In the U.S., there are different laws concerning the extermination of a beehive. Whether or not a beehive can be destroyed and by whom will typically depend on the state in which you live.
For example, in Texas it is illegal for anyone other than an apiary inspector to kill a managed colony without the express permission of the owner. In California, bees can only be eliminated in certain situations, such as when there is a swarm, and then only by a pest control company. In an ideal world, the swarm would be relocated rather than destroyed. The advice then is to check the laws for the state (or country – we have a country table below the state table) you live in before attempting to deal with any beehive or swarm. It is not a federal offence to destroy a beehive, but there are laws in place that prevent the use of certain pesticides. Indeed, some states have introduced laws to protect bees and other pollinators.
The table below shows which states have introduced such laws:
|State||Laws in Place to Protect Bees||State Honeybee Laws|
|New Hampshire||No||Click here|
|New Jersey||Yes||Click here|
|New Mexico||No||Click here|
|New York||Yes||Click here|
|North Carolina||Yes||Click here|
|North Dakota||Yes||Click here|
|Rhode Island||No||Click here|
|South Carolina||No||Click here|
|South Dakota||No||Click here|
|West Virginia||No||Click here|
There are different laws for the protection of bees in other parts of the world. The table below indicates whether or not bees are protected in the main English-speaking countries, with a link to the beekeeping laws in that particular country:
|Country||Laws in Place to Protect Bees||Beekeeping Laws|
|United Kingdom||No||Click here|
|New Zealand||Yes||Click here|
|South Africa||Yes||Click here|
Should Beehives Be Destroyed?
Before considering destroying a beehive, it is important to stop and think about the impact this could have on the planet. Bees are extremely important creatures that are unfortunately in danger; many people see them as pests or threats when, in fact, they are anything but.
Why are Bees So Important?
Many individuals fail to comprehend the huge importance of the bee and how these creatures affect our everyday lives. Along with other insects and animals, bees pollinate around eighty percent of all the world’s flowering plants. Most of the plants that we use as food need to be pollinated, and much of this work is done by bees. Without bees, we would not have delicious foods such as strawberries, almonds, tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumber, to name but a few.
Although pollination can be carried out by other insects and animals, the bee is by far the most important pollinator because of its ability to pollinate on such a huge scale. The cost of manually pollinating crops would cost farmers around the world billions of dollars every year.
Many governments around the world are considering putting measures in place to protect the bee and other pollinators. The loss of natural habitat due to climate change as well as an increase in the use of harmful pesticides is resulting in a rapid decline of the bee population.
If you come across a swarm of bees, or if bees have moved onto your property, I would urge you to contact your local beekeeping organization for advice on the safe removal of these bees. Many pest control companies will work with you to help relocate the bees to a new home without the need for extermination.
It is not recommended that you try to remove the bees yourself though as you may aggravate the creatures if they see you as a threat. In addition, it is important that any comb and unused honey is also removed otherwise it is highly likely that other insects and rodents will move in to eat the remains. The last thing that you would want is a mice or cockroach infestation. To safely remove a hive from your home, it is always best to call in the experts.