How Long Do Bees Live If the Hive Is Removed?

While bees serve the vital purpose of pollinating flowers in nature, they can be a nuisance if they build a hive close to -- or even inside -- your home. How long bees stick around after you have a hive removed depends on how you had the hive removed, and if the area around the hive was properly cleaned after the removal.

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Workers can change hives if theirs is removed.

Hive Structure

Bee hives consist of a few different types of bees, both in biological structure and hive function. Queen bees, the ones that lay eggs and produce new bees, stay inside the heart of the hive. Worker bees, the ones you are mostly likely to run into, fill a variety of purposes both inside and outside the hive. These include feeding new bees, expanding the hive itself and gathering food for the hive from the surrounding area. These differing functions mean that workers and queen bees have divergent fates if you remove their hive.

Relocation and Extermination

The methods of bee hive removal, relocation or extermination will both immediately remove the queen and the majority of the hive's worker bees. When a hive is relocated, bee keepers come and move the hive from its current location to a bee farm. Only a few workers will die from the process of handling the hive. This will remove the queen and the majority of the hive's worker bees. When you have pest control exterminate a hive, the insecticides will kill the queen, and all the workers as they return to the hive. The exterminators will then physically remove the combs of the hive.

Drift

When workers return to where their hive once was and find that it is no longer there, they will engage in behavior known as "drifting." This is where the bee will seek out another hive to join. If the worker succeeds in joining another hive, it will live out the remainder of its natural life -- a matter of weeks -- as a member of that hive.

Return

Unless you thoroughly clean the area which recently played host to a bee hive, the pheromones that were part of the normal functioning of the hive will remain. Other bees in the area, including bee swarms looking to make a new hive, can detect these pheromones and will identify the area as a good place for a hive. In this case, the bees will rebuild the hive in the previous location, causing a new generation of bees to return.