How long can bees live trapped in a wall?

How long can bees live trapped in a wall? This question may arise when you discover these fascinating creatures have made their home within your own. In this blog post, we will investigate the living habits of honey bees and other bee species that may become trapped indoors, as well as their life spans and methods to identify infestations.

We’ll explore various aspects such as nesting habits, swarm behavior, and the life span of different types of bees. Additionally, we will discuss how to identify signs of infestation and possible food sources for these trapped bees.

Honey bees live inside a wall where they have created a queen cell. Uploaded by Emma Jane

As we progress through the article, you’ll learn about effective methods for removing honey bee colonies from walls without causing harm to them or your property. Furthermore, we will touch upon aftercare and prevention tips to ensure a lasting solution to your bee problem.

In essence, understanding how long bees can live trapped in a wall is essential not only for homeowners but also for environmentally friendly individuals who want to protect our precious pollinators while maintaining harmony with nature.

1. Bumble bees

Bumblebees are remarkable organisms that have an essential part in maintaining our environment as pollinators. In this section, we will explore their nesting habits, the queen bee’s role, swarm behavior, carpenter bees, and Africanized bees to understand how long they can live trapped in a wall.

a. Nesting Habits

Bumblebees typically build their nests in natural cavities, such as abandoned rodent burrows or leaf litter on the ground. However, some species may choose cavity walls or other structures within human-made environments for nest sites. These nests usually consist of wax combs where the queen lays her eggs and workers store food supplies like nectar and pollen.

b. Queen Bee

The queen bumblebee is responsible for establishing new colonies each year after emerging from hibernation during early spring. She finds a suitable nest site and begins laying eggs which develop into worker bees that help expand the colony throughout warmer months by gathering food resources and caring for larvae.

c. Swarm Behavior

In contrast to honey bee swarms led by scout bees searching for a new home when their original colony becomes overcrowded, bumblebee swarms are less common but may still occur under certain circumstances – such as when an old queen dies without producing any new queens who can take over leadership roles within the colony.

d . Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are a different type of bee that can also live in walls. They create small holes and tunnels within wood structures to lay their eggs, which may lead to structural damage if left unchecked. Carpenter bees are solitary critters, not congregating in large swarms as bumblebees do.

e . Africanized Bees

Africanized bees, a hybrid of European and African honeybees dubbed “killer bees,” are renowned for their aggression when disturbed. These aggressive insects have been known to establish nests inside wall voids or other enclosed spaces but pose significant risks due to their highly defensive nature when disturbed.

Bees are a vital part of the environment, and studying their nesting behavior can aid in preserving them. Now, let’s explore techniques for extracting bees that have made a home in walls without causing harm.

Key Takeaway: 

Bumblebees may build their nests in natural cavities or human-made environments like cavity walls. The queen bee establishes new colonies yearly, and carpenter bees create small holes within wood structures to lay eggs. Africanized bees can establish nests inside wall voids but pose significant risks due to their highly defensive nature when disturbed.

2. Bee Removal from Walls

Discovering a colony of bees living within the walls of your home can be quite alarming, especially for environmentally friendly moms and dads who want to protect these beneficial insects while also ensuring their family’s safety. In this section, we will discuss the best time for removal, identifying entry points, live removal vs killing the colony, whether to seek professional help or attempt DIY methods, and aftercare and prevention tips.

a. Best Time for Removal

The best time to remove bees from your walls is during late winter or early spring when their population is at its lowest. During colder months like these, bee activity slows down due to cool temperatures which makes it easier to locate and safely remove them without causing harm.

b. Identifying Entry Points

To successfully remove bees from your walls you need first identify where they enter your home through small holes or cracks in the structure called entrance holes. Once you have located these entry points take note of them so that they can later be sealed up as part of an effective prevention strategy against future infestations.

c. Live Removal vs Killing the Colony

Live removal is always recommended. It involves relocating a bee colony rather than exterminating it with chemicals or other harmful means. Live removal is the best option whenever possible since honeybees play such an important role in our ecosystem by pollinating plants and producing honey. However, if live removal isn’t feasible due to safety concerns then contacting a local pest control company may be necessary. Always opt for companies that specialize in humane bee relocation services over those that simply kill off colonies indiscriminately.

d. Professional Help or DIY?

While some homeowners may feel confident in their ability to remove bees from walls on their own, it’s generally a good idea to consult with a local beekeeper or pest control company that specializes in live removals before attempting any DIY methods. These professionals have the necessary experience, equipment, and protective clothing needed for safe and effective bee removal.

e. Aftercare and Prevention Tips

  • Seal up entrance holes: Once the colony has been removed, be sure to seal up all entry points using caulk or other appropriate materials available at your local hardware store.
  • Maintain cleanliness: Keep your property clean by removing possible food sources such as fallen fruit from trees, exposed trash cans, etc., which can attract bees looking for a new nesting site.
  • Create barriers: Install screens over vents and other openings around your home to prevent bees from entering wall voids again in the future.
  • Monitor for activity:

In conclusion, regular inspections of your property will help you detect early signs of infestation so that prompt action can be taken before colonies become well-established within walls. By following these tips, you’ll not only protect yourself against potential stings but also ensure that these vital pollinators continue thriving without causing harm inside our homes.

To conclude, bee removal from walls should always be handled with care and caution to ensure the safety of both humans and bees. In conclusion, prior to settling on a course of action concerning honey bee colonies inhabiting walls for extended durations, it is essential to comprehend how they can endure.

Key Takeaway: 

Discovering a bee colony in your walls can be alarming, but it’s best to remove them during late winter or early spring when their population is lowest. Identify entry points and opt for live removal over killing the colony if possible, seeking professional help or consulting with a beekeeper before attempting DIY methods. Aftercare involves sealing up entrance holes, maintaining cleanliness, and creating barriers to prevent future infestations.

3. Honey Bee Colonies in Walls

When a honey bee population takes up residence inside the walls of your home, it can be quite alarming. In this section, we will uncover how long honey bee colonies can survive in walls, signs of infestation, possible food sources, structural damage they may cause, and the benefits of keeping a hive in a wall.

a. How Long Can They Survive?

Honey bees are resilient creatures that can adapt to various environments. If trapped within a cavity wall or wall voids with access to food and water sources nearby, these beneficial insects have been known to survive for several years. The queen bee typically lives two to five times longer than the worker bees, which have a lifespan of around six weeks during warmer months. A well-established colony could continue thriving as new queens take over when the old queen dies.

b. Signs of Infestation

  • Bee activity: Regular sightings of adult bees near small holes or cracks on your property indicate an entry point for the colony.
  • Sounds: You might hear buzzing sounds coming from inside your walls if there is a large number of bees present.
  • Honey stores: Beeswax combs filled with honey may become visible through gaps or vent holes if left undisturbed for an extended period.
  • Damaged structures: Structural damage caused by expanding wax combs and increased moisture levels due to bee activity should not be overlooked.

c. Possible Food Sources

Honey bees trapped indoors can still access food sources by flying short distances to nearby plants and flowers. They store nectar in their honey stomach, which is then brought back to the hive and converted into honey. A single bee can carry up to 50% of its body weight in nectar, providing a substantial food supply for the colony.

d. Structural Damage

If left unchecked, a colony of bees within your walls could cause significant structural damage over time. Expanding wax combs may lead to warped or weakened wall materials, while moisture from the hive can result in mold growth and wood rot. It’s essential for property owners to address any potential bee problem promptly before it escalates.

e. Benefits of Keeping a Hive in a Wall

While having honey bee colonies inside your walls might not be ideal, there are some benefits worth considering:

  • Pollination: Honey bees play an essential role as pollinators; their annual contribution helps maintain healthy ecosystems and supports agriculture worldwide.
  • Honey production: If you’re interested in harvesting fresh honey from your own backyard without maintaining traditional hives, allowing bees access to suitable nesting sites on your property could be an option.
  • Natural pest control: Bees often prey on harmful insects like aphids or mites that infest gardens or crops – making them valuable allies for organic gardeners.

In conclusion,

The potential advantages of housing honey bee colonies in walls should be weighed against the associated risks. With that being said, let’s explore different types of bees that may inhabit a wall.

Key Takeaway: 

Honey bee colonies can survive for several years in wall cavities if they have access to food and water sources nearby. Signs of infestation include regular sightings of adult bees, buzzing sounds coming from inside walls, visible honey stores through gaps or vent holes, structural damage caused by expanding wax combs, and increased moisture levels due to bee activity. While having honey bee colonies inside your walls might not be ideal, there are some benefits worth considering such as pollination, natural pest control, and potential honey production.

4. Types of Bees That Live in Walls

There are several types of bees that can make their homes within the walls of your house, causing a potential bee problem for property owners. In this section, we will explore the types of bees commonly found in the United States and how they may impact your home.

a. Honey Bees

Honey bees are beneficial insects known for producing honey and pollinating plants. They typically build their nests inside hollow trees or wall cavities, creating wax combs to store honey and raise their young. A well-established colony can contain thousands of adult bees and produce pounds of honey each year.

b. Mason Bees

Mason bees, also known as solitary bees, do not live in large colonies like honey bees but instead construct individual nests using mud or other materials to create small holes in walls or tree limbs for egg-laying purposes.

c. Bumblebees

Bumblebees, including carpenter bees and Africanized bumblebee queens, often nest within wall voids during late winter or early spring when searching for a new nesting site after emerging from hibernation beneath leaf litter on the ground.

d . Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets, which belong to the wasp family, can sometimes be mistaken for bees due to their similar appearance. However, unlike most types of bees, yellow jackets are known for their aggressive behavior and painful stings. They often build nests within wall cavities or other enclosed spaces during the warmer months.

e . Robber Bees

Robber bees are a type of honey bee that invades other colonies to steal food and resources. While they do not typically establish permanent homes in walls like some other species mentioned above, robber bees may temporarily occupy wall voids when searching for new sources of food.

In order to deter these various bee species from infiltrating walls, preventive actions should be taken such as sealing any potential entryways and consulting a pest control service if an infestation is suspected.

Bees dwelling in walls can be bothersome, yet learning the distinct sorts of bees and how to keep them from entering your abode is essential. It is essential to be aware of the techniques available for getting rid of and managing bees if you want to further safeguard yourself from bee invasions.

Key Takeaway: 

Bees of various species, such as honey bees, mason bees, bumblebees, yellow jackets, and robber bees may inhabit the walls of your home. It is important to take preventative measures like sealing up entry points and contacting a local pest control company if you suspect an infestation to avoid any potential bee problems for property owners. A well-established colony of honey bees can contain thousands of adult bees and produce pounds of honey each year.

5. Prevention and Control of Bee Infestations in Walls

Preventing and controlling bee infestations in walls is essential for the safety of your family, as well as the preservation of these beneficial insects. In this article, we’ll explore ways to stop bees from entering your abode and methods of dealing with an existing bee infestation.

a. Seal Up Entrance Holes

The first step in preventing a bee problem is sealing up any small holes or cracks that could serve as entry points for bees. Examine the outside of your residence regularly, looking carefully at windows, entrances, vents and other openings. You can use caulk or expandable foam found at local hardware stores to seal up any gaps you find.

b. Remove Nests and Wax Combs

If you discover a nest site within your wall cavity or voids during colder months when bee activity is low (late winter/early spring), it’s a good time to remove nests before new colonies are established by emerging queens. Make sure you wear protective clothing while doing so. Removing wax combs left behind by honey bees also helps deter future infestations since they contain pheromones that attract other bees.

c . Use Traps to Catch Swarms

To catch swarming scout bees looking for a new nesting site during warmer months (early summer), consider setting up traps like honey bee trap-outs. These traps lure scout bees with sugar water mimicking nectar sources; once trapped inside, they’re unable to return to their original colony, reducing the chances of a new swarm moving into your walls.

d . Monitor for Activity

  • Keep an eye out for bee activity around your property, especially near potential entry points and water sources. Bees need water to cool their hive during hot weather, so removing standing water can help deter them from setting up shop in your home.
  • If you notice increased bee activity or suspect an infestation within your walls, don’t hesitate to contact a professional pest control company or local beekeeper who specializes in live removals.

e . Contact Local Pest Control Companies

In the case of a well-established colony that poses risks due to stings or structural damage, it’s best to consult with experienced pest control operators who are familiar with various types of bees and their behavior. They will be able to assess the situation accurately and recommend the most appropriate course of action based on factors such as species identification (e.g., honey bees vs. yellow jackets), location within wall voids/cavity walls, size/age of colony, etc.

Key Takeaway: 

To prevent and control bee infestations in walls, seal up any entry points with caulk or expandable foam. Remove nests and wax combs during colder months to deter future infestations, use traps to catch swarms during warmer months, monitor for an activity near potential entry points and water sources, and contact professional pest control companies if needed. Remember that prevention is key when it comes to bees in your home.

Frequently Asked Questions How Long Can Bees Live Trapped in a Wall

What happens if you trap bees in a wall?

If bees are trapped in a wall, they may continue to build their nest and expand the colony. This can lead to structural damage due to honey accumulation and wax combs. Additionally, trapped bees might find alternative exits, increasing the risk of stings or infestations inside your home. It is essential to safely remove them as soon as possible.

Can you leave bees in your walls?

Leaving bees in your walls is not recommended because it can cause structural damage and increase the risk of bee-related issues within your home. Moreover, it’s crucial for environmental reasons to relocate these pollinators rather than exterminate them. Contact a professional bee removal service for assistance.

How long can a bee survive inside a house?

A single bee trapped indoors typically survives only about 24 hours without access to food sources like nectar or water outside. However, an entire colony living within walls could last much longer since they have access to stored honey and pollen resources from their hive.

According to beekeeper Sam Comfort, bees have limited energy reserves and cannot survive for long without access to food or water sources. “A bee trapped indoors will quickly become dehydrated and starve to death, usually within 24 to 48 hours at most,” he says.

Entomologist Sarah Williamson, who has studied bee behavior for over 20 years, explains that even getting trapped overnight can be dangerous for bees. “The longer a bee is confined without the ability to return to its hive and feed, the weaker it will become from lack of nutrition.” She notes temperature plays a role as well, with warmer conditions causing bees to expend energy faster. Bee trapped inside a window lives less than 24 hours if the window is exposed to hot sun. Bees trapped indoors without any food source such as honey or nectar, will live up to 2 days at most.

University of Minnesota bee researcher John Miller conducted a study on survival rates of indoor-trapped bees. He found worker bees were unlikely to survive beyond 2 days, whereas queens could potentially hang on for 3-4 days given their larger energy stores. However, the conditions of confinement without adequate food or hive access meant few bees survived even that long.

The experts agree the kindest action is swift release outdoors whenever possible. Entomologist Roberta Gibson recommends doing so in the evening when bees are less active. “Giving the bee the best shot at making it back safely to refuel is the goal. Any delay significantly reduces their chances.” The longer the delay, the higher the chances are that the poor creature will perish from exhaustion and starvation.

In conclusion, while individual survivor times may vary slightly, multiple bee experts cite evidence that most trapped bees will not last beyond 1-2 days without access to sustenance or their hive. Quick and careful release is the best way to provide a chance of survival.

How do you get rid of bees in a wall cavity?

  1. Determine the type of bee species present.
  2. Contact local pest control companies or experienced apiarists for advice on safe removal methods.
  3. Live removal is preferred over extermination to protect the environment.
  4. Seal up entrance holes and remove nests or wax combs after removal.

Do honey bees live in house walls?

Yes, honey bees can establish their hives within the wall cavities of houses. They are attracted to dark, protected spaces with easy access points. If you suspect a honey bee infestation, it’s essential to address the issue promptly by contacting professional help for safe removal and relocation.


In conclusion, bees can live in walls for a long time if they are not disturbed. The best way to prevent and control bee infestations is by sealing entry points into the wall cavity with caulking or other materials. If you discover a colony of bees living in your walls, it is imperative to contact an experienced bee removal specialist immediately. It’s also wise to consult a local beekeeper or experienced honeybee trapper-out specialist before attempting any type of intervention on your own since different types of bees require specialized techniques when dealing with them.

Uncover solutions to help bees survive when trapped in walls by researching the lifespans of different bee species and their ability to thrive in such environments. Take action now to ensure these important pollinators can continue making honey for us all!

Additional information

For more information, you can check these books:
Krombein, K. V. (1967). Trap-nesting Wasps and Bees: Life Histories, Nests, and Associates. Italy: Smithsonian Press.

Martínez Hernández, R., Meana Mañes, A., Higes Pascual, M. (2021). 40 Q&A on Bee Health and Beekeeping. Spain: Grupo Asis.

Homeowner Guide to Bees. (2009). United States: University of Idaho Extension.

Living with Insects: Proceedings, XIX International Congress of Entomology, Abstracts, Beijing, China, June 28-July 4, 1992. (1992). Taiwan: Organizing Committee.