Bees and wasps are valuable to our ecosystem, but hives or colonies can be dangerous and unwelcome. Property owners can choose to have the bees or wasps either exterminated by a pest control company or, in the case of bees, removed to another location by a beekeeper. Costs depend on the type of professional hired, the type of bee or wasp, the size of the hive, any architectural damage that must be repaired, any bee- or wasp-proofing services performed and the professional’s travel costs.
Removal versus extermination
Bees are not just pests; they live useful lives in our ecology, pollinating plants, eradicating other insects, and providing honey and wax. Research has shown that honey bee populations are in stark decline, thanks to parasites, malnutrition due to habitat loss and possibly agricultural chemicals. This decline is having a dramatic effect on some of our crops, so the decision to kill the bees rather than move them is an ethical and practical dilemma. Each choice involves different cost factors. In the case of wasps or hornets, extermination is usually the only option. Many removal and extermination companies charge by the hour.
Type, size, location
Removal costs vary depending on the type of bee or wasp that needs to be removed. The size of the hive is also a cost factor, as is the accessibility of the hive. It costs more to remove a beehive inside a structure, such as in the walls of a house, than one on tree. Likewise, the higher up the hive is, the more it will cost to remove.
Sometimes professionals need to remove elements of a building—insulation, drywall, paint, stucco, walls, ceilings or floorboards—to eliminate a hive. Making necessary repairs after the hive removal will add to the overall cost. Some bee removal companies can make repairs and include these costs in their overall fee.
Professionals can bee-proof certain areas of a property where nesting is most likely to occur, such as trees, air conditioning units, walls, ceilings, vents and sheds. These services are generally offered at an additional cost.
Many beekeepers and exterminators will return to the property free of charge if the bees return within a certain timeframe. For example, Chase Pest Control & Bee Service of Claremont, California, offers a three-year guarantee on all structural bee treatment services. On the flip side, some beekeepers and exterminators may still charge for a service visit even if the bees have suddenly disappeared from the property.
Some beekeepers will remove easy-to-access hives for free or for a travel fee—especially in the case of honeybees. Many beekeepers are interested in easily acquiring a healthy bee colony. However, some beekeepers may balk, even for a price, at collecting bees that are inside a building. Also, most beekeepers won’t accept bees that have been treated with pesticides.