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L.A. County Online
How to Bee-Proof Your Home
Last Updated: 03/03

 

Bee-Proofing

Bee-proofing your home or any other structure is simply fixing it so bees will not find it suitable as a nesting site. Bees usually look for a location that is clean, dry and out of the weather. They prefer an enclosed space, or void, when they can find one. This means they love the hollow wall construction so common here in Southern California. We rarely insulate the walls so they are a whole series of suitable nesting spaces for bees, all the bees need is an entrance. Any gap, crack, hole or opening larger than 1/8th of an inch that leads into any sort of void is a potential entrance.

Bee-proofing is sealing, patching, screening or otherwise closing any of these potential entrances. This can be done with caulking, stucco or plaster patching material, wire mesh, any number of materials. The bee-proofing hints will be listed by patching material.

*Note: Any materials shown should not be taken as a recommendation of a specific brand or product by the department. It is simply an example of the type of product that is available from local hardware/building supply stores.

 

Stucco and plaster patching materials

 

Added Conduit
Tools and Equipment
Before
After

 

Some holes, like this one in a block wall, will need backing
(crumpled up newspaper, etc.) pushed into the hole to guarantee a good seal

The stucco and plaster patching materials are permanent solutions for holes or cracks in situations involving a wide variety of building materials. Once the patching material is finished off smooth and allowed to dry it can be primed and painted to match the rest of the structure. In the case of a block wall, a plant or vine can be planted to cover the patch.

The patching material is usually sold as a powder. It is mixed with water according to the label directions. The only other items needed are a container to mix it in and a putty knife to apply it.

 

Insulating Foam

This method is quicker and easier than the stucco and plaster patch and can be used in a wider variety of situations. It is not the best choice for a permanent solution. It can be knocked out or, if there is some reason the bees think they need to get in, it can be chewed through by bees.

Newly added conduit
Before
After
Foam with applicator
tip attached
   

 

 

Here the foam was used to fill a hole in a block wall. Note that it is next to the hole filled with patching plaster.

Insulating foam is quick and easy to use. The can comes with an applicator tip so there are no other tools necessary to use the foam. In many situations it should not be used as a permanent solution. In places where the hole is large or exposed to weather the foam is a good, temporary fix until a permanent repair can be done. In areas where there is a history of bee activity, steel wool should be inserted into the opening before the foam is applied. Otherwise the bees will chew through it.

Here is an entrance to a bee colony that was
sealed with foam but the bees were not eradicated. The bees chewed through a small area. That was re-sealed (light color foam) and the bees chewed through that. This was a healthy, thriving colony when the photo was taken.