There are many instances where chainsaws and bees are going to be working in the same vicinity.
Is it safe to do so? Is there anything you should know before getting started?
Here is a collection of frequently asked questions about bees and chainsaws, from whether or not you should use a saw near a hive to how to get bees out of a log!
Bees And Chainsaws
Generally speaking, chainsaws are perfectly fine to be used around bees.
Whether you are keeping backyard bees yourself or simply working in an area with a lot of bees at work collecting pollen.
The sound, which is the most distinguishing feature of a chainsaw for us (and many other animals), doesn’t affect bees as they do not have ears. However, they do sense vibrations in the air and will be aware of a running chainsaw.
Different chainsaws will sound different (and vibrate differently) as well – especially if you’re comparing a gas chainsaw with a battery chainsaw. Some bees may not be bothered by a particular engine pitch, but another will aggravate them.
Can I use a chainsaw around a hive?
Yes, it’s fine to work with a chainsaw near a beehive.
The sound and vibration are similar to lawnmowers, which are frequently used around hives. However, it can depend on the aggressiveness of your bees.
If you are aware that your hive is particularly aggressive you will want to take precautions like wearing a full bee suit or smoking the hive first. Another good idea is to first do a test. Simply start your chainsaw near the hives and see if the bees are disturbed.
Things that might get your bees agitated by a chainsaw:
- exhaust fumes blowing towards the hive
- using the chainsaw nearby for an extended period
- certain types of engine pitch
- branches or other debris falling onto or near the hive
- working during the time of most activity in and out of the hive
Choosing to work on a cooler day when bees are less active can be a good idea as well, or at least when the guard bees are away from the hive.
Electric or battery-powered chainsaws such as the Ryobi chainsaw range may also be better to use than a gas-powered chainsaw. Non-gas saws are much quieter (fewer vibrations) and they do not smell.
The exhaust fumes could be what causes trouble with bees around chainsaws, but a battery-powered model would prevent this from being an issue. A quality option is the Stihl MSA 161 chainsaw.
Why are bees attracted to my chainsaw?
Bees can sometimes become interested in unusual things like chainsaws, so it could just be they’re checking out what’s going on. However, there are some more possibilities!
It could be because:
- you are cutting green wood and they are attracted to the sap
- you are working near a hive or a ground bee nest and have disturbed them
- the bees are cool and are attracted to the heat of the chainsaw engine
- they are hungry and attracted to sawdust
It’s unlikely the bees are attracted to the chain bar oil unless you are using an interesting substitute chain oil.
Why are there bees in my sawdust?
Bees can often be found burying themselves in piles of sawdust.
If it’s honey bees doing this, it’s often this is because they are hungry and looking for pollen. You can leave out a pollen substitute to help solve this problem.
Solitary bees (like carpenter bees, for example) may look for wood shavings to fill their tunnels after laying eggs. It’s good that they can put the sawdust to use in this way.
Can I use a chainsaw to add in the transfer of bees from a tree to a hive?
This will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis, but usually, no, you wouldn’t use a saw to get bees out of a tree.
How big is the tree? How long has the hive been in there?
Using a chainsaw to get a beehive out of a tree would be the last resort method. The hive would be threatened to the highest degree and won’t take kindly to it.
Why are bees coming out of the ground when I use my chainsaw?
There are many types of bees that live in the ground, from bumblebees to mining bees.
They don’t only nest in the ground, but can also build in old logs and mounds of earth, branches, and other debris. If you’re seeing an unusual number flying around, or can even see them crawling around on the ground, it’s likely you’ve disturbed a ground bee nest.
Ground bee nests are usually small and the bees are usually non-aggressive. As long as you don’t directly threaten the nest you should be fine to continue working in the general area.
Can I make beehives with chainsaws?
Watch the tutorial above on how to make a beehive from a log using a chainsaw. It’s from the Gaia Bees YouTube channel.
Chainsaws And Bees
Chainsaws and bees have been working beside each other for decades now, and unless you directly threaten them, you will be fine. However, it is another story when working with chainsaws around dogs (don’t do it).
Please let us know if you have any comments or other questions you’d like answered below. We’d also love to hear any of your stories about that time you cut into a beehive in a tree or dropped a tree with a hornet’s nest!