Bees in the wall

I have a bee hive in my wall. Been there for several years. We are experiencing extreme heat and drought. I have noticed we hardly have any bees moving about their entrance where previously there were several hundred before. Could they all be dead? How can I figure out what's going on..

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Hi,

Unfortunately, there's a good chance that the hive is on the verge of dying out, or has already died out.

The only way to be absolutely certain, of course, is to get a look inside - and I assume that would require dismantling the wall.

Even if the hive has died, it's possible that you'd still see some bees coming and going from the entrance. These would be bees from other hives robbing out any honey that was left.

And you could also be seeing scout bees checking out your wall as a prospective new home for a swarm. They'd be attracted to any comb that was left from a deceased hive.

You can get an idea as to whether the bees you see are from the colony in the wall or from other colonies by watching the entrance closely.

(Don't do this if you're allergic to stings, or fearful of getting stung - though odds are that you wouldn't be stung.)

Be sure that you're not standing in the flight path of the bees, or blocking the entrance in any way. Just watch the bees going into the entrance for a while, and see if any of them are carrying balls of pollen on their hind legs.

If you see bees entering the wall with pollen, that's a near certain indication that the colony is still alive and raising brood. If you see no pollen, then the colony is most likely either dead or on the verge of dying out.

If the colony does die out, you may need to consider removing the remaining comb from the wall interior.

Sometimes decaying brood and fermenting honey (if it's not found and robbed out by other bees) left behind from a dead hive can cause real problems. The decaying comb can cause odors and attract vermin.

Even if the colony is still alive, you might want to consider contacting a local beekeeper or pest control company that will perform a live bee removal.

Good luck (to you AND the bees)!

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