Honolulu Country Club is a gorgeous place. The entrance driveway has waterfalls on both sides, the place is very well maintained. We have gotten two calls from them so far. This one was in a small palm tree very near where the first swarm was last year. However, this one was much more difficult to remove. The bees had gotten in-between the branches and were hanging on for dear life. Shaking them out was not working, so I reached in a scooped them with my hand.
The woman called and said she had bees in her tree. This was just after we had done a removal from a wall. We were just sitting down to a much deserved rest, but when bees swarm you have to move, at least they were close. When we got there the woman and her two kids were in the front of the house, the bees were in the back. She didn’t even want to come out in the front because of the bees. Finally she came out and showed us where they were. She even stayed nearby and video shot the whole thing, she wasn’t as scared as she thought. This was a fairly large group of bees! I shook them into the box and stood back. One of the kids was brave, she went much closer than the rest of the family to take a look. When it looked as if we had most of them in the box we closed it up and took them home.
Older homes are hard to work on, this one was no exception. They had metal covering part of the outside wall. The space we had to work in was a bit cramped. Then when we cut the wall open we saw the bees had built on both sides of the stud. Reaching in to cut out comb with angry bees everywhere is not fun. To make sure the space wasn’t used by bees again we filled it with expanding foam. Jon came to help and I was very grateful.
I was told the bees were in a blue box in the carport. The “Blue Box” was a 5 foot tall by 4 foot sturdy wooden box. It was filled completely with stuff. The bees had gotten in and went to the bottom to start to build. I had to take everything out. Some of the boxes inside had bees attached to them, so that was the easy part. Then I had to turn the thing on its side, crawl in and scoop the bees. When I was don’t with that I had a 5 gallon bucket half full of bees. I waited for about 10 minutes for the bees to gather around the bucket, then I put a sheet over them and took them home.
Sometimes the bees take the queen and leave when things get bad in the hive. That is what happened with this hive. We had to smoke the hive so we could see the comb, shortly after we started removing the comb my wife said she saw what looked like a swarm forming on the roof across the alley. We took the comb out and noticed that there weren’t very many bees in the area. We put the hive near the “swarm” because we were sure they were from this hive. We thought they would go into the hive since this was now home. We went to lunch, when we came back they were still on the roof. My wife suggested the queen may be in that group on the roof. The person who came to help us went on the roof and scooped them into the box. As soon as she scooped them into the box they all trooped right in. We waited a bit and brought the box down. The woman who was with us was very new at this and said she never thought in a million years as a bee keeper she would be climbing on a roof to catch bees.
We got a call in the late afternoon from a man who said his neighbor was going nuts because of the swarm. I told him I would have to get it in the morning. The Dept. of Trans. had closed 3 of 5 lanes on the freeway and traffic wasn’t moving. What would have normally taken me 20 min. would have taken me 2 hours, so I told him I would come in the morning if the bees were still there. We got there and they told me the neighbor was bothering them non stop about the bees. My friend Cindy went with us and was standing by. The neighbor came up and started asking her all kinds of questions. He wanted to know everything! When he saw us working he was more curious than worried.
If you are an urban backyard beekeeper you need to get to know your neighbors. I keep bees at my house, and my neighbors know. I have offered to them to come and look at what we do and how we do it. Most have said they aren’t interested. I have also told them that since we live near undeveloped areas there are going to be wild bees, not necessarily my bees. Whenever they have a swarm, they just come to me. The guy who called me to remove this swarm kept trying to get me to say that they came from his neighbor. I can’t say that, because bees will fly up to 5 miles, and he lived near undeveloped areas, so the bees could have come from anywhere. I saw the beekeeper and told him he may have swarmed. He immediately got his gear and checked the bees, his hives didn’t swarm. If you are a urban beekeeper get to know your neighbors. If you live near a beekeeper get to know them, you may even be able to buy some very local honey from them.
You learn something new sometimes. We did this removal from a garage. There was room to work, which was nice since many garage’s are so packed you can’t fit a piece of paper in them. This one was there for only 1 week, so you can see how fast they can build. We put the nuc on the ladder and noticed the bees were not going to it. Then we moved the nuc closer to the now plugged entrance, and wow! They found where home had moved to and moved right in. The people decided we did such a good job at putting the sheetrock back they wouldn’t paint.
Some time ago I met a vendor at a Comic Con here in Honolulu. I told him we removed bees and caught swarms. We saw each other at one or two shows since. Then he called me today and said he had bees in a tree. He wanted me to come get them. He also wanted to make sure we weren’t going to kill them. I assured him we are a live removal company. He calls himself an urban farmer, he has some aquaponics, some rabbits, chickens and worms. We asked him if he wanted hive on his property, he then told us he is deathly afraid of bees. So I guess not.
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.