Honey Bees in Brickwork of House in UK

When you think of bees, you might think about honey or a bad experience you once had getting stung by one. What many people do not consider, however, is the damage that a bee infestation can do to the home. If you see a few bees in or around your home, there are probably going to be more of them close by. There are different types of bees that can damage your home in a variety of different ways, and if you suspect that there are bees in the walls of your home it’s important to have them safely and professionally removed as quickly as possible, in order to limit the damage done.

Types of Bees in Brickwork and the Damage They Can Cause:

Honey Bees in Brick Wall:

Fresh honey from the comb is something most of us would love, but not when it’s happening in the walls of your home. Honeybees enter the home through small openings in soffits and eaves and construct honeycombs that can end up filling the entire wall cavity. Along with having hundreds or even thousands of bees living in your walls, there is a significant potential for structural damage. The weight of the growing colony can cause serious damage to the walls, fences, and roofs where they are living and the honey, waste, and other wax will seep through the walls and damage your home’s interior as the pressure builds.

Carpenter Bees in Brickwork of House:

Despite the name, carpenter bees aren’t going to fix anything around the house. In fact, they are well-known for creating tunnels in unsealed or unpainted wood, where they lay their eggs. Carpenter bees do not eat the wood as termites do, but they can cause some serious damage as they burrow into it. Wood that is typically unseen in the house, such as behind the brickwork might be unsealed and unpainted, providing a prime location for female carpenter bees to create nests.

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Mason Bees in Brick:

Unlike honeybees, mason bees tend to be solitary, so there is no risk of them building an expansive colony in the brickwork of your home. However, they tunnel into the mortar to make their shelter and will happily set up a home in your brickwork. Since they tend to work alone there is less damage risk to your home with this type of bee, but their numbers can grow and eventually become a threat to the structure of your walls.

How Bees Nest in Brickwork and Cause Damage:

Honeybees are the type of bee with the most potential to cause structural damage to your home. In the wild, they tend to make their nests in hollow logs that offer ample shelter and enough room to build intricate honeycomb mazes. Unfortunately, there are various locations in your home and garden that are more than suitable choices for the honeybee. If you’re lucky they might choose a tree in your garden, but the inside of the walls in your home is also a very appealing option. Bees will often choose the walls facing south or east in a property to take advantage of warmth from the sun, and they can easily access the area from eaves and soffits, with a small hole or crack measuring one-eighth of an inch all it takes for a honeybee to enter. Once the nest is established, the bees will fill the wall cavity with honeycombs, honey, wax, and other waste until it is full, and they don’t work alone – the population of a single nest could easily grow to up to 40,000 bees or more.

The Damage Caused by Bees Nesting in Brickwork UK:

Since bee colonies can grow to thousands of bees, the sheer weight of a large bee colony is often all it takes to cause serious structural damage to the walls, chimney, and roof in your home. And as the hives grow larger, the mounting pressure can lead to melting wax, honey, and bee waste products pushing through the walls, leaving damaging stains on the interior painted and wallpapered surfaces. In addition, a bee infestation in the brickwork of your home can leave a strong odour that will attract other pests such as insects and rodents, causing further damage to the structure of your home. Once a nest has become too crowded for the bees living inside of it, they will split their population and move into the nearest available location, which is more often than not going to be another wall in your home.

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How to Tell if There’s a Bee Brick Problem in the Walls:

Since bees are attracted to brick walls and the wall cavity to nest and colonise, it makes sense to be aware of the following tell-tale signs that there might be a bee infestation in your home.

Sudden Appearance of Brick Bees:

If you’re in your home and you know that you haven’t opened a door or window, seeing a bee indoors is usually a tell-tale sign that you might have a problem. While there is a chance that one single bee has managed to sneak into your home through a hole in the exterior, there’s usually a bigger chance that this is just one of many bees that are living inside your home.

Buzzing Sounds:

While this one might seem obvious, it’s a sign that many people forget about or completely ignore, putting it down to electronics or something else. But if you are hearing buzzing sounds coming from the walls in your home, there’s a large chance that a colony of bees has set up their home inside. The louder and more frequent the buzzing sounds are, the larger the swarm is likely to be.

How to Identify the Bees in Air Brick Walls:

There are thousands of bee species around the world, but only a few types of bees that would make their hives between your walls. To correctly identify bees as the problem in your walls, it’s important to look at them closely. Calling in a professional or finding a bee that is already dead is your best option if you want to avoid harming the bee or risking getting stung yourself. Honeybees are usually characterised by the following:

  • Darker colour ranging from yellow to black
  • No obvious thinning between the abdomen and thorax, unlike wasps
  • Hair all over the body
  • A black and brown band across the abdomen

Carpenter bees are typically similar to honeybees in appearance, however, they are much larger. A honeybee will usually be around two-thirds of an inch long. Looking at the hind legs of the bee will also help you identify if you have a honeybee problem or if your home is being used as a nest for a different type of bee. Honeybees have a ‘basket’ located at the hind legs known as a corbicula, and they will also have yellow pollen sacs where they hold the pollen. If these characteristics are missing, you may be looking at a carpenter bee, bumblebee, or a wasp.

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How to Remove Bees in Hole in Brick Wall:

A colony of bees can grow up to having thousands of bees living in it, and one beehive can hold up to 80 pounds of honeycomb. You can listen to your walls using a stethoscope to hear the buzzing and get an estimated idea of how far the colony is extending within your walls and how many bees are living in it.

You will want to first remove the bees and then the hive to ensure that neither is harmed. Bees are important to the ecosystem, therefore, you can use a process known as neutralisation to safely remove them without causing any damage. The best thing to do is contact a professional who can do this on your behalf with the right tools and experience.

Protecting Yourself from Brick Bees Infestations:

While bees are not known for stinging people unless they feel threatened, it is important to ensure that you have the right protective equipment if you are going to examine the bees living in your wall cavity or want to start the removal process. Hiring a professional is the best way to remove the bees since they will be experienced in the process and have access to safety equipment. If you have an allergy to bee stings, it is best not to take the risk of trying to remove the bees yourself and call a professional to help.

Whenever you are checking the walls or if you are inside the home while the professional is working, use protective clothing, a face shield, and gloves to limit your risk of getting stung. A professional will use a smoker to safely remove the bees from your walls by tricking them into thinking that there is a fire, which encourages the bees to make an exit and find a different hive. A bee vacuum can then be used to safely remove the bees and place them in a hive chamber until they are moved to a more suitable home.

Brick walls make an attractive place for honeybees and other types of bees to nest and create a hive. However, over time this can cause serious damage to the structure of your home. If you have noticed any tell-tale signs of bees living in your walls, it’s time to act quickly.