That is what the guy said when he called me. He called on Tuesday and we were able to help him on Saturday, that doesn’t happen very often. He wasn’t sure how long the bees had been there. Once we opened the wall and saw the comb, we figured they had been there about 8-9 months. I hope this one survives, the queen was a real layer. Since it was on the 2nd floor I just put the comb in a bucket and lowered it to Penny. Clean up took longer than we expected. The bees had stressed and started pooping on the walls. Then there were the ones on the floor who didn’t want to get up. All in all a good day though.
I have been getting a lot of swarm calls. Swarms look about the same when they are in a bush or tree. The hang there about the size of a football. Sometimes they are larger than that, but most time about that size. This woman was funny. She called and said she had bees in her tree. I asked her if they were about the size of a football. She (very excitedly) told me they were much bigger than that, they were at least the size of 3-4 footballs. When I got there I saw that indeed they were the size of a football. She said when she saw them arrive in a “bee Cloud” she was sure the bee apocalypse had come. These girls were getting ready to go. There were scouts all over the swarm doing their dance. When I dropped them into the nuc they settled down right away.
I used to be pretty limber, but as I have gotten older things have changed. The guy said they were in an irrigation box. What he didn’t say was that the thing was behind a bunch of palm trees that were about as big as my arm. The trees were packed in there tight. Getting to the box was a challenge. The pool was gorgeous though.
The maintenance guy from AT&T called and said he had bees in a cabinet. I am thinking a storage cabinet. I get there and find that his idea of a cabinet and mine are very different. I asked him how long they had been there. He told me “a year or two.” He said that they had gotten into this disused digital phone switch, they weren’t bothering anyone so they left them there. Now they needed to clean up the area and the bees were a bother. The problem with this type of equipment is that there are wires everywhere. The bees had built around the wires and had gotten behind a small transformer. There were a LOT of bees! The whole 3 hours I was working I had a lot of bees around my head.
The neighbor moved in and called me the same day. He said the abandoned house next door had bees in a cabinet. I told him I couldn’t help him without the permission of the owner. Two weeks later I get a call from the owner. The new people tracked him down and gave him my number. When I opened the cabinet I saw some fairly old comb. As I get into the removal, with the help of Jason, I saw at least 8 queen cells that had been opened. There was lots of capped drone cells also. As I got past the first few panels I found the brood. The queen is young, she packed the comb with lots of brood. We filled 6 frames of brood! The last four panels was capped honey. It is very dark.
I had to lean over the lanai wall to get this picture. It was a fairly large swarm. Since they were so high up I had to use a bucket to grab them. The guy who called is the used car sales manager at a local dealer. While I was grabbing them he was trying to sell a car. He told me he would sell me a used car for $300 over what he paid for it. With thousands of angry bees buzzing my head I really didn’t what to hear a sales pitch. He was a very nice guy though, and I got most of the bees.
A local test farm asked us to care for their hives. They had some people from the University but they moved on. These people asked around and people told them to contact us. We took a look at their hives and were impressed. They had a clear area around the hives and weed block under it. Our hives are in tall grass with some old carpet as weed block. We set ours on cement blocks, not a pretty stand like this. Someone who didn’t know bees put two deeps for each hive. We took a look and saw they were only filling about 5-6 frames, so we knocked them down to one deep.
I went by on Tuesday to see the problem. We came to an agreement to remove the bees from under the portable classroom. I went by on Sunday to check and make sure everything was OK for the removal on Monday. I came back on Monday and found they had used a backhoe and dug a 4X4 foot hole directly in front of the hive. I couldn’t kneel or stand to get to the hive. I had to lean against the side of the hole and sort of squat. Then I realized they had passed the floor support for the trailer part. I had to crawl under the the portable. There was only about 2 feet between the trailer and the ground. It was a tight squeeze but I got it done.
Keoni used to help us do removals. He called a while ago and said he had bees in his wall/fence. We were very busy at the time and he said he would wait. When we opened the wall we say a fairly large hive. Most of the comb was very dark, so it had been there over 1 year. There was lots of honey and brood. These girls didn’t like being bothered and there were a lot of them. I was sure I was going to get stung, but I didn’t!
We have taken two hives from under this shed in the past. So when the woman called and said there were more we went to take a look. The shed is filled with heavy metal working equipment, and small engines. The bees were under the shed about halfway back. The way this shed is built I think it could withstand a direct hit from a hurricane. We told her we couldn’t help unless she moved the stuff. We have to go through the floor because it is only about 4 inches off the ground. She said that she couldn’t weed whack around the shed because of the bees. We offered to do it and move the sheet metal that was leaning up against it.