In Singapore, we see lots of different kinds of pests, but one of the more common pests we see in the warm climate is bees. Bees, wasps and hornets play a vital role in nature by pollinating flowers and producing honey. Unfortunately, when they're in large numbers or too near to where people live, they pose a bit of a problem.
Some species could be extremely vicious (even being lethal to humans) and cause serious threats to your family. And being unwanted guests in your home, these pesky insects have no hesitation to sting you even when they are not provoked. You don’t want to be stung by them in your own home!
If you’re worried about an unwanted nest, contact System Pest Control Services to identify the insects responsibly and remove their nests quickly, safely and efficiently.
Trapped in the house and struggling to get rid of those irksome bee nests in Singapore? In this guide, we’ll provide tips on the best ways to combat bees, wasps or hornets and even the safest ways to get rid of them for good and prevent them from returning.
Common species of bees, wasps and hornets in Singapore
Singapore is home to a diverse array of bees, wasps and hornets species. There are three main types of bees you might encounter – Honey bees, Solitary bees and Stingless bees; and two types of wasps – Hornets and Paper Wasps.
If you're allergic to bee stings, the last thing you want is to encounter a hive of honey bees. These insects are not aggressive by nature, but their sting can cause severe allergic reactions in some people.
Here's how to identify bees, wasps and hornets, and what to do if your home becomes the domain of one or more nests.
From left to right: Asian Honey Bee, Giant Honey Bee, Red Dwarf Honey Bee, Black Dwarf Honey Bee. (Source: NParks)
Honey bees are social insects that live in colonies. They are the only bees that produce honey for humans to use. They also have a barbed stinger that remains attached to the bee’s abdomen when it leaves its body. This helps it from being pulled out by its victim during an attack. The bee will die after stinging because its stinger is ripped from its body.
From left to right: Pearly-banded Bees, Leaf-cutter Bees, Digger Bees, Large Carpenter Bees. (Source: NParks)
Unlike honey bees, solitary bees do not live in hives or produce honey for humans to consume or sell. They are also known as “digger bees” because they build nests underground or in holes on trees and walls, where they lay their eggs and care for their young until they mature into adults.
Stingless bees. (Source: NParks)
Stingless bees are commonly found in tropical rainforests and make their nests at ground level within tree cavities or burrows, which they also use for food storage or shelter from predators such as birds and mammals. They do not have a stinger but instead use their mandibles to bite their victims if they feel threatened or provoked by them.
Left: Lesser-banded Hornet. Right: A typical hornet hive. (Source: NParks)
Hornets are large, solitary insects with a dark brown body and yellow-orange waistband. They have large heads with bulging eyes that look like bumblebees’, but their abdomens are not as hairy. The queen lives at the centre of the nest while other female workers surround her with their own offspring near the entrance of the nest. They use their stingers as protection against predators by paralysing them with venom before eating them alive!
Various kinds of paper wasp hives found in Singapore. (Source: NParks)
Paper wasps are solitary parasites that build paper nests which hang from tree branches or shrubs. They are often mistaken for hornets because they look similar but with more slender bodies and longer legs. Wasps also build their homes to protect themselves from predators like birds and mammals. The structure protects them from attacks by other insects or animals that want to eat them.
Why Do Bees, Wasps and Hornets Build Nests?
Bees, wasps and hornets are all social insects. They live in colonies, with a queen bee, queen wasp or queen hornet at the head. The rest of the colony consists of male bees, male wasps and male hornets as well as female bees, female wasps and female hornets.
Bees, wasps and hornets build their nests for three main reasons:
1. Raise their young. They build their nests to protect their eggs and larvae from predators like birds and other insects.
2. Find a mate. Most bees and wasps mate only once in their lifetime, so they must find a suitable place to lay their eggs where they will be safe from predators during the larval stage of development.
3. Feed on nectar, pollen, honeydew or sap from plants. This is how they are able to produce food for their young through the process of photosynthesis (turning sunlight into energy).
What does a hive look like?
The shape of their nests varies between species, but they’re all built using some type of comb structure, as shown below:
Bees' nests are usually made of wax and made in places where they won't be disturbed. They usually build their nests in high places such as trees and bushes.
Wasp nests, usually greyish brown to black in colour, have a papery texture, often with chewed up wood mixed into them as reinforcement for the nest's construction.
Hornet nests are made of mud, paper or papier mache which they chew into pulp before shaping into a ball, and are usually found high up on trees or walls or under eaves near human habitation.
Where do bees, wasps and hornets nest: Indoors vs outdoors
Bees, wasps and hornets nests are common in Singapore. They can be found in homes and gardens, as well as in parks and other public places. Depending on the season, they may also be found in trees or on walls.
In fact, these insects have evolved to adapt to living in close proximity to humans over time. This means that they often build their nests near human dwellings due to the availability of food sources such as nectar from flowers and pollen from plants.
The most common place for nests in Singapore is indoors. This is usually because these insects have found their way into your home through an open window or door.
In contrast, outdoor nests are less common, but they do exist. If you live near a forested area or near trees with hollow trunks (such as banyan trees), there is a chance that you will discover a nest outside your home.
Common areas to look out for bees, wasps and hornets nest in your home
- Around doors and windows
- Behind wall sockets or light fittings
- Behind ceiling fans and air conditioners
- In the attic or roof space
- Under eaves and decks
- Under garden benches or tables
- In trees and bushes close to your house
How do you know if there is a bee, wasp or hornet nest near you?
If you think there is a bee or wasp nest in your home or garden, then here are some signs that could indicate this to be true:
- Swarms of flying insects like bees, wasps or hornets around an area that may seem out of place e.g. flying into windows or doors
- A large number of dead insects in one area
- A foul odour from an area
How to keep bees, wasps and hornets away from your property without killing them?
Bees, wasps and hornets are not always aggressive, but when they feel threatened, their natural instinct is to sting. If you live in a tropical country like Singapore, chances are you will encounter these insects.
It's important to know how to keep bees, wasps and hornets away from your property without killing them. This is because attempting to kill them will only make them more aggressive towards humans.
When is the best time to remove a nest?
There may be situations where it is not safe for you to remove the nest yourself. Therefore, it is always better to call a pest control company first before attempting any DIY methods on your own. This way, we can make sure that all precautions are taken and that there are no risks involved during the entire process.
However, if you do want to attempt removing the nest yourself at home, then we would recommend doing it at night when all insects are sleeping inside their nests as this will make things easier for you.
Getting rid of bee, wasp and hornet nests without professional help
They are all important pollinators but they can also be pests. Bees, wasps and hornets are attracted to sweet food sources, so if they find a source of food in your home or garden, they may decide to build their nest there.
The lethal approach involves getting rid of the nest by spraying chemicals that will kill all bees inside it at once. The best time to do this is when no one else is around (since it can be quite messy), such as late at night or early morning hours when most people are asleep.
How to safely remove bee, wasp and hornet nests by yourself
If you're looking to get rid of bees, wasps and hornets nests, the best way to do this is by hiring a professional pest control company. However, if you're on a budget or want to try it yourself, here are some tips on how to safely remove bee, wasp and hornet nests by yourself at home.
Before doing anything else, make sure that you have all the necessary equipment for removing the nests safely:
- Protective clothing (long-sleeved shirt and long pants)
- Googles (optional but recommended)
- N95 dust mask or P100 respirator with HEPA filter
- Gloves (latex or nitrile)
- A shovel or broomstick
- Heavy-duty pruning shears or loppers
- Spray bottle filled with water
- Bucket of soapy water
It would also be best if someone else could help you out with this job as it is highly recommended not to do it alone in case of emergency situations.
Bees are usually found in big colonies. If the colony is small (about 50 bees), then you can use a wet towel to suffocate it by wrapping it around the entrance of the hive and covering it with another towel or plastic bag. Leave it for about an hour before removing it from its location.
For larger colonies, you will have to call for professional help as this method may not be effective enough. You can also use a bee smoker (available at hardware stores) to smoke out the bees from their nest before removing it from its location.
Here are some tips on how to keep bees away from your home
- Keep your garden tidy. Remove dead leaves, branches and weeds from your garden regularly. Bees like to build their nests in such places where there are plenty of flowers and pollen for them to feed on.
- Cover up any openings or holes with wire mesh or wood. This will make it harder for the bees to access your home or property.
- Remove any old fruit trees from your yard as these trees tend to attract bees looking for a place to build their nests.
- Remove any decaying materials and store sweet foods properly. This will lessen the chance of bees looking for food sources in your home.
- Install insect screens or mosquito netting on windows and doors. Bees are attracted to urban light sources. This prevents them from entering your home during late evening or night hours.
When should you get professional help for bee, wasp and hornet issues?
Getting rid of bees, wasps or hornets is not an easy task as they can be extremely aggressive and will attack humans on sight.
You SHOULD NOT remove nests yourself if:
- you have children or pets that may be at risk of being stung
- during the rainy season (as they are more likely to swarm in large numbers)
- the nest is located in an area that is inaccessible or dangerous
- you don’t have proper equipment for safely removing it
Although there are some ways to safely remove bee, wasp and hornet nests by yourself, you should always call a professional exterminator when in doubt. Our experienced and trained technicians will be able to address any pest problem that you might have. Get in touch with System Pest Control Services or call +65 6748 8966 for safe and efficient nest removal.