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Although bees are popular and useful, they keep settling in places we don't want them to be, for example in the roller shutter box. You can find out how to get rid of a bee nest here.

In a nutshell

  • Make sure they are actually bees
  • Provide a new nesting site
  • Only carry out the relocation with suitable protective clothing
  • The colony can be transported easily and safely in a bucket or sack
  • In case of doubt, a beekeeper has the necessary know-how to take over the task for you

Identify bee nests with certainty

If you notice uninvited guests in your roller shutter box, the bee is just one of several possibilities. Due to the sometimes very loud buzzing and the brisk air traffic, you can quickly determine that they are insects. Whether it is ultimately a bee and not a wasp requires a closer look. Because at first glance, the animals are very similar. Therefore, pay attention to the following signs in order to actually identify the structure in the roller shutter box as a bee's nest:

  • brown ground color of the bee body
  • Very hairy chest
  • Rounded body shape with conspicuous proboscis
  • Little aggressive behavior
  • No covering of the combs, therefore no nest parts visible from the outside
Source: Arnold Prentl, 2022 - DSC6347, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Unlike bees, wasps form a solid, protective shell around their nest. So if you recognize the typical grey, rounded bulge of a nest on the roller shutter box, you are definitely not dealing with a bee nest. If, on the other hand, you only recognize recurring air traffic to a hole or gap in the roller shutter, it is most likely the nest of a bee colony.

Attention: Although your roller shutter box has an inspection opening, you should never open it to find out about the content and size of the suspected nest. Peace-loving honey or wild bees also defend their brood against intruders and can pose a real threat to you.

Legal basis

The desire to want to get rid of a recognized bee nest is all too understandable. Before you act too hastily, you should familiarize yourself with the legal framework for bees and their nests:

The Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG)

The Federal Nature Conservation Act stipulates that the killing of wild and honey bees constitutes an administrative offence. This applies to individual individuals, but especially to the destruction of breeding sites and resting places. The associated fines can reach up to EUR 10,000. It becomes even more expensive when strictly protected wild bee species are affected. Then it is even a criminal offense for which up to EUR 50,000 or, in exceptional cases, up to 5 years in prison may be due.

Source: MarvinBikolano, Stingless Bee Hive Structure, edited from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Relocate instead of killing

But what do you do once the bee's nest has been created in the roller shutter box? Instead of killing all the animals and removing the nest, relocating the bee colony is a good, above all legally compliant, solution. If the new place is far enough away from the old nest and is attractive enough, the animals quickly start building a new dwelling and you can remove and dispose of the remains from your roller shutter box. The only important thing is that the colony is accepted and promoted together with the queen. Because without a queen, there is no basis for a new brood and the animals do not start building a new nest.

relocate bees

From a purely legal point of view, it is not prohibited to carry out the resettlement of a bee colony on your own. If you already have experience in dealing with insects and are confident about the undertaking, you should internalize the essential aspects before you become active:

protective clothing

Bees consider an attempt to relocate as an attack and will attempt to sting you away. Therefore, before opening the roller shutter box, ensure that you have appropriate protective equipment:

At least:

  • Large area goggles
  • Fixed, tight-fitting protection for mouth and nose
  • Full body protective suit
  • Stab-resistant gloves
  • Sturdy and closed footwear up to the protective suit (boots or booties)


  • Complete beekeeping protective equipment with full body suit and beekeeping hat

Suitable nesting sites

First of all and clearly before any activity on the bee nest you should think about where you want to put the colony after removing it from the roller shutter box. So that the animals do not automatically return to the old nest and give you "joy" again within a few hours, you should heed a few important features of a suitable shelter:

  • Distance to the old nest at least 2 kilometers
  • Sunny, warm and sheltered location
  • There are cavities for nest building

Since good nesting sites as alternative quarters are few and far between from the outset, you can of course ensure good conditions yourself at any time. Good for building a bee nest are:

  • Stacked roof tiles (ideally highly textured for large spaces)
  • Stacked wood or reeds
  • Hollow tree trunks
  • Comparable objects with protective cavities

Tip: When constructing the nest site, ensure that the cavity provided is far enough off the ground that rodents and other insectivores cannot easily reach it.

The right approach

The right time to remove and relocate a colony is in the early evening. Then the temperatures slowly drop and the bees gather around the queen to warm her. Then do the following:

  • Set up the ladder for good, safe access to the roller shutter box
  • Put on protective equipment fully and properly
  • Have a plastic bucket (at least 10 liters) or a large, tear-resistant sack (e.g. rubbish sack or potato/grain sack) ready
  • Have a spade, flat garden shovel or other scraper ready as a tool
  • Open the roller shutter box carefully
  • Look for the bee cluster and reposition the ladder if necessary
  • Slowly pull the bucket or opened sack over the bee cluster from below
  • When using the bucket: detach the cluster with the lid from the nest and close the bucket
  • For sacks: close the sack along the nest and push the bee colony into the sack
  • Close the container tightly and stow it away safely for transport to the new nesting site (e.g. put the sack in a box or bucket)
  • Set the container down carefully at the new location, open it and remove it quickly
  • Check the success of the resettlement after a few days

Notice: Normally, easily accessible bee nests are moved to a new location together with the honeycomb. However, you will hardly be able to remove the honeycomb without destroying it, especially in the roller shutter box, which is difficult to access. Therefore, only take care of the animals themselves instead of additionally provoking the defensive behavior by interfering with the nest!

Who can help?

The probability that you can and want to remove the colony yourself should be relatively small. After all, who has to deal with such large quantities of insects on a regular basis? It may also be difficult to obtain appropriate protective equipment without further ado. Instead of becoming active yourself, it is therefore advisable to pick up the phone to call for professional help. In this case, professional means less the fire brigade or a pest controller, but much more a beekeeper. Because beekeepers know the animals inside out and have all the necessary utensils and methods to quickly remove your nest.

Tip: Ideally, the removal of the bee colony should be carried out by a professional using appropriate and routine methods. In particular, you can take over the construction of a new nest at any time and with little effort and thus be of great help to the beekeeper. But clarify beforehand whether it is not a matter of a “refugee” honey bee colony. Then there is a high probability that the beekeeper will keep the colony and settle it in a beehive.

frequently asked Questions

How do I make sure the bee colony doesn't return to the old nest in my shutter?

If the distance between the old and new nest is at least two kilometers, the animals cannot find their way back. To help, you can rub your roller shutter box with lavender or clove oil to keep bees and other insects away with the essential oils.

Where can I find a beekeeper to remove my bee colony?

You can usually find beekeepers through the phone book or the internet. If you don't find what you are looking for here, the local beekeepers' association or the nature conservation office of the responsible district office can provide you with contacts.

Can I prevent the settlement of bee colonies from the outset?

Every roller shutter box is inevitably open in the area of the actual roller shutter and is therefore accessible. However, you can seal all other joints, cracks and holes as well as possible with sealing lips or brush seals. Then the scout bees find it difficult to find the cavity and the probability of a settlement decreases.

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