A new homeowner discovered a horrific surprise living in his ceiling just days after buying a home. What he originally thought was a large beehive turned out to be much more alarming. Inside the ceiling of a Dallas, home was a gory, dark soup of decaying honey, dead bees and hundreds of hive beetles and their larvae. This horror film worthy mess was a result of a bee extermination gone very wrong.
The new homeowner discovered honey dripping from the walls of his home and called Bee Safe Bee Removal. Using an infrared camera, the bee removal specialist detected activity coming from the ceiling where a hive was exterminated. The next day the expert bee removal team opened the ceiling revealing black, molasses-like liquid, dead bees, hive beetles and hundred of very active larvae.
Many people would like to know how to kill bees or exterminate bees. However, there are many costly disadvantages to killing bees yourself. Even the most seasoned pest control expert cannot solve a beehive problem in a wall or ceiling. Unless a hive is professionally removed after extermination the rotting honey will cause damage to walls, ceilings, structures and expensive electrical work.
When the honey is left inside ceilings or walls the honey becomes black from decay and liquefies into a tar-like substance potentially damaging walls, ceilings, furniture, drapes, carpets and floors. Clean up is difficult because of the dark nature and stickiness of the honey.
As the hive dies the decaying honey will leak and attract many pests including ants, birds, rats, mice, other bees and the notorious hive beetle. Rodents create a biohazard by leaving behind feces and hair. This is particularly dangerous for young children and the elderly because they are more sensitive to allergies. Rodents will also damage structures because they chew through materials to gain access to the honey.
The hive beetle larvae infestation results in an unsightly mess and foul-smelling odor. The female hive beetle can lay approximately 1000 eggs in their lifetime, with some research suggesting an upper limit of 2000 eggs. The female will lay the clusters of approximately 10–30 eggs within capped brood cells or in the small cracks and crevices around the hive. It takes only 1–6 days for larvae to emerge from the eggs, though most hatch within 3 days within a hive.
The larval stage is the most damaging because the larvae immediately start to burrow through combs and cappings, and consume honeybee eggs, pollen and honey. They also defecate throughout the comb, releasing the yeast K. ohmeri, which contaminates the honey in both active hives and stored combs. This yeast causes the honey to ferment, which may cause the hive to become ‘slimed out’ and die.
The developmental period for the larvae depends on the temperature and the availability of food but I can fully develop in as little as eight days. After a feeding period of between 6–14 days larvae enter a ‘wandering’ phase where they could travel outside the honeybee colony to find an appropriate site for pupation. This means that they could travel to bedrooms, kitchens, offices and other areas in a matter of days.
If considering exterminating or killing bees, think twice before reaching for a can of insecticide or calling a pest control service. While it may temporarily solve the problem, what lies beneath may become your own bee horror story.