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       The Introduced European Honey Bee, over many years, has adapted to living in the Australian bush, parks and yards. It has become somewhat feral and is classed as a pest, which is unfortunate in the fact that it causes virtually no structural or environmental damage to residential properties and buildings. It does although have possible negative environmental impacts in the Australian bush due to competition with native fauna for flora resources or nesting sites, and/or inadequate or inappropriate pollination of native flora. 
        Bees have become a pest to so many property owners simply because of their persistence in positioning their hives in buildings close to customers, tenants, visitors and people in general. Some people are highly allergic to bee stings and many bees attack when an unsuspecting person approaches within a certain distance, sometimes on rare occasions with fatal consequences.
        The honey bee is a social insect that can survive only as a member of a colony. The honey bee colony consists of three structurally different forms-the queen (reproductive female), the drone (male), and the worker (nonreproductive female). These castes are associated with different functions in the colony; each caste possesses its own special instincts geared to the needs of the colony.

    In each honey bee colony, there are thousands of worker bees, hundreds of drones, but only a single queen, who is mother to them all.   Anatomically, the queen is strikingly different from the drones and workers. Her body is long, with a much larger abdomen than a worker bee.     Her mandibles, or jaws, contain sharp cutting teeth, whereas her offspring have toothless jaws.  The queen is somewhat larger than drones and workers, especially her abdomen, in which her ovaries are full of eggs. The ovary of the worker bee is shrunken and normally cannot produce eggs.

     The queen's stinger is smooth and she can use it repeatedly, although she uses it only to kill rival queens just after she emerges as an adult.
     The worker’s stinger is barbed and if used against an enemy with soft skin, such as a human, it may remain in the victim's flesh. The worker bee pulls out its own entrails in trying to escape and soon dies. Drones exist solely to mate with queens other than their own, thereby passing on the hive's genetic line.

Treatment and Control of Bees
The best method to combat possible bee problems whilst protecting surrounding bee colonies is to bee-proof your home the best you can. Remove possible nesting sites around your property and inspect outside walls and eaves of your home and outbuildings. Seal openings larger than 5mm in walls, around chimneys and plumbing with silicon or caulking, try not to use expanding foam as this makes any future treatment very difficult if a bee colony finds a way in behind it

Install fine screens (fine wire flymesh) over tops of holes, pipes, vents and openings in water meter/power boxes etc. When a bee colony sends scout bees in search of new hive locations you may notice some constant activity involving a few dozen bees around holes or vents. This usually occurs around September through to January for a period of anywhere between one to fourteen days, before the whole bee colony will swarm to it’s most preferred location. A quick application after nightfall to these areas using a common surface spray at his early stage will deter scout bees and hopefully prevent a hive from being formed. It should be noted that bees are very sensitive to almost every insecticide and therefore easy to deter and/or control, although a danger of multiple stings exists for homeowners and children when someone other than a professional pest manager tries to seal or treat an active hive that has been established in a difficult to treat area such as a wall cavity. Much of the effectiveness of treatment relies on delivering the chemical directly into the centre of the colony, this can be difficult if a hive is in a wall cavity a couple of feet away from the entry point. At Eyre Peninsula Pest & Weed Control we prefer a treatment involving insecticidal dust if a bee colony cannot be accessed and relocated, because with our professional cordless dust applicator a wall cavity can be entirely filled with a very fine cloud of safe to use insecticidal powder. This professional method is safe, economical, and effective for all involved.

Eyre Peninsula Pest & Weed Control

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