Did you know there are some instances where destroying a beehive in Iowa is illegal?

Bees are incredibly valuable to helping the environment you and I live in. They help pollinate fruits, vegetables, and crops, plus they help create honey and beeswax. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, honeybees help pollinate $15 billion worth of crops each year, including 130 different kinds of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. The honey they produce is also worth millions every year

While bees are extremely important to the environment, that doesn't mean you necessarily want a colony of them living in, near, or around your home. What are the rules regarding beehives in Iowa? When are you allowed to use sprays or insecticides to get rid of them?

Unsplash - Damien Tupinier
Unsplash - Damien Tupinier

Is It Legal?

Depending on the situation, it may be illegal to remove or spray a beehive. According to Iowa State University, "If the bees are an immediate threat or if it is not possible to salvage the honey bee colonies from wall voids then extermination with an insecticide may be necessary.  This can be a do-it-yourself project or you can hire an exterminator to treat the colony."

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There is something called The Iowa Bee Rule. This rule prohibits spraying insecticide in fields where bees are foraging, and vandalism or wanton destruction of be hives is illegal. If you are killing honey bees that are a pest on your property it is NOT against the law.


If you do find yourself with a beehive that has become a pest on your property or somewhere on/in your house, you can apply an insecticide dust or wasp & hornet aerosol foam into the next opening at night. You should not plug the entrance hole while the bees are active. They WILL find some other exit and this could cause the bees to end up inside of your house.

It is recommended you try repeated applications and as a last resort, dismantle the wall to reach the bees. You can then spray the bees with a detergent spray directly. When the bees are killed, discard the comb and honey as they could attract scavengers.

If you have a pest problem, you can deal with the beehive how you see fit. If you find a beehive in a field, destruction would be against the law.

In 2017, there were vandals in Sioux City that destroyed 50 beehives which killed around 500,000 bees. The estimated cost of that damage was between $50,000-$60,000, according to CBS News.

*Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advise. Please speak with your lawyer or local law enforcement in regarding the destruction of beehives.*

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