Removing a bee nest - what you need to know

Removing a bee nest - what you need to know

How to recognize a bee's nest

In addition to bees, there are other insects that form colonies and create similar nests. Many of them avoid human proximity, even when they settle in gazebos or in the attic. Most species are harmless and perform useful functions in the garden.

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Nest coverhabitatSpecialty
Beesunavailableprotected, well-hidden cavitiesHoneycomb panels recognizable
German waspGraydark, protected areasuse wood that has been weathered on the surface
Common waspbeigedark, protected areasrotten wood from rotting tree trunks
hornetzoned red-brown to orangerain-protected, dark cavitiesAir pockets on the outer shell, with opening at the bottom

Where bees settle

Only in the rarest of cases does a swarm of honey bees look for a new habitat and settle in private gardens. In this case, the local beekeeper is happy to receive information about where his colony is. Bee nests in the house mostly come from wild bees.

Earth bees

About 70 percent of all wild bees build their nests in the ground. They use existing duct systems in the ground that were left behind by voles or moles. These so-called earth or sand bees can often be seen in the garden. They differ not only in their coloration but also in the size of honeybees. Earth bees can grow to be between four and 16 millimeters. They are completely harmless and do not pose any danger to humans.

Mason bees

Remove the bee's nest

These wild bees can often be found in the house, under the roof or in the roller shutter box. The harmless culture followers use various cavities in the roof structure or in flower boxes (13.18 € at Amazon *) on the balcony to build their nests. Round and smooth drill holes with a diameter of six to eight millimeters are ideal nesting sites.

How to keep mason bees out of the apartment:

  • Prevent nest building and seal cavities before settlement
  • Place populated furniture in a shed after the autumn excursion
  • Offer hardwood blocks as nesting places on the balcony and terrace

Nest removal hopeless

Moving a nest of mason bees is only possible with great effort. They would have to wait until the larvae are in their cocoons. Then the nest closure and partition walls are carefully scratched open so that the cocoon behind it can be carefully removed with a wire.

When all cocoons have been rescued, they are individually placed in the drill holes and tubes of the new nesting aid. The holes must be closed with a drop of clay. Mason bees are fixed on their nesting sites and are unable to complete a new nest. Since there is too great a risk that animals will be injured during this action, you should not do this.

Relocate the bee nest yourself?

While there are numerous instructions on how to relocate a bee nest yourself, you should stay away from such methods. It doesn't matter when the nest is to be relocated. The risk of injury is too high for you and the bees, even if it is still a small bee nest.

Legal situation

Bees are among the particularly protected species in Germany. The protection status applies to both wild bees that are not tended by a beekeeper and honey bees. The insects take on important functions in the ecosystem. They ensure that countless flowering plants are pollinated and in this way secure the harvest. Anyone who acts against the law risks fines between 50,000 and 60,000 euros.

It is forbidden:

  • Intentionally killing or trapping bees
  • Deliberately disturbing bee colonies
  • Damage or remove nests


Bee deaths

The term bee mortality refers on the one hand to the losses within the beekeeping culture. In the past few decades they have observed significant losses in their bee colonies. But as long as there are beekeepers, honey bees will not die out. The term is also used as a technical term that refers to the death of wild bees. More than 50 percent of German wild bees are on the red list of endangered species. In the media, the term bee deaths is often used synonymously for general insect death.

Have the honey bee nest removed

In order not to risk a legal penalty, you should contact a professional. This can assess whether the nest can and must be relocated. Points such as existing family allergies or the proximity to kindergartens play an important role in the analysis.

Bees are useful insects that live in peaceful coexistence with humans.

Consult beekeepers

Relocation by a local beekeeper is the best and cheapest option. Beekeepers charge an average of 50 euros for relocation. Many beekeepers relocate honeybees' nests free of charge because they can increase their honey production through relocation. If you don't know a beekeeper, you can contact the responsible state beekeeping association or the municipality. NABU can also help you with your search.


Fire brigade or exterminator only in an emergency

If there is acute danger, you can also contact the local fire department. Here you have to reckon with costs between 100 and 150 euros. Professional exterminators can also remove annoying nests. Since bees are extremely useful animals, you should carefully reconsider your decision and refrain from destroying them by an exterminator.


Bug sprays are toxic not only to bees and other beneficial insects but also to humans. To keep away, choose ecological alternatives like scented candles or tea tree oil

Relocate the wild bee nest

If wild bees have settled in your garden, you need to consult a wild bee expert. The responsible environmental agency then decides whether the nest can be relocated. In order to get a permit, there must be a valid reason. This exists when not only humans but also wild bees are endangered. If the decision is positive, a suitable relocation procedure will be chosen. This depends on the type.

Good reasons for relocation:

  • Forest paths must be paved
  • Fields and arable land need more fertilization
  • Nest is in a private pile of firewood
  • Wild bees nest between flower pots or in window seals


Cut a lemon in half and crumble a clove on top. Bees loathe the smell and naturally stay away from you.

frequently asked Questions

What to do if a bee flies around the apartment in winter?

Young queens look for sheltered spots to overwinter in autumn. These can be columns and niches in facades or window frames. If you wake up during the winter due to increased temperatures in the house, your chance of survival is negligible.

You can still help the bee by holding out a teaspoon of liquid honey. Equip a jar with moist soil and tufts of grass and place the bee in the container. Put the jar in the refrigerator for a few days. The cold-blooded animals reduce their metabolism again.

If you are still in the middle of winter, you should move the bee outside on a frost-free winter day. Put the animal in a rain-protected brushwood pile or pile of wood where the bee can hibernate until next spring. If spring is approaching, you can leave the insect in the refrigerator until the first warm spring days and then put it outside.

How do honey bees live?

The insects belong to the state-building animals that build their nests in spring. A part of the old bee colony swarms out to look for a new home. This gives the bees enough time to stock up for the winter. During the high season, the colony can include up to 50,000 individuals. It consists of a queen, workers and drones.

What is the bee year?

The bee year is divided into four phases, which are linked to the seasons. In the spring the population grows and swarms form, which found new states. In the next storage period, the bees collect nectar and pollen. The beekeeper can bring in up to three harvests depending on the region and the weather.

In late summer there is a so-called drone battle, in which all male bees are banned from the beehive. After the last honey harvest, the bees are usually fed a beet sugar solution. The winter bees hatch and hibernate in the hive until spring.

How can I keep bees away?

A peaceful coexistence of humans and bees is not only harmless but also fascinating. So that the paths don't cross, you should treat the bees to an undisturbed area in the garden. Create a flower-rich wild plant border that supplies the insects with pollen and nectar. Prefer plants with yellow and white flowers. These reflect the ultraviolet light visible to bees. They are also able to recognize shades of blue.

On the other hand, they cannot tell the difference between black and red. These colors make many bees aggressive, which is why you should avoid dark-colored clothing. If you want to keep bees away from the balcony and terrace, you can set up plant pots with basil and lemongrass. The smells have a deterrent effect on bees and wasps.