All posts by Ken Harmeyer


Sometimes you get to go places that are very interesting. This abandoned building is in an old plantation village. In years past sugar cane and pineapple growers built villages for the workers. There is a lot of history in these places. When the companies moved out they left all of the buildings, this was a machine warehouse at one time. The entrance to the place was overgrown. We had to cut a path to the door so we could get our equipment in. I you look you will see a brown streak on the sheetrock. That is were the bees were waling from the entrance to the window to fly out. They were a bit more aggressive than I hoped for. Both of us got stung several times. The comb panels were 2 feet across and 4 feet long! It was hard working with something that big. We got the job done and moved the bees to a better spot. In about 1 month they are going to knock the building down.

What Happens

What happens is the original hive gets crowded. The queen takes half of the hive and leaves. They hang out in a tree or bush in a ball about the size of a football. They start sending out scouts to find a new place to live. Generally they find the place and leave between 3-5 pm the next day. They like to find a space that in enclosed and is easily defended. This guy found out his cabinet was the perfect place for them. They had moved in 2 days prior, and had a good amount of comb by the time he noticed them. We got them out of the cabinet and into a nuc, and took them home.

You have to wonder

Some times you have to wonder what people are thinking. This was a house that was going on the market, but they had bees in the ceiling. The agent kept asking me if I would do it for free, I kept telling her no. So she had us come do the job. While we were on the way she texted me and told me the inside painters were also working in the house! I could not believe it. The painting crew was professional so we worked it out, but we had to wait an hour before we could get started. Then the crew chief kept asking when we were going to be done.

And yet again

Humans are so good to bees. They build these boxes in the ground, put covers with a hole in it and then go away for a long time. We remove bees from irrigation boxes all of the time. With all of the new timers and moisture sensors the landscaper doesn’t need to go back for a long time. That was the case with these girls. They had been there for about 8 months the way the hive and color of the comb looked. The problem with this one was that the comb went every which way, so it was hard for Penny to get it into the frames. I’m so glad she likes puzzles and can get it done quickly.

I have said before

I have said before that when doing removals I come across some interesting places. The guy called and said he had bees in a truck toolbox. He didn’t tell me it was an old military vehicle. He said the vehicle was stored at a riding club/stables at Barbers Point. As we drove I saw the old storage areas that were built durning WW2. These used to house planes and equipment, and protected them from bombing and strafing. The guy restored military vehicles, he even had an amphibious landing craft. The bees were not that hard to get out, except that it was a bit hard to get into all the little nooks and crannies they had built their comb

Lost Stories

If you look closely you will see the grey cart in the background. The bees covered the entire bottom of the cart. I was only able to get a side picture of them. The man who owned the house had a lot of history to tell. He told about the area and about the different people that lived there. He used to own a tofu factory. His grandfather had started it and they were 3 years short of 100 years in business when he decided to close. He told me stories of how he and his brothers would go door to door selling the tofu. He said they learned their lesson one day. They thought it would be fun to throw rocks at some bee hives a customer had. The bees came out in force and they got stung. They never did it again. It is sad to think when he dies that history will be lost.

Expected a miracle

The woman’s daughter called from California and said that her mother in Hawaii had bees. I went to remove them. They were in a box she used as an accent on her patio. There were a lot of bees and they were hard to get out. I give everyone the same speech when I remove bees. I tell them that there will be bees there for about 1 week. After I was done I asked for payment. The woman said she wasn’t going to pay me because there were still bees flying around. We argued a bit, then she tells me that I destroyed her prize orchid. I was working on the other side of the patio from the orchid. I finally told her that she expected a miracle, but it wasn’t going to happen. We resolved things.

It was so hot!

The people are selling the house and needed the bees removed from under the shed. This is a metal shed without any tree cover. The day we started removing them was so hot! The humidity was way up and being in the shed was like an oven. We had to cut a 4X4 foot hole in the floor to get them. We took home 32 pounds of honey from this hive. We filled all five frames of the nuc

The Circle of Life

About two years ago a Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal guy called and said he wanted to keep bees, could I help him get some. I could and did. He placed them at the EOD range where he worked. Being in the Navy he moved, and someone else took them over. That guy moved and no one took them over and they just sat. I got a call the other day from the Navy EOD commander, he asked if I could help remove some bees. He explained that one of his guys was keeping them and then left. He told me the guys name and I just had to laugh. We went to collect them. One hive was empty, but the other two were packed! They had brood, honey and all of the frames filled out. We moved them and they are doing fine.

Under arrest for trespassing

The guy called and said he had bees under his outdoor bar on his patio. His son was making lei’s and he thought maybe that attracted them. I assured him that that wasn’t the case. When we got there he told us he was a Sargent in the police. I asked him why he didn’t just arrest them for trespassing. He said that trying to get the fingerprints off of that many bees just wasn’t worth the hassle. There was a little bit of comb so they had planned on staying for a while.