Swarm Information

Types of Honey Bee Removals

Before contacting a beekeeper for removal services, please look at the information below and verify that you are indeed looking at honey bees.  Note that honeybees will rarely have nests in the ground (more likely to be yellowjackets or bumblebees) or exposed comb hanging from eaves or other building overhangs (probably wasps or hornets). Beekeepers will usually refuse to remove wasps, hornets, or bumblebees. Also, you should ask anyone doing a cutout (bee removal that involves modification of structure) if they are licensed by the State to conduct removals.

Image of Yellow Stripey Things
A guide to “Yellow Stripey Things” [Used under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/.]


Honeybee removals can be classified into two primary types for removal identification.

Free Standing Swarm

The first type of removal involves capturing and removing a free-standing honeybee swarm.  This is a group of honeybees tightly clustered together, often with little to no honey comb.  Swarms can settle on branches or other objects, such as the car below. Swarming honeybees are not aggressive as long as they are not disturbed. Removal of free-standing swarms is often low cost or free as long as the beekeeper is allowed to keep the swarm to establish a new hive colony. Note that beekeepers will generally refuse to handle swarms that have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals because they are not interested in collecting unhealthy, poisoned bees. Some pictures of honeybee swarms are provided below:

Swarm Picture
Picture of a swarm in tree



The second type of removal involves removal of an established bee colony and is known as a cutout.  Such removals are more involved and more costly than for free-standing swarms. Removing established colonies from homes may require opening up the siding or framing, removing the established colony, cleaning the colony area, and replacing or repairing affected structure. Removal experts must be licensed by the state, so you might want to ask for proof of license before you contract any cutout services.

The button below will take you to a list of CDBA members that may be willing to provide swarm removal services or cutouts of colonies established in homes, trees, or other structures. Before contacting a beekeeper on the list please verify that the colony is actually composed of honeybees.  Beekeepers will not generally remove wasps or hornets (you should call a pest removal provider for wasps and hornets).