A Carniolan Honey Bee. Photo: Wikipedia. Image by David Dewitt.

Dealing with a single bee at home can be simple, but removing a whole colony can be complicated. Here’s what to do if you encounter a problem with bees on your rental property.

Why have the bees chosen my rental?

Suitable shelter and previous bee problems can be a primary cause for bees to set up a beehive on your property. It can, however, be difficult to determine the specific attractant. Another reason could be abundant vegetation since they like to be close to a food source. A bee problem could be caused by one of these factors, or a combination of them, or none of the above.

Where the bees choose to live is generally out of your control, but you can safely assume that if bees have come to your home before, you’re now prone to a future unwanted colony. Be sure to take preventative measures to keep bee problems from returning.

Be sure you’re dealing with bees

Whenever you spot what you think is a bee, look carefully at it before you do anything else. It’s important to confirm that what you’re looking at is indeed a bee, and not a wasp or hornet. Bees are furry all over, while wasps and hornets have just a small amount of hair on their bodies. Bees will gravitate to nectar from flowers for nourishment, while wasps and hornets will target other insects or scavenge for food waste. Bees are also plump around the middle, while wasps and hornets have thinner waists and more elongated bodies.

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Steps to take against bees

Bees can enter a structure or an object that contains a small hole. A common bee-protection method is to seal any potential bee entries with durable materials. However, once a swarm has made its way onto your property, you might not have sufficient time to identify and seal off potential entry points for the bees.

Reducing outdoor clutter can also prevent bees from nesting around your rental property. Any unused appliances or lawn equipment found in your backyard can attract bees because they provide sufficient shelter for a hive to thrive.

Is getting rid of the bees necessary?

If the bees are only seen outside, consider leaving them alone unless you have someone in the house who is allergic to them. Bees play an important role in the environment by promoting pollination. While most have stingers, they will only use them as a last resort, so they have to be antagonised before they sting. Stay relaxed when they’re around, and you’ll be fine.

If you see them inside your house, however, consider this to be a situation where it’s appropriate to get rid of them. Any damage they may cause to the structure should be minimal, but the longer it’s left untreated, the risk and extent of damage could increase over time.

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Are landlords or tenants responsible for bees?

As a general rule, any outbreak or infestation requiring attention by a pest control operator is the responsibility of the lessor/property manager. However, the lessor/property manager is not responsible for an infestation caused by your activities or lack of cleanliness. As a tenant in Australia, you are required to take basic pest prevention measures, such as reducing outdoor clutter. It should be defined in the lease regarding who is accountable for pest removal to avoid confusion.


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