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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.