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Let's save the bees

Why are Bees Important?

July 19, 2021 Uncategorized

Why are Bees Important?

Imagine today is a Thursday in your typical fall, and you’re driving down Main Street in your city’s downtown towards the farmers market. As a kid, you watched Grandma pick her papaya and onions from a market stand; that was a time of bliss and memory.

Nowadays, that bliss is gone. The market is overrun with larger demand and fewer stalls. Knowing the stalls are already out of stock, you head to the grocery store to find the entire produce aisle also emptied.

This picture is in a world where we let our pollinating bees die. Now, is this picture exaggerated?

Are bees dangerous?

Let me draw you the best case scenario without bees: prices increase and we don’t starve. We humans sustain enough cereal grains–crops that can wind pollinate–that we likely would not starve; we would lose other crops, though. Without bees, the produce aisle either doesn’t exist or wouldn’t be so cheap. The loss of bees would require human or robotic labor to manually pollinate–with either labor being more costly and less efficient than bees’ work. Simply from a point of economics, crops that would cause a negative profit margin will not get the upkeep needed and will disappear from our markets, leading to a lack of produce.

So, here is your answer: the “fall” is the best case scenario.

Frankly, the worst case scenario would lead to food webs falling apart, affecting us and surrounding ecosystems with a loss of food; that is simple biology in its scariest sense. We really don’t want to imagine life without bees.

You see, thousands of bee species have co-evolved with the plants they pollinate over the ages–covering 80% of all flowering plants! Bee’s furry bodies, variance of size, seasonal tendencies, and some species’ ability to buzz pollinate (rapidly free pollen that’s stuck) make bees the perfect pollinators that cannot be easily substituted by human or machine power.

The real downer is how the population of bees is already diminishing due to several factors. Beekeepers worldwide recognize the bees’ decrease and the importance of our perfect pollinators, hence why we fiercely defend their lives.

So, we ask you to stand with us. Let this be a wake-up call to at least be mindful of our buzzing buddies, because this article is sadly not exaggerated; we just don’t know the timeline, so we must act now to keep the bees buzzing.

Follow us as we share experiences and knowledge in our journey to keep bees safe at Bee Safe Bee Removal.

Why are bees important?

bee waggle dance

Language of the Bees

July 13, 2021 Uncategorized

Language of the Bees

Humans were thought to be the only species to have abstract language in their movement, but we cannot claim to be the only species now. Abstract language is defined by the meaning from nonverbal messages. With this definition, honey bees have one of the most sophisticated abstract languages of all animalia–nearing human language.

The Waggle Dance

Honeybee workers perform a series of movements, often referred to as the “waggle dance,” to teach other workers the location of food sources more than 150 meters from the hive! Scout bees fly from the colony in search of pollen and nectar. If successful in finding surplus supplies of food, the scouts return to the hive and “dance” on the honeycomb.

The honeybee first walks straight ahead, strongly shaking its abdomen and producing a buzzing sound with the beat of its wings; the distance and speed of this movement communicates the distance of the scavenging site to the others. Communicating direction becomes more complex, as the dancing bee aligns her body in the direction of the food, relative to the sun–which changes throughout the day. The entire dance pattern is a figure-eight loop, with the bee repeating the straight waggle each time it circles to the center.

Honeybees also use two varieties of the waggle dance to direct others to food sources closer to home. The round dance, a series of narrow, circular motions, alerts colony members to the presence of food within 50 meters of the hive. This dance only communicates the relative distance of the supply, not the direction. The sickle dance, a crescent-shaped pattern of moves, alerts workers to food supplies within 50-150 meters from the hive, functioning similar to the round.

After performing the waggle dance, the scout bees may share some of the foraged food with the following workers, to communicate the quality of the food supply available at the location.

honey bee waggle dance

Discovery

The honeybee dance was observed and noted by Aristotle as early as 330 B.C. Karl von Frisch, a professor of zoology in Munich, Germany, earned the Nobel Prize in 1973 for his groundbreaking research and explanation on this dance language. Frisch’s The Dance Language and Orientation of Bees, published in 1967, presents fifty years of research on honeybee communication.

Odor Communication

Besides the waggle dance, honeybees use odor cues from food sources to transmit information to other bees. Some researchers believe the scout bees carry the unique smells of flowers they visit on their bodies, and that these odors must be present for the waggle dance to work. Using a robotic honeybee programmed to perform the waggle dance, scientists noticed the followers could fly the proper distance and direction but were unable to identify the specific food source present there. When the floral odor was added to the robotic honeybee, other workers could locate the flowers.

Odor cues also transmit important information to members of the honeybee colony. The queen bee produces a unique odor that tells the community she is alive and well, which wafts throughout the hive from bees’ wings passing the scent along. When a queen is introduced to a colony, the bees must get familiar with her smell to recognize her as their own. To help with the transition, beekeepers will keep a new queen in a separate cage within the hive for a few days.

Also, pheromones produced and secreted by the queen control reproduction in the hive. She emits pheromones that keep female workers disinterested in mating,​ while also using pheromones to encourage male drones to mate with her.

Hive Defense

The waggle dance is not just used for pointing to food, though; they communicate incoming attacks. As a wasp approaches, the honey bees vibrate and perform round dances to warn of nearby danger. Workers will rush for any nearby foul odor-producing fauna; anything that would deter predators from approaching the hive will be smeared near the entrance. Their dance of beats, buzzes, and movement allows for quick dissemination of the warning, enabling immediate action when the hive is threatened.

Hormones play a role in the defense of the hive as well. After stinging, a worker honeybee produces a pheromone that alerts its fellow workers to the threat. That pheromone is why a careless intruder may suffer numerous bee stings if a honeybee colony is disturbed.

Linguistics: Waggle’s Sophistication

Why is the waggle dance so accurate? More so, does the waggle dance allow for more messages than just pointing to food? How close is it to language, as we humans see it?

Bees have “words” with the buzzing and length of dances; bees have grammar for the order in which they communicate, to get attention and walk through instructions in order; bees have rules for how they address others.

The only real differences between our languages and theirs is that ours is learned and limitless, while theirs is known from birth and has limits–though we are not exactly sure what those limits are (scientists thought the waggle just communicated food until they proved a bee warned its hive of a wasp).

Bees barbecue

How to Get Rid of Bees in your Barbecue Grill

July 12, 2021 Uncategorized

Bee Swarm on top of a Bell

The heat of a Texas summer presents a great opportunity for many to wind down in the outdoors–swimming and having a nice BBQ on the grill.

Nothing ruins that blissful bite of your freshly broiled hamburger more than some buzzing buddies getting all up in your business. After all, why do they insist on disturbing this sit-back second, of all times? Well, it’s their instinct.

Your BBQ simply attracts bees for the simple aim of food, as the smell attracts bees and neighbors alike. Furthering the attraction for the bees, a bright and sweet palette (like a side of watermelon) reminds honey bees of the flowers they forage.

Not all hope is lost though; you can still grill with some simple steps:

  1. Seal your food.
  2. Isolate the food.
  3. Stay calm.

An easy step is to cover your food. Since bees are primarily attracted by the smell, blocking such masks the palette presence. Covering a plate with paper towels is the most basic step to disrupting the smell, but you really need a seal if you want to block off the scent. This step is especially simple with any side dishes, with proper preparation. Put any watermelon or potato salad in a tupperware before bringing it outside for the tightest seal; plastic wrap or equivalent would be the next best seal if tupperware is not available or convenient. Naturally, you can perform similar operations on your grilled items as you see fit.

The next step is to keep food away from your party. One way to help dampen the aroma of your BBQ is to leave the entrees and sides inside (the house has a pretty good seal). If you want to keep food outside though, just keep the serving table away from where you’ll sit for a lower chance of honey bees being your buddies.

The most important step is to stay calm. Do not aggravate the bees–especially do not aggravate a nest–and assess the situation. If the buzzing buddies become a problem, or you feel they are, get help. Do not try to kill a nest by yourself, else the nest left behind may cause future problems. Call up a bee removal professional (we would be happy to help) and properly say farewell to those buzzing buddies.

The Invasion of the Murder Hornets

March 7, 2021 Uncategorized

Are Murder Hornets in Texas?

2020 was a crazy year; what was even crazier is introducing the “murder hornets,” also known as the Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa Mandarinia). They are the largest in the world. On average, they can get up to 2-inches long and have a 3-inch long wingspan.

Native to Japan, Taiwan, and other Asian countries, these giant hornets are more aggressive with a powerful stinger. The venom of the Asian Giant Hornet has eight various chemicals making it more potent than any bee sting. Unlike a honeybee, the Asian Giant Hornet can give multiple stings because it is smooth with no barbs and challenging to perform a hornet removal.

An easy way to identify an Asian Giant Hornet is by its distinct orange head. The body has dark brown and yellow stripes all over its body. They are attracted to tree saps and are known to eat entire beehives. Asian Giant Hornets use their mandibles to attack prey instead of their stingers.

Honeybees play an essential role in the environment. This introduction of a new predator will bring a lot of damage to our ecosystem.
The misconception that this hornet can kill comes from the exceedingly rare cases where people die from anaphylactic shock. In Japan, these hornets are part of the daily diet being fried or used for cooking.

Fortunately, there have only been reports in Washington state. Other cases of the “murder hornet” have been different species of wasps and bees that people fail to identify correctly. In Texas, cicada killers are often mistaken for murder hornets because of their size. They are solitary wasps in the family Crabronidae and fly low to the ground.

How to get Rid of a Hornet’s Nest

If you ever encounter a murder hornet or another type of hornet, a hornet removal is your safest bet. You want to make sure to plan accordingly and be safe at all times. Even if you plan to do the hornet removal yourself, you have to make sure you are prepared and covered if there is an attack from the murder hornet(s).

So, plan your strategy. Make sure you have a thick garbage bag and thick clothes if you want to treat your area. An attack after sunset gives you a better opportunity to combat hornets because they will be less active during this time. While the sun sets, be careful to use any light source. Hornets can not see in the dark, so that a light source will frighten them, and they will start attacking.

We do more than Hornet Removals

While murder hornets do not relatively live in America, we will still do hornet removals any time. Any problems or encounters with cicada killers, wasps, honeybees, or hornets, call Bee Safe Bee Removal for a same-day hornet removal. We can take care of the issue, and you don’t have to risk your safety!

Bee Swarm In Houston

What is a bee swarm?

April 14, 2020 Uncategorized
Honey Bee Swarm

Why do honeybees swarm?

Over the wintertime, the queen bee begins laying eggs in preparation for the coming months. With the arrival of spring and warm weather bees increase their outdoor activity; along with the hatching of new bees, the hive starts to become small and congested. Just as humans need more space to live and thrive, so do honeybees. Half of the honeybee colony begins to eat as much honey as they possibly can before they relocate into a new home. They will then protect the queen by surrounding her and keeping her in the middle, thus creating a honeybee swarm. When bees swarm, they will often pick a landing place to give their scouts time to gather information on nearby habitable nesting areas. This is when bees may choose to land on the side of your home or landscape.

Bee Swarm Removal

Should I be worried about bee swarms? Are they dangerous?

Bee swarms usually gather and leave within about 24-48 hours. Bees are typically waiting on their scouts to come back with the location of a place deemed suitable to build their hives and honeycombs. Once the scout bees return the bee swarm makes its move. Swarming bees are surprisingly docile; they are focused on finding a new home; not to mention the fact that they are heavy and sluggish from having their bellies full of honey. That being the case, we still suggest that you call a professional bee removal company like Bee Safe Bee Removal. Although bees tend to be more docile during the swarming process there may be a few exceptions, and we value your safety above all else. It is also a great idea to call Bee Safe Bee removal if you feel or fear that a bee swarm is choosing to turn your home into their permanent nesting place.

Bee Safe Bee Removal

Professional Beekeepers serving the great state of Texas

Bee Safe Bee Removal has vast experience in the safe & humane removal of beehives and bee swarms. Being worried that bees may make your home their potential nesting area is entirely understandable, and we can help. Bee Safe Bee removal values your safety and protection as well as the safety of your home. We have over 40 years of experience and know just what to do in every situation that you may encounter. Calling us early before bees have time to nest and create honeycomb may be the difference from a $300 job and a $1000 job. Once honeybees are established, they will tend to be more aggressive as they no longer are full of honey. This is yet another reason to take the proper precautions and call trained professionals. So, the next time you see a beehive don’t hesitate to a licensed professional bee removal company. Call 1-833-BEE-SAFE. Saving bees everywhere.

What is the price of bee removal?

How much does it cost to have bees removed?

April 2, 2020 Uncategorized

The cost of bee removal is dependent on three things:

  • The location of the bees
  • The size of the beehive
  • Height of the removal process

Swarm Removals

Swarm Removals are various price ranges. You should expect to add another 50 to 100 dollars or possibly more for swarms located on a tall tree or buildings. You will also have to pay more for the accessibility of the bees. In other words, the harder the bees are to get to, the more you will have to pay to get them removed. Swarms are big bundles of bees looking to set up a brand new hive once their original hive has grown too big. We do not recommend attempting to remove them yourself as they may become very aggressive and attack, call Bee Safe Bee Removal. Prices vary depending on the size of the hive and the complexity of the removal process. 

Beehive Removal Without Construction

The second type of bee removal that we offer here at Bee Safe Bee Removal is a hive removal without construction. Bee relocations of this type include water meter boxes, trees, trash cans, and any other hollow structures. These types of removals are prevalent during the springtime as bees are fresh off of being dormant for the wintertime. Prices vary depending on the size of the hive and the complexity of the removal process

Beehive Removal Without Repair

The third type of beehive removal is removal that does not involve any repairs. Often, customers will decide to go ahead and remodel a specific section of their homes after we perform an extraction. In this case, we go ahead and open up the building, remove the bees and leave the area open for their contractors to go in and start their remodel. Prices are typically a little bit lower than the full hive removal requiring construction, where our team seals the area with insulation and replaces the removed portion of the building. Prices vary depending on the size of the hive and the complexity of the removal process. 

Beehive Removal With Construction

The fourth type of bee removal that we offer is bee removal requiring construction. Bee Removals that need construction are more costly due to the intricacies of the process. This would involve potentially having to remove drywall, chimneys, roofing, and then correctly sealing the area where the bees were extracted. These are very important as many people often times call exterminators to kill the bees and thus leaving the honeycomb inside the walls of their home. This leaves behind honey, which eventually rots and attracts rats, birds, and eventually beetle larvae. Prices vary depending on the size of the hive and the complexity of the removal process.

Avoid this issue by calling one of Bee Safe Bee Removals professional beekeepers to resolve your issue.

 

Professional Beekeeper preventing bee infestations

Who to Call When You Have a Bee Infestation

March 30, 2020 Uncategorized

You can call a pest control company, possibly a carpenter, or you can call a beekeeper to remove bee infestations. A carpenter won’t know how to properly remove the bees, and a pest control company will come and kill the bees, but they won’t remove the hive, comb, dead bees, honey… This will eventually create a disaster, leaving you with a huge mess, and most probably damage to your home – a lot of damage – that will require a lot of money to fix. So save yourself aggravation, time, and money and call the right people from the beginning to remove bee infestations. Call a bee removal company that employs a beekeeper.

There are generally three types of beekeepers:

  • The Hobbyist
  • The Part-Time beekeeper
  • The Professional

 

The hobbyist beekeeper

This person is more than happy to come to your property and remove the bees to relocate to an apiary that they are building. Most hobbyist beekeepers are not licensed, nor are they insured, and most of them do not have construction experience. They probably won’t remove the hive, comb, and honey – but they may. They won’t bee proof your home, and you will just end up with another beehive.

The part-time beekeeper

The part-time beekeeper removes bees from structures that have some knowledge of construction, but in all honesty, has limited experience, and may not be licensed, or insured. They are more concerned with retrieving the bees than they are in doing as little damage to the property as possible. Thus resulting in the destruction of the property, or ruining the property integrity.

The professional beekeeper

This beekeeper will be licensed, and a good company will also be insured. Professionals come with varying years of experience. A licensed beekeeper in Texas will be licensed through the Texas Department of Agriculture, which will also mean that they have a Pest Control license. It’s important for a beekeeper to also be qualified to use insecticides as this is an important step in bee infestations. There are always some worker bees who are out working when their hive is removed and relocated. Unfortunately, these strays don’t know where their community has moved, so they’ll try to re-establish in their old location. The insecticide is an unfortunate necessity to keep this from happening. A professional beekeeper will train their people in proper removal techniques, and they also abide by a set of standards, ethics, and integrity. They also use professional equipment, for example, Bee Safe Bee Removal employs the use of infrared cameras to locate the hive within a home or building. This camera lessens the damage done to the property.

Can you imagine the damage done to your property by a beekeeper who is punching holes into your ceiling, or walls, on the hunt to locate the hive? A professional beekeeper knows what precautions to take – they know how much of an area to cordon off for people’s safety. They will know when it’s necessary to ask people to leave an area. A carpenter, won’t know how to do this, and a pest control company definitely won’t do it, because, well – they exterminate. Smoke is used when relocating a hive. This can be dangerous, and can, if improperly used, result in a structure fire. This is another great reason why it’s not only important to use a licensed beekeeper, but also an insured company.

Bee Safe Bee Removal is insured up to two million dollars per location.

It’s important for the company that you choose to be a member of multiple associations. Examples of the type of association you want them to be affiliated with are, the Trinity Valley Association, Texas Department of Agriculture, and the Dallas Apiary Society. Having an Inter-state Transportation Permit is highly recommended and a good keeper will have this. Another important license to have is a Pesticide Application License – you really shouldn’t hire a beekeeper who doesn’t have this essential license that can not prevent a bee infestation. Look for a company that has a great online reputation with an ability to remove bee infestations. A company that has a five-star rating, a company that has longevity, how many good vs. bad reviews do they have? Look for a company that is rated by Google Guarantee (an insured program,) that is a Yelp Premier customer, that has a BBB A+ rating. This will ensure you get a removal that can stop bee infestations.

Checklist for choosing a bee removal company:

  1. Are they a pest control company, a carpenter, or a licensed beekeeping relocation service? (In case you haven’t figured it out – you want to use the licensed beekeeping relocation service.)
  2. Is the beekeeping company licensed, and are they insured?
  3. How long have they been in business?
  4. How much experience do they have removing bee infestations?
  5. Do they have a good online reputation?
  6. Who are they rated with BBB, Google, Angie’s List, and what are those ratings?
  7. What associations are they a member of?
  8. Can their memberships be easily found on their website?
  9. Are their memberships in local and/or state beekeeping associations?
  10. What licenses and permits do they have?
  11. A Pesticide Application License?
  12. An Inter-state Transportation Permit?
  13. Licensed through their state agriculture department?

 

Why it’s important for a bee removal company to hold a pesticide applicator license.

It’s important to know why a company needs a pesticide applicator license. Some companies may decide that it’s easier to exterminate, rather than relocate. At Bee Safe Bee Removal, we have a pesticide application license because it’s one of the steps we employ in our removal process. We do not kill the bees in the hive. We safely remove them and relocate them.  Once the bees are relocated from the property, the hive, comb, and honey are removed. Then, and only then is pesticide applied. The only reason we apply the pesticide is so that any strays that come back to the location of their hive cannot start a new colony. I guarantee that a carpenter, and a pest control company won’t meet many of the above checklists. Really, your best option is a beekeeping relocation service that meets that the high standards discussed in this article, and will also properly bee proof your property or remove bee infestations.

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