitation while also avoiding panicking.

Step 2 - Smoke the Hive

Purchase a bee smoker and fuel pellets from your local garden store. Choose a warm, sunny day in the afternoon for removing the beehive, since this is prime time for the bees to be out pollinating.

Unlike extermination attempts, which take place at night when insects are congregated in their hives, humanely removing their hive means that you’ll make your run at it when no one’s home.

Don your protective clothing, going so far as to tuck loose articles like pant legs into your socks, light the fuel in the smoker, and wave it around the beehive. Move calmly and quietly to avoid startling the bees.

Step 3 - Remove the Hive

Once the bees are subdued by the smoke, dislodge the beehive with your scraping tool and place it inside the box with a secure lid.

Be sure to poke some tiny holes in the box large enough to allow breathing air in, but no bees out. These holes will also give you a way to deliver smoke to the bees a second time before you eventually release them.

Even if you get all the bee infested parts of the hive in your box, survey the yard and scrape away any empty beehive residue. This will discourage future bees from rebuilding on the same spot.

Step 4 - Relocate the Hive

The best place to take honey bees is to a beehive farm. If you avoided hiring a beekeeper to do the job, you can involve one at this stage.

Honey bee populations are dwindling, and your local bee farmers will be happy to have them. Alternatively, a rural, wooded area is a good spot to reintroduce your swarm. Smoke them before removing the beehive from the box and make sure there is no one else around.

Step 5 - Prevention

After you’ve relocated the hive, clean up the area to ensure the bees do not come back. Clean the area with soap and water, fill any holes with caulk or spackling, and apply a natural insect repellent such as citronella oil or tea tree oil to keep away any bees that were not in the hive when you removed it.