ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

Back to Wisconsin, my cheesehead friends

Bees in my compost pile



This photo is blurry because I won’t get any closer to the compost bin, nor stand around at a distance long enough to be noticed.

I got good and stung by some bees earlier this week. Turns out a hive of bees has taken up residence in my compost pile and are going to use all of their stingers to defend their new home and queen.


I would like to regain use of my compost pile – especially because I pulled weeds in the garden and yard this weekend and would like to put that material into the compost to get it rotting. Plus, we only have a 1 gallon compost pail in the house and it’s full to overflowing. But, if I’m going to put things into my compost pile I need to get rid of these bees!

Sidebar: Sam and I debated whether these are bees or wasps. I believe they are bees for three reasons. They’re small, they don’t have a narrow waist between the head and thorax, and when I was stung (twice, I’ll have you know) the stingers and the venom sacks were embedded in my skin. Sam is unconvinced and believes these are wasps. He supposedly has photographic evidence. I will leave it up to him to prove me wrong. However, if we catch a bee, I may post a photograph of it to have y’all weigh in. Back to the discussion…

Having bees living in my compost pile is leaving me with quite the dilemma. Do I kill the bees or try to save and relocate them? Some squishy liberal in me doesn’t want to kill much of anything, especially honeybees. Honeybees are vital for pollination and maintaining local food production. They’re valuable industrious workers spreading around pollen and turning flowers into ripe, swollen ovum, which we call fruits and vegetables. I would feel like a murderer to take poison to their hive. In addition, killing off the bees means  using poison, which is rather antithetical to producing organic compost. I have been working for a few months to make that compost and I would really like to use it in my garden, thankyouverymuch.

Those were the arguments for gently nudging the bees toward seeking other habitation elsewhere. These are the arguments for killing the *BEEP*ers.

OW! Sam and I have BOTH gotten stung in the past week. I was stung twice while running around my yard and waving my arms like an idiot. (Eddie Izzard had something to say about this…) And there are PLENTY of other places where the bees can live. My compost pile is NOT the most habitable environment. It’s rotting, for one. So my arguments for total annihilation are: 1. pain. 2. better real estate.

So… What do I do? I’m sure the internet has many suggestions to offer on how to poison the bees to kill them and make them go away. Yes, that would make my support-the-death-penalty alter ego rather happy, but I would like to continue to have fruits and vegetables fertilized by my own organic compost. What a dilemma. Any other options?

4 thoughts on “Bees in my compost pile

  1. Hmmm, I am inclined to agree with your husband on this. They are probably not bees. We have beehives at our farm and they tend to like clean places and a compost is not really clean. Wasps however do. I would see if there was a local beekeeper who could come and take the bees but usually they form a cone and can be placed into a container with the right equipment. However, wasps cannot. Best of luck!

    • I didn’t know about bees preferring clean places. That’s good to know. I think I”m going to setup a trap to catch a few and do a tighter evaluation.

      • Good plan 🙂 if you need to get closer, they all go back to the hive at night. That is the best time to get near them because they are sleeping. Same goes if you need to kill them. To get them all you have to go after dark. Another option is to wait for the season to change if they are wasps. They will die off in the colder temperatures then you can just destroy the nest.

  2. We were thinking about using water instead of poison… What if we opened up the compost pile at night, and dumped a lot of water into it? We wouldn’t ruin our compost, just make it soggy. What would this do for the wasps?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s