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 like the photo above? 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 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. 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. Those names marked below with a double asterisk (**) have indicated that they have the resources to undertake these types of removals. Manhattan Jim Fischer**, 917-628-4052
Queens Hillcrest 11432: Walter Blohm**, 718-380-0829, Licensed & Insured
Nassau County Amityville 11701: Richard Meyer**, 917-681-1706, firstname.lastname@example.org Garden City 11530: Glenn Aldridge, Cell: 516-816-5315 Hicksville 11801: Al Gruenthaler, 516-433-7035 Oceanside 11572: Carl Flatow**, 516-510-6227, email@example.com, fully insured for bee related liability; also serves Rockville Center, Garden City, Old Westbury, Lynbrook, Hewlett, Woodmere, East Rockaway, Lawrence, Cedarhurst Oceanside 11572: Daniel Vitale, 516-567-2641
Suffolk County Amityville 11701: Richard Meyer**, 917-681-1706, firstname.lastname@example.org Babylon 11702: Stephen Halliday, email@example.com Bay Shore 11706: Donal Peterson**, 631-827-1810 Bohemia 11716: Ray Lackey, 631-567-1936, 631-707-1544, firstname.lastname@example.org Central Islip 11722: Ernie Schwasnick, 631-582-3184 Copiague 11726: Frank Kiss, 631-842-2479 Dix Hills 11747: Fred Munzer, 631-243-3512 Great River 11722: Ernie Schwasnick, 631-582-3184 Huntington 11743: Richard Blohm**, 631-271-7812, Licensed & Insured Huntington 11743: Andrew Hulley, 631-561-9021, Licensed & Insured in Nassau & Suffolk Manorville 11949: Peter Bizzoso**, 631-874-4750 Medford 11763: Dale Williams**, 631-475-8315 Middle Island 11953: Charles DiStefano, 631-924-0619 Montauk 11954: Jessica James, 631-238-5595 Ronkonkoma 11779: Miguel Valentin**, 516-313-6967 Setauket 11733: Wayne Vitale, 516-680-3020, www.spycoastbeefarm.com Smithtown 11787: Moira Alexander, 631-265-8249 Smithtown 11787: John Moloney, 631-265-7260 Southampton 11968: Robin Blakely, Beekeeper@EastEndApiaries.com West Islip 11795: Max Riedner, 631-669-5632