Judy noticed a stream of bees going in and out of a crevice on our log home porch over the course of a week. No big deal, we thought, we do have wasps, bees, bats, spiders, and many other critters that we share our home with. Yet, after hearing a story recently about a honey bee infestation that collapsed someone’s kitchen ceiling, raining down honey and bees on its occupants, she decided to do a little investigation.
Now for other bee infestations, or wasp nests on the house, or even the dreaded carpenter bees that drill dime-sized holes in our log siding, we have resorted to anything from wasp spray to bad-mitten rackets to control the critters. But we live in one of the major fruit belts in the US, and honey bee help feed us and keep the fruit farmers in business. More and more reports these days point to an alarming reduction of honey bees due to parasites, fungus, or any number of other threats to honey bees. We wanted to relocate these bees rather than destroy them.
A phone call and a Google search led her to a local bee expert. He stopped by and broke the news that we have a good sized honey bee hive somewhere within the walls of our home (Thanks Mike!). He gave us the contact of the “Honey B Guys,” a contractor who also does honey bee swarm and bee hive removals. Why a contractor? Because part of our house would need to be deconstructed.
Ross and Greg use various tools to locate the bees, including a stethoscope and heat sensing devices, but it came down to removing logs and boards in this case to find the hive.
Sure enough, a couple pieces of logs and exterior board led them to the hive, which was located in a spot between the house roof and the porch roof. It was a huge relief to know the bees had not gone deeper into the house, so removing a wall or breaking through the drywall was not needed. What a relief!
They quickly set up shop. They actually vacuum the bees into a box. The bees will be taken to join one of their hives so they can help pollinate an orchard.
The process of vacuuming out the bees was slow and gentle, so as not to hurt the bees. The actual honeycomb was rather small. The large “bump” of bees there were actually all stacked on top of each other. Ross used a pheromone that a queen bee would release in order to attract the bees to come to the hive rather than disperse. He told us that a queen bee’s pheromone can attract honey bees to her hive from up to 5 mile away!
You will notice that Ross was using bare hands. Apparently this particular hive was very docile compared to many they have worked with!
The queen bee lays eggs in the hive 24/7. She can fertilize the eggs, and/or, use drones for this purpose. A hive can have up to 60,000 worker bees. Their job is to feed the brood, receive nectar, clean the hive, guard duty, and foraging.
Ross sprayed some almond extract in the area the hive had been. This is a smell that bees hate, and would make it very likely the bees would not want to return to this spot again.
After removing the bees, Greg and Ross reassembled the logs taken off, and brought the bees back to join another hive.
The “Bee Sting Operation” was now complete–and no one got stung! If you want to check out more of The Honey B Guys hive removals, find them here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HoneyBGuys