The honey of heaven may or may not come, But that of earth both comes and goes at once.
- Wallace Stevens, “Le Monocle de Mon Oncle”
If you're having problems with individual or small groups of stinging insects, chances are, they're not honeybees.
Are the insects coming from a hole in the ground? Typically, honeybees construct their hives high above the ground inside a cavity like a hollow tree. They do not build nests in the ground, so they're probably not honeybees. Eastern Yellowjackets (Vespula maculifrons, a type of wasp) live in colonies in the ground and can be very aggressive. Are the insects coming from a grey nest hanging from a tree or under a roof? Honeybees do not build visible nests under roof overhangs. Paper wasps (Polistes dominula) build grey-colored nests with cells that appear to be honeycomb in shape, usually under roof overhangs. So if you can see the nest, they're probably not honeybees.
Are the insects yellow and black? Not all insects with yellow and black stripes are honeybees. Both yellowjackets and paper wasps may have a black and yellow pattern on their bodies, similar to honeybees, but honeybees and bumblebees have a coating of hair, while yellowjackets and paper wasps are hairless. So if the insects aren't fuzzy, they're probably not honeybees.
Are the insects yellow and black, fuzzy, and in a large mass in a tree or bush? This is probably a swarm of honeybees. Honeybees swarm to increase their population, usually in the Spring. Do not panic. The swarms themselves are not inherently dangerous, the bees are not looking to attack, they're just looking for a new home. We have member beekeepers that can come to your location to collect a swarm of honeybees. There will be a charge for mileage and time required, so try to find a beekeeper on the list below who is close to you. Also, please understand that beekeeping is a hobby or very small business on the side, so many beekeepers do have other jobs, which can make it difficult to return your call immediately. But they will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Are the insects yellow and black, fuzzy, and you can't see a nest, but they are coming and going through a hole in a tree or wall? This could be a colony of honeybees. If the entrance to the hive is up high in a tree and is not a nuisance (honeybees are not interested in stinging you, they're busy looking for flowers), then you could just leave them alone and enjoy the free pollination services they provide. But if the entrance is low or in the side of a house or building, then you will probably want them removed. We have member beekeepers that can come to your location to collect a colony of honeybees. There may be a charge for mileage and time required, so try to find a beekeeper on the list below who is the closest to you. Also, please understand that beekeeping is a hobby or very small business on the side, so many beekeepers do have other jobs, which can make it difficult to return your call immediately. But they will get back to you as quickly as possible. Also, removing honeybees that have found a home inside your home, like in walls or in attics, can be very difficult because it may require some amount of demolition. All of the names below can remove a swarm or a hive of bees outside of a home or structure.
Those names marked with a single asterisk (*) have the resources to remove bees from inside a structure.
Those names marked with a double asterisk (**) have the resources to remove bees from inside a structure, and are Licensed and Insured. Queens Hillcrest: Walter Blohm**, 718-380-0829, Licensed & Insured
Nassau County Oceanside: Carl Flatow*, 516-510-6227, firstname.lastname@example.org, fully insured for bee related liability; also serves Rockville Center, Garden City, Old Westbury, Lynbrook, Hewlett, Woodmere, East Rockaway, Lawrence, Cedarhurst
Suffolk County Babylon: Stephen Halliday, 631-922-0152, email@example.com Bay Shore: Donal Peterson**, 631-827-1810 Central Islip: Ernie Schwasnick, 631-582-3184 Dix Hills: Fred Munzer, 631-243-3512 East End of LI: Deborah Klughers*, 631-377-1943 East Setauket: Ben Moran*, 631-766-6704 Huntington: Richard Blohm**, 631-271-7812 Huntington: Andrew Hulley**, 631-561-9021 Manorville: Peter Bizzoso*, 631-874-4750 Medford: Dale Williams**, 631-475-8315 Middle Island: Charles DiStefano*, 631-924-0619 Northport: Carolyn McQuade, 631-232-2400 x3325 Northport: Neal Wechsler*, 631-606-3330 Patchogue: Martin Kenna, 631-475-1713 Rocky Point: John Hardecker*, 516-383-1583 Smithtown: Moira Alexander, 631-265-8249 Stony Brook: Christine Havran, 631-751-1441 Three Village Area: Bill O'Hern, 631-938-6BEE Wading River: Roy Baillard, 631-375-0962 West Islip: Mary Ellen Cuiffo, 631-241-5470