May 29, 2012 – A Catch And Release Policy


I have a customer that has bees and bats. He does not want the use of chemicals on either but rather wants them to be migrated (taken from his property). How can I achieve this?


If these bats and bees are currently living and comfortable within his home then you may have a problem. If so, the bats are probably going to be easier to deal with than the bees, and this customer may have to accept that killing the bees could be required. They certainly cannot be allowed to continue living within the walls of a home as the hive and honey ultimately will create awful problems for the home, and if these bees have an established hive with honey and larvae then that hive will have to be exposed and removed completely once the bees are gone. This is the reality of this situation - there is going to have to be some extensive and expensive work to open up the void where the bees are and remove it and then repair the damage. 

We could say much the same thing about the bats if they have been living in this home for a long time. There is probably an serious accumulation of feces in their roosting areas, and this really must be removed properly and the area sanitized. Animal feces will attract many insects and poses a serious health concern for people living around it. Your role on the bats is to find their entry points, create a one-way opening to allow them to leave but not return, and then to permanently seal those openings so no bats can get back into the structure. However, this time of year you may very well have baby bats in there, and since they cannot leave they would die without their parents, and this is not a reasonable thing to allow. Discuss with your local wildlife agency the likelihood of bats raising young at this time of year, and you may have to allow them to remain their until the young can also leave on their own. 

Once you are able to allow ALL the bats to exit the structure and then prevent their return you may encourage the customer to install "bat houses" around his property, offering the bats an alternative place to live. Since he likes the bats and the benefits of them this could be something he would go for. Otherwise, it really is not your role to capture the bats and relocate them yourself. 

With the bees, start by contacting local beekeepers to see if any of them are interested in obtaining more bees. There are ways to remove bees from an existing hive in a structure, but it is pretty elaborate and most beekeepers may not want to deal with it. If this is simply a swarm of honeybees outdoors then all that is needed is to ignore them for a couple of days and the swarm will move along. Also, if these are NOT honeybees, but some other kind of bee that may be just solitary bees finding existing holes for their young to live in, control could be just sealing the openings they are using. It is honeybees that pose the problems. 

If no beekeepers want to take part in this then I believe you have no recourse but to kill the bees and ensure the customer knows he then must have someone qualified to do the destruction / reconstruction open the voids, remove the hive and honey, and cleanse the area thoroughly. While it would be nice to salvage the bees and encourage them to live somewhere else, sometimes this is just not possible. 

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