I think we may have bees in our attic, I’ve noticed them in my daughter’s room (which has the attic access in her closet) either dead or walking/flying very sluggishly. They seem to be coming in more and more, what threw me off is that I found a couple in the basement also, two flights down from her room. I’m puzzled because it’s getting colder outside and I thought this problem doesn’t usually happen until Spring. Please help!
When bees start entering the living space of a home there is always an initial feeling of panic. But panic won’t fix anything so first calm down and try to get an understanding of what might be happening so you can address the problem in a logical manner. First and foremost, the big key to solving the problem is trying to locate how they’re entering. The second key is identifying the species and then employing proven methods for keeping them off the home so this doesn’t happen again in future. So for now, lets look what we know.
At this point it’s early winter and when bees are found in the home during this time, they’ll usually be in a semi dormant stage like you’re describing. I would say the word you used – “sluggish” – is right on the mark. It also sounds like you’ve identified at least one route of entry. I know my attic is accessible through a staircase that drops down from the ceiling and if I pull it down in the winter, I’ll commonly find 1-2 wasps in the area. Most of the time they’re dead but that’s because the stairs fits very tight to the ceiling so they can’t escape. If your attic access point has any cracks they’ll get through. So for starters, you might want to see how you can seal it up better to help keep them out.
But sealing this port isn’t really solving the problem. To do this you need to consider what’s happening and based on the time of year, I’d say you most likely have a nest somewhere on the home. CARPENTER BEES, BUMBLE BEES and HONEY BEES are three common species which nest in homes. All of these will harbor adults throughout the winter and when nests are in wall or ceiling voids, they’ll be so close to the warmth of the living space that many will try to enter. This happens when nests are in attic spaces as well and the insulation found in most any home is a great location for a nest to form.
Since you suspect these bees are entering from the attic, I’d start by treating the area with some DELTAMETHRIN DUST. This product is like baby powder and when distributed using a DUSTIN MIZER, it will blanket the insulation throughout the space making it tough for any insect to live. Plus it lasts a long time, like 6-12 months, and is ideally suited for this area. If done properly, any activity in the attic will be shut down and if you only have a hibernating bee problem, it will go away and you’ll be done with it. But if you have Honey Bees or Carpenter Bees, you’ll probably have to pay careful attention next spring and summer to the area around the roof line of your house to see if you can locate where they’re nesting. And if you do find activity in these warm months, you’ll need to address what will most likely be a nest using one of the methods listed in our articles.
In summary, you most likely have a hibernating species of bee living in your attic which is seeking the warmth of your living space as the cold of winter sets in. This commonly happens and in some cases it’s just 1-2 but in others I’ve seen 50-100 filter in so there is no telling how many you might have up there. Regardless, a good dusting with the Deltamethrin will take care of the problem and should keep the living space free from bees. Next spring and summer you’ll need to watch the exterior of the home carefully to try and see if there are any active nests on or in the structure which will need a followup treatment. Controlling such a nest will be critical for keeping them out of the living spaces down the road.
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Carpenter Bee Article: http://www.carpenterbees.com/carpenter-bee-control
Bumble Bee Article: http://www.bugspray.com/articles99/bumblebees.html
Honey Bee Article: http://www.bugspray.com/article/honeybees.html
Deltamethrin Dust: http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page526.html
Dustin Mizer: http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page843.html