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How To Get Rid Of Dead Bee Smell [Simple Way]




Tips To Get rid of dead bee smell

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Bees can die for several reasons. Having a small amount of dead bees isn’t a serious problem. But a large number of dead bees may smell really weird. In this situation, how you can get rid of the dead bee smell quickly? That’s what is our main purpose of this article.

A couple of years ago, back in 2021, one of my honey bee colonies got attacked by Tropilaelaps mite. First I tried to help them on my own but I was not successful enough. As a result, within a few days, a lot of bees died inside the hive.

I have taken help from a pest control expert. He runs a treatment on my colony. According to his instructions, I have split the hive. I have transferred a strong portion of the colony with a brood frame and worker bees to a new beehive.

I purchased a new queen in a cage for them. Then I introduced my new queen to the colony to a new beehive.

I didn’t destroy my old abandoned beehive that got mite attack. First, it had a very bad smell as there were a lot of dead bees. I have washed it and removed the bed smell from the hive.

Then I purchased a nuc of bumble bees. When the nuc arrived I transferred them to that hive.

So, I am going to share with you my own experience of how to get rid of dead bee smell. You can follow my instructions to remove the weird smell of dead bees from a beehive or from any location.



What Does A Dead Bee’s Nest Smell Like?

A dead bee nest releases a foul and rotten smell. A few dead bees may not smell bad. But when the number increases and time goes on it starts to smell really weird.

Insects, animals, or anything that has life releases bad smells after death. Bees are not exceptional than this. Bees can smell like rotten insects after a few days of their dead.

Dead Bees




Do Bees Give Off A Scent When Killed?

Yes, bees release a special kind of scent to alert their colony members about the danger. Dead bees can release an “alarming hormone” just before they die. So, their colony members can identify the spot of her death.

As far known bees can release “isopentyl acetate” chemical as an alarming pheromone. The strong smell of isopentyl acetate can alarm other bees from a longer distance. So, the colony members become alert and accumulate together to defend the colony.




Why Do Dead Bees Smell Bad?

There can be various reasons why dead bees smell bad. We may not feel the smell of a single dead bee. If there is a large number of them who are dead and kept in the same place for a few days, they will be rotten and smell bad.

Followings can be the reason behind the bad smell of dead bees.

  • As I already told you dead bees release a chemical pheromone to alert their colony members. Due to the strong chemical, it may smell weird to us.
  • After the death of the bees, the beehive’s organic material can start rotting too. As a result, the hive will smell weird.
  • As we know bees collect pollen and produce honey on their own. A bee can die during the process of producing honey. The processing elements inside the body of the bee may start releasing as her body is decomposing. This may also produce some sort of bad smell.




How To Get Rid Of Dead Bee Smell

So far you have learned the reason behind the bad smell of dead bees. Now it comes to how to treat dead bees to get rid of bad smells. As I had an abandoned beehive with a lot of dead bees I know how to treat it.

How to get rid of dead bee smell


So, you can follow my steps to remove the dead bee smell from any location. Here are the steps below.

  1. Spot The Location: First of all, you have to identify the location where the dead bees are or where the bad smell is coming from. 
  2. Remove All The Dead Bees: You can use a needle or any hive tool and remove all the dead bees. 
  3. Ensure Proper Ventilation: You should ensure proper airflow through the hive. The air is most effective in taking away the chemicals that produce the bad smell.
  4. Use Vinegar: You can directly apply vinegar on the spot where the dead bees were. Vinegar will help you to get rid of dead bee’s smell faster than anything else. If you have bees inside the beehive don’t apply vinegar on it. Because vinegar works as a deterrent for bees.
  5. Use A Deodorant Removing Sponge: You can use this inside your beehive or in any location where the dead bees were present. Just place any kind of deodorant removing sponge in the source of the dead bee smell. It will automatically remove the bed smell within a few days. Some sponges may also vanish on air with time. 
  6. Place The Beehive In Sunlight: After applying vinegar or deodorant removing spray you can place the beehive in sunlight. Sunlight will be effective in killing germs and removing the bad smell of chemicals.

The above steps worked fine for me to get rid of the dead bee smell from my abandoned beehive. Though that time I haven’t used deodorant removing sponge. After applying vinegar I used an air freshener of rosemary flavour.

If you want you can also use an air freshener to remove the dead bee smell. Make sure the air freshener has a flavor of such compound that attracts bees as I used.




What Happens If You Don’t Remove Dead Bees?

If you don’t remove dead bees they will produce more bad smells. Not only this they will also attract other insects and predators.

So, the situation may get worse. Dead bees can attract yellow jackets, flies, ants, etc. So, you can understand what situation can be created if you don’t remove dead bees.

Also, without removing dead bees the bad smell treatment might not be effective. It is always preferred before cleaning dead out hives remove the dead bees first.




What Happens With Dead Bees?

Dead bees in bee colony is a common phenomenon. The queen bee lays a lot more eggs than the no. of bees that die naturally daily. So, it is common to see a small amount of dead bees inside or outside the beehive. Dead bees release alarming pheromones to call other colony members.

With time if the dead bee is not removed it will start to rotten. So, it may produce a weird smell.




Can Bees Detect Dead Bees?

Yes, bees can detect dead bees. Bees were attracted by the pheromone released by dead bees. They came to the spot where the bee died and check for the danger. If they see the danger exists they accumulate and defend their colony.

When honey bees die inside a colony they are not removed for a while. During the clean-up process, the worker bees remove the dead bees out of the hive. This is the main reason why you may see a few bees on the ground outside the hive.

But having a large no. of dead bees on the ground around your beehive is not a normal thing. There must be a problem going through the hive. So, you must identify what’s going on. If you find any mite infection then immediately contact a pest control expert.




Frequently Asked Questions


Are dead bees poisonous?

Dead bees are not poisonous but their sting can be poisonous. A dead bee can’t sting you. But if you try to squeeze her you might get stung by her sting. So, don’t touch a dead bee on your hand.

Do dead bees attract more bees?

Dead bees will attract their own colony members. As the bee releases an alarm pheromone before her death, other bees from the same colony will come to defend her. But bees from a different colony won’t be attracted to a dead bee.

Why am I finding so many dead bees in my house?

Bees may come to your home for food and are unable to get it. Thus she was starving and then died. There can be several other reasons like during a storm bees may get injured, then come to your house and die.

Do dead bees contaminate honey?

Dead bees inside a beehive usually do not contaminate honey. However, it is always preferred to filter honey to remove unwanted chemicals or objects from the honey before packaging it for sale. In general dead bees are not poisonous for honey.


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