All posts by Ken Harmeyer

This has to be highly illegal


We got a call about bees in the irrigation box in the front of the condo. We got there and started working.  A woman was walking by on the sidewalk. The box was near the sidewalk. We told her to keep moving and not stop. She slowed down, we asked her to step lively because there were a lot of unhappy bees. She started yelling that this was a public sidewalk and what we were doing must be highly illegal. Of course it isn’t, and she didn’t get stung.

Easy Rider, sort of


The guy gave me a call and said he had bees on the back of his bike. He sounded frustrated and a bit stressed because he didn’t know what to do.  He said when he pulled up they were flying around the area, he went in and got some sushi, that took about 20 minutes. He came out and saw this.  He called a few people but they wanted more than he could afford. He got me. Since I am a motorcyclist I knew what he was talking about without even seeing it. I packed up my stuff and met him. He was relieved to see me.  There must have been 10 people doing video of this removal.  I took a cup and scooped them into the nuc, got the queen and most of them moved right in.  I asked him if he wanted me to move the bike because there were a few bees flying around, but he was good with it.

5 foot Palm Tree


The guy called just as we were finishing up with the Roto Rooter job.  He said bees had come from his neighbors house and landed in his palm tree.  Penny asked him if it was a 90 foot palm tree or a 5 foot palm tree.  He thought she was being sarcastic, but we have had calls where people expected us to remove swarms that were in 60 foot high palm trees. We got there and several neighbors came out to see the process.  If you look in the bottom picture you will see a bunch of Pele’s Hair hanging from the palm fronds. The bees had gotten into the stuff which was hanging down. It made it look like the swarm was bigger than it really was. Once I shook them into the nuc they all trooped right in.

Roto Rooter


When you get into sheds that people have stored stuff for years you never know what you will find.  The woman told me the bees were going in and out of the shed, but she was too scared to get close. I saw they were going in the Ridgid box. What it says on the outside is not always what is on the inside. We cut the box open and found a brand new, never used power snake. The bees had been there about 2 months and were very happy.  The queen was laying and lots of larvae. Nikki said she would like the bees, so she came and helped and went home with bees. All in all this was fairly easy, I wish they were all like that.

Harder than expected

This is a rubbermaid shed and the bees were underneath it.  They are supposed to be snap together. Whoever built this thing used screws everywhere to hold it together.  When we started taking it down we found that they used 3 inch screws to hold it down, and some other to hold the top on.  We worked at that for about 2 hours, then we found the floor was on a plywood subfloor 1 inch thick.  We finally got the plywood up and found the bees.  They have been put into a new hive and are living a happy life on a farm on the North Shore of Oahu.

Just to spite me


Bees must know I have a problem with heights.  This removal was on a lanai three stories up.  I had vertigo the whole time.  We are into doing things safely, and I tied off while I was working.  When we opened it up we saw there had been a hive in the same area many years ago.  At least the person who did the removal took the comb out, so many don’t.  We got the bees out, but because they bunched up so far out we couldn’t scoop them.  So we got as many as we could and put the nuc on the lanai above the entrance. We came back two days later and everyone had moved into the nuc. The bad thing is that I forgot my infra red camera in my suit pocket and put the whole thing in the washer.  I am hoping it will dry without damage.

What I hate


Trailers and plantation style homes are a pain sometimes.  Bees seem to like to be under them instead of in a wall.  That means you can’t really sit up or lay down to remove the bees.  You have to kind of sit in a bended over position. Jon was one of those who wanted free bees so he came to help.  One of the things about working under a house or trailer is that the bees and honey fall on your suit.  Sometimes the bees find a way into the suit and sting.  That didn’t happen this time.  It took three of us to get the job done.  One of us had to use the smoker most of the time these bees were so aggressive. Jon says they are doing fine.

My Neighbor has bees flying around


The woman called and said there was a swarm flying around her neighbors yard, could we do something.  We told her that our bee lasso was broken at the time.  Then we got serious, and told her that we couldn’t do anything till they landed.  Shortly thereafter a guy called and said he had bees in a bush.  After talking for a short bit we realized he was the one with the bees in his yard.  We went out and grabbed them.  It was a small swarm, but they were ready to find a home because they went right into the nuc without any trouble.

Small and dark


For awhile now we have been telling people that if they help with a removal they can have the bees.  Chris was ready to go!  These were under an outside staircase. We had to move everything out of a closet, they get down under the stairs to get them out.  We had to bring our own light and fan because it was dark and hot.  Chris was game though, he got right in there and started scraping the comb off the roof area.  We had to take a lot of breaks because of the tight space, bending or kneeling for a long time is not possible.  Chris only had one hive, but he said he will buy another one and wants to help again!



Hawaii is a small place, and people know people.  Raymond called and said he knew where there were two abandoned hives.  He said the beekeeper got a brain tumor, moved to Florida to be with his sister then died.  He said the guy hadn’t been around for about two years.  He wanted help to move them into a hive that wasn’t falling apart.  The beekeeper he was talking about was Howard McGinnis.  He taught me to be a beekeeper.  As I said, Hawaii is a small place. We went to where the hives were and I saw that only one was alive, just barely.  The boxes were so termite eaten they were falling apart and had big holes in them.  With my guidance Raymond moved the bees to the new hive.  I told him he HAD to move all the other old equipment out because they would attract bugs. He called me the other day and said they looked like they were doing well.  If you look closely in the first picture you will see his son without any veil or bee suit.  The guy is a natural.