What Landlords Need to Know About Bees

LandlordsNY Member

LandlordsNY Member

There’s a big difference between bees, hornets, and wasps. One produces honey and pollinates flowers (bees); the other two are instruments of pure evil (hornets and wasps). However, all three make nests, and all three of these insects can potentially be a nuisance to tenants. If a tenant calls to complain about a nest, here's what you need to know.

Who’s Responsible?

All three are defined as pests under §27-2017(b), which was created by Local Law 55 of 2018. While this law will not take effect until 01/22/2019, it is best to follow it. Because these insects are pests, this means eliminating a bee, wasp, or hornet nuisance is your responsibility if the nest is on your property. If the nest is on an adjacent property, the owner of that property is responsible for removing it. If the nest is in a utility pole, the utility company is responsible for removing it.

Why Remove the Nest?

On top of being a nuisance to tenants, these nests can clog vents and cause structural damage to buildings. This is why it’s important to get rid of the problem as quickly as possible. Furthermore, you do not want to potentially be held liable should someone get stung and go into anaphylactic shock.

How Do I Remove the Nest?

It depends on the type of nest.

If wasps or hornets decide to build a nest on your property, no one is going to be upset if you eradicate the colony. Again, these bugs are evil stinging machines. Feel free to call an exterminator. Scratch that. It is highly recommended that you call an exterminator. However, if you want to try your hand at eliminating the problem on your own, don’t just attack the nest with fire, water, or some kind of club. This won’t effectively kill the colony, and you’ll just end up with a swarm of very angry stinging insects that are out for your blood. For better instructions on how to go about getting rid of a nest, see here.

If you have a honeybee colony on your property, do not call an exterminator. Call one of the bee experts from this list. They will remove the hive from your property without killing the bee colony and take it to an established apiary. About a third of the food we eat needs to be pollinated by insects like bees, and many bee colonies in the United States have succumbed to Colony Collapse Disorder. These colonies are worth their weight in gold and should not be killed off.

Here’s how you can tell the difference between the two:


If your tenant wants to practice beekeeping, they have to ask you first. After all, it is your property. While the choice is up to you, it’s probably best to tell them no.

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