Bees are among the most important insects out there due to their role in pollination, allowing food and crops to thrive. They also produce the nutrient-rich honey that everybody likes. Unfortunately, there are times when the coexistence between humans and bees becomes challenging, prompting unconventional solutions. So, it would be in your best interest to eliminate them as they pose safety concerns, so will fire extinguisher kill bees?
Well, a fire extinguisher will kill bees. But since bees are resilient creatures, some can withstand the blast from a fire extinguisher. In all seriousness, using a fire extinguisher to deal with a bee problem won’t yield much progress, so it is better to hire a pest control service to do away with bee incursions or relocate them safely.
Read along to learn more!
What Are the Alternatives to Using Fire Extinguishers to Kill Bees?
Bees can be a nuisance when they invade your property. There are ways of killing them that do not involve drastic measures like using a fire extinguisher. Beekeepers and pest control experts offer sustainable approaches to coexisting harmoniously with bees.
Let’s explore the various solutions for dealing with a bee problem:
- Call a Beekeeper
Professional beekeepers can help you stay clear of bees without eradicating them. These professionals know how to get the honeycombs from your property safely without agitating the female bee. Beekeepers are preferable to pest exterminators, considering there’s real value to keeping bees alive.
Smoke is a natural way of getting rid of bees from your home. Bees are extremely sensitive to smell, so if they smell smoke, they assume it is a fire and will most likely leave and not return.
Because you’re unlikely to have a beekeeper’s smoker at your disposal, you’ll need to create a small, safely contained bonfire to generate smoke. Use cardboard or small twigs as fuel. The best time to smoke bees is at night when the bees have settled.
- Water Your Lawn Regularly
Watering your lawn is among the simplest home remedies for bees, assuming you have bees that build their nests in the ground. You can easily tell that you have ground bees by watching for tiny holes in the dry patches in your lawn. Watering your lawn makes the environment unsuitable for ground bees.
Mothballs are one of the unpleasant odors that bees dislike. To use mothballs, suspend them next to the bee nest. The smell will prevent the bees from returning. You may also hang mothballs throughout your yard to keep bees at bay.
Bees have a strong sense of smell, so the pungent scent of garlic keeps them at bay. Get three garlic bulbs, peel the cloves, and smash them into fine mince. Place the garlic in hot water and let it sit overnight.
The following day, strain out the garlic and pour the water into a spray bottle. Spray the concoction around your home and the beehive to eliminate the bees.
Cinnamon’s smell will send the bees hunting for a new home. Sprinkle cinnamon around the beehive daily for a week or two. This odor will keep the bees from coming back.
Citronella is another unpleasant odor for bees. It won’t kill the bees, but its smell will irritate them. Burning a few citronella candles beneath the hive for a few days will force the bees to relocate. However, this method only applies to an indoor beehive because candles will burn out in the rain or wind.
Vinegar spray can quickly kill bees, which is unsuitable for those seeking to keep them alive. Mix equal amounts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake the mixture and spray it on the nest when the bees are asleep and around plants where you see a lot of bee activity.
Unfortunately, bees must be obliterated, but vinegar is not toxic to humans and shouldn’t otherwise negatively impact the surrounding environment. Vinegar also has the advantage of retailing at a reasonable price and is helpful in cleaning and home improvement projects.
- Bee Trap
If you’re combating an indoor infestation or intend to evade disrupting the affected area, use a bee trap. A bee trap lures unsuspecting flies with a sweet nectar-like solution.
The bees will be drawn into the vessel, but the bottleneck design keeps them from escaping. You can leave them to die in the trap or release them to a safe area.
To make a bee trap, you’ll need a 2-liter plastic bottle, scissors, and a stapler. Slice the bottle horizontally, where the sides slope upwards to the top. Remove the top part and fill the remaining piece with ½ inch of sweet liquid (say, soda).
Put the top piece upside-down in the bottle to create a funnel shape, then staple it to secure it. Now, wait for inquisitive bees to fall for your trap. This technique won’t eradicate the bees but will suppress their numbers.
- Use a Bee Vacuum
A bee vacuum is a device used to catch bees without harming them. The device uses gentle suction to draw bees into a container, where they’ll later be released. Beekeepers commonly use bee vacuums to remove bees from hard-to-reach places.
- Spraying the Bees With Soapy Water
Soapy water will clog the breathing holes of bees, causing them to drop to the ground. To employ this method, mix one part dish soap with two parts water.
Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake it well. Spray the bees directly from all sides. Once the bees fall to the ground, sweep them up and release them in a safe area, far from people.
Tips: Bees are stinging insects, so it makes sense to take safety precautions when dealing with them. Ensure you wear protective clothing and avoid attacking them when they are most active, like during the day. Also, have an epinephrine pen on hand if you are allergic to bees.
- Call an Exterminator
If all the methods above fail, contact a pest control professional. They are well-equipped and experienced to get rid of bees. An exterminator will also offer recommendations on deterring future incursions and pest problems.
Disadvantages of Using Fire Extinguisher to Kill Bees
A fire extinguisher is not the safest option to get rid of bees. Using it has several downsides, as highlighted below:
- Fire Extinguishers Are a Short-term Solution
Fire extinguishers offer a temporary solution to a bee problem without addressing the root cause. The bees might come back or be replaced with new colonies, assuming the conditions attracting them are not addressed.
- Negative Public Perception
Using lethal methods to get rid of bees can trigger negative public perception. Killing bees with a fire extinguisher can create a backlash from bee advocates, environmentalists, and the general public, who are very conscious of the essence of pollinators.
- Ethical Concerns
Deliberately harming bees raises ethical concerns. Bees are essential contributors to agriculture and ecological balance. Resorting to lethal methods without exploring alternatives contradicts the principles of responsible and humane pest management.
- Unintended consequences
Fire extinguishers are not designed for pest control, so using them can have unexpected consequences. These devices are primarily meant to suppress fires.
Spraying the chemicals on bees may disperse them, increasing the possibility of them stinging those nearby. Additionally, dispersing the bees can exacerbate the situation because it doesn’t address the root cause of their presence and can result in forming new colonies.
Are Fire Extinguishers Toxic?
Fire extinguishers are a great addition to any home, yet lately, you’ve wondered if that makes them safe. Are these life-saving devices toxic? Fire extinguishers come with different extinguishing agents. Those with dry powder are generally not toxic, though irritating.
If the powder contacts your skin, you’ll experience itchiness and redness. Inhaling the powder can cause a sore throat and an upset stomach. That said, let’s explore the contents of a fire extinguisher.
If oxygen displacement is needed to extinguish a fire, a fire extinguisher may contain halons. The most common types used are Halon 1211 and 1301. Halons are only used as an extinguishing agent in Class B and Class C fire extinguishers.
- Water Additives
Some fire extinguishers discharge plain water to fight Class D fires, usually via air-pressurized water or water from a pump. Much more often, though, fire extinguishers will employ water additives, wetting agents, or wet chemicals. These agents can put out Class A and Class K fires.
Aqueous film-forming foam is used in fire extinguishers to fight Class A and Class B fires. If a fire is fueled by alcohol, a fire extinguisher with alcohol-resistant aqueous film-forming foam will be needed to smother it.
The most commonly used powder in fire extinguishers is monoammonium phosphate. This product has a pale yellow hue and is notorious for being corrosive. Apart from monoammonium phosphate, fire extinguishers use potassium bicarbonate powder to extinguish Class B and Class C fires.
The other ingredient used to make a fire extinguisher powder is sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate emits CO2 that will extinguish Class B or Class C fires.
Common Fire Extinguisher Mistakes
Since we lack regular opportunities to practice combating fires, it’s easy to go wrong when the time comes. Read below to understand where most individuals make mistakes, so you avoid blunders while under pressure.
- Ignoring Instructions
Pay attention to the operating guidelines that come with your device. Ensure all household members sift through the instructions and understand them. Review these instructions frequently when you do fire drills.
- Using the Wrong Type of Extinguisher
What most people don’t realize is that fire extinguishers serve the same purpose, but each one is designed to extinguish a specific class of fire. Never use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire not printed on the label. Otherwise, the fire will worsen.
Here are the different types of fire extinguishers:
- Class A: Suitable for paper, wood, rubber, and ordinary combustible fires. Class A fire extinguishers are loaded with water or foam as the dousing agent.
- Class B: Best for grease, gasoline, and oil fires. The dousing agent is a dry chemical or carbon dioxide.
- Class C: These models are effective against electrical fires and use CO2 or dry chemicals as the extinguishing agent.
- Class D: Best for flammable metals. The dousing agent is a dry powdered chemical.
- Class K: Works best for kitchen fires, such as oil, grease, and fat. Dry chemical is the common ingredient used in Class K extinguishers.
- Class ABC: This is a multi-purpose fire extinguisher. It works on Class A, B, and C fires. The dousing agent is a dry chemical.
- Using Expired Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers have an expiry date, after which the dousing agent is no longer effective. Know the expiry date of your unit and replace them as needed.
- Ignoring Maintenance
Most people install a fire extinguisher and leave it there until a fire breaks out, only to realize that it’s not working. Always inspect your extinguisher to ensure it is in good condition.
Check that the pressure needle points to the green zone. If it drops to the red zone, the unit lacks enough pressure to discharge the dousing agent.
This may occur even if the extinguisher is never used. Recharging the fire extinguisher makes it fully functional again, though that’s not a DIY job. A qualified fire service company should do it for you. Here are some of the maintenance tips for a fire extinguisher:
- Check the fire extinguisher regularly to ensure the pressure is right.
- Inspect the extinguisher’s hoses and nozzles occasionally to ensure they’re free of holes and debris.
- Check that the extinguisher’s exterior is not damaged. Also, immediately replace the unit if it’s damaged.
- Keep your fire extinguisher in an open place, free of obstacles, to guarantee accessibility during a fire.
Fire Extinguisher Safety Tips
While fire extinguishers are effective against different classes of fire, they pose a risk of injury if used incorrectly. Here is what you should know regarding fire extinguishers:
- Use a fire extinguisher for the intended purpose: Fire extinguishers are engineered to suppress fires confined to a small area. That’s not to say these life-saving devices can put out all classes of fires. Check your particular model to see the type of fire it is meant to extinguish.
- Consider fire extinguisher limitations: Know the limits of a fire extinguisher. They are only best for combating small fires. If the fire overwhelms you, evacuate immediately and contact emergency services for help.
- Understand the PASS strategy: Using a fire extinguisher does not need top-notch skills. Anyone can use it, provided you master the PASS technique. Pull the pin to break the tamper seal, Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever to release the dousing agent, and Sweep from side to side while aiming the fuel source.
- Install extinguishers strategically: It’s advisable to mount fire extinguishers in easily accessible locations and ensure the path to the extinguisher is clear. Doing this enhances quick response in case of a fire outbreak. Also, regularly check and maintain your fire extinguisher to ensure it is in excellent condition. Adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations on maintenance and inspections.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Are there Specific Fire Extinguishers Designed for Bee Control?
No, fire extinguishers are primarily designed to address fire emergencies, and there are no specialized models for bees. Using fire extinguishers to get rid of bees can result in unanticipated consequences and is not a humane approach to addressing a bee problem.
Q2. Will Using a Fire Extinguisher Address Bee Incursions Permanently?
Using a fire extinguisher to eliminate bees is a short-term solution, meaning it will only address some underlying issues alluring bees. It will temporarily disperse the bees, but if the underlying cause remains unresolved, they might return or be replaced with new colonies.
Q3. Can the Chemicals of Fire Extinguishers Harm Humans?
A fire extinguisher’s chemical can endanger the health of human beings. You may experience skin irritation when you come into contact with the contents of a fire extinguisher. On the other hand, inhaling these chemicals causes respiratory irritation, lung problems, and so on.
Q4. Are There Legal Repercussions of Using a Fire Extinguisher On Bees?
Deliberately killing bees can have legal implications in some jurisdictions. Environmental and animal welfare regulations frequently protect pollinators owing to their vital role in ecosystems and agriculture.
Will Fire Extinguisher Kill Bees?
The freezing, suffocating nature of carbon dioxide is enough to kill bees, but this is a temporary solution and will not address a bee infestation in the long run.
For this reason, we recommend safer methods of getting rid of bees, such as calling beekeepers to relocate the bees to a safer location. You can also use a bee vacuum to draw bees into a container and release them elsewhere where they won’t bother humans.