Scout bees are the colony’s real estate agents. From a swarm’s resting place, approximately 50 – 100 scout bees will fly off to look for a safe controlled environment, which instinctively meets their criteria. Any enclosed structure that has at least 1/8 – 1/4 inch opening will give access to the bees.
Generally, the cracks between the stucco and an eave, the openings in wood siding, chimneys, and the flashing around chimneys, etc. will provide access for insects. Once the scout bees find a location, they return to the swarm and lead them to the new location. Within a half hour to an hour after arriving, the swarm will be inside that new location and the bees will start building their hive (putting up their wax structure) within 26 to 30 hours of their arrival.
Sometimes scout bees accidentally wind up inside peoples’ homes. They usually come through the fireplace, vents, or canned lighting. These lost bees always fly straight for the light source in the rooms, which is generally the window. They do not go after pets or people unless provoked. In trying to get out of the window, they flap their wings so hard and fast that they dehydrate and die within hours. At this point, you can vacuum them up, so no one steps on them and accidentally stings themselves.
Key points to remember about scout bees:
- Scout bees hover around a general area in groups of 50-100, flying around and in and out of gaps and openings to see if it can make a suitable new home.
- Scout bees can be present searching areas of the house for up to 3 days.
- Scout bees get inside the house through the chimney, vents, and/or canned lighting.
- If they are getting inside the house through the fireplace, residents can shut the flu and tape a black plastic bag over the fireplace to block out the light that attracts the bees.
- Scout bees do NOT want to attack anyone inside the house and will go to the window like a magnet until they die.
- Scout bees fly back to the resting swarm and communicate their findings for a new home to the queen and colony.
The Bee Man can help break the communication with the scout bees and their colony by treating the scouted areas and advises residents to permanently seal all gaps and openings to help prevent future bee access.