Honey bees aren’t honestly that much of a danger to people — even those intimidating-looking swarms that involve two thousand or more bees moving in a huge group are made up of some of the most docile bees you’ll ever meet. Unless they get tangled up in your hair or you sit on one, you’re almost perfectly safe standing in the middle of a honey bee swarm.
Nope, the “safely” involved in removing honey bees in Berkeley homes or businesses is the safety of the bees, not of the people around them. Sure, if you break a hive or otherwise agitate the colony, you’re going to get stung if you don’t have a beekeeper’s suit on. But by and large, we’re a far greater threat to the bees than they are to us.
In fact, one of the biggest dangers a honey bee hive poses to humans is if someone comes along and kills all of the bees with a poison like insecticide. At that point, the mass of honey and bees starts to rot, which can stink up your whole house, attract new predators of both the bee and non-bee varieties.
So how do you safely remove bees if you don’t intend to kill them? It’s surprisingly difficult, actually, because of how and where bees build their colonies — because it’s almost always inside some dark, hard-to-reach space.
The first step is finding the colony, assuming you don’t already know where it is. A pest control expert can come out with a stethoscope or other equipment and carefully listen for the buzzing of the hive on the other side of the wall. Once it’s been found, a contractor will have to make a hole in the wall, at which point the pest controller can (all dressed appropriately, of course) carefully break the colony into chunks and move it into a special box that will allow any free-flying swarmmates to get in and join their family, but won’t let any bees out.
Give that box a day to sit and collect the flyers, get your wall patched back up, and then you can move on with your newly bee-free life. Way to bee!