Several years ago we went to a house in Manoa, HI. and removed bees. We have been back to the house four times over the years. The house is a pole house, built on stilts so there are many places for the bees to get in. They also have A LOT of steps to get into the house. We just finished another hive in a wall in the house. I expect to get a call next year to remove more.
Sometimes bees go in somewhere and walk to the hive. This was the case with this hive. They walked into a hole on the side of the house. I used my thermal scanner and thought I had found them. The condo’s carpenter removed some of the siding and trim. We couldn’t find them. So my wife tried the porch roof and there they were! We had the carpenter cut a hole and we removed the hive and bees. Knowing exactly where they are is not an exact science. We use what tools we have and the knowledge we have gathered over the years.
Our granddaughters have been coming to help with swarms. The 10 year old is an old hand at this, she has done 6 swarms. The 8 year old hasn’t been to so many calls. This was her first time with bees falling on her jacket. I had her hold one end of the nuc while I held the other. Then I shook the branch to get the bees into the box. Of course not all of the bees fell into the box, some fell on her. She wasn’t sure what to do, so she just kept holding the box. The girls have their jobs to do when we get a swarm. The younger one sprays them with sugar water, the older one does the smoke. They are learning!
Sometimes things aren’t exactly what it appears. Bee removal is not an exact science. I tell people this all the time. Even though we use a thermal scanner sometimes the hive is bigger than we thought. That was the case with this hive. We thought it was only in the ceiling, and the people who lived in the house assured us it had only been 3 or so months since the bees moved in. But as you can see, it was a large hive. They had even started moving down the wall. We got them out, and patched the ceiling and wall.
Darryl called and said he had bees in an old back porch ceiling. We went on Wed. evening to remove them. When we got there we were greeted by Darryl the owner of the house. We started pulling stuff out of the truck. He started telling us what all of the equipment was and how it was used. All the while he was telling us he kept saying. “I saw it on Youtube!” His mother came over and started asking questions, he answered them accurately, he saw it on youtube! We pulled the damaged sheetrock down and found a big hive, so we had to come back on Saturday. He wanted to help so we brought him a suit. We told him the suits were sting resistant, not sting proof. He got his welders jacket, long pants, and steel toed boots! Then about 10 minutes into the job he was complaining how hot he was. He was a pleasure to work with.
You get a sense of satisfaction when a job goes well. This was a job well done. The sheet rock in the carport had been eaten away by the dripping honey. The reason the honey dripped was because the owner tried to spray the bees and plug it up with foam. He found that didn’t work. We cut the board and saw some very old comb. The new stuff was very brittle and there were a lot of Small Hive Beetles. We didn’t hold much hope for the hive. As Sy worked she kept pulling out brood and pollen. We brought a full hive and were thankful for that . When we put the board back we had it fit just right. This was a job well done.
Pole houses present a challenge. The poles that hold the house up are in the corners, the bees like to build in corners. These bees built way up in the house and with the pole in the way John had a hard time reaching them. We had to hold a piece of cardboard under the comb and catch it when John scraped it out and it fell. These bees were so gentle and calm. If they survive they should be a great hive. All the comb they built, they did in just 3 weeks.
High wind, rain and a really bad storm was predicted for the day of this removal. We had made the appointment about two months ago. As the day approached we got worried. But it was a great day! It was overcast so it wasn’t blazing hot, there was a light breeze so it kept us fairly cool. Since it was overcast and had drizzled a bit earlier most of the girls were home. They almost overflowed the nuc we were using. There was also a large amount of small hive beetle. One of the things that happens sometimes is that we find damage to the home. In this case it was water damage that had been there for some time. The owner wanted us to leave it open so the carpenter could get to it.
Paul helped us today. He is a Christian like us, so it was nice not to hear profanity. He has never done this kind of thing before and kept saying how exciting this was. He wanted to do the drywall himself to keep the cost down, so we let him use a suit. He was game even after he got stung. These girls were not happy we found them and disturbed them. It didn’t help it has been raining all week, so almost everyone was home. Paul was a friend of the family so they took the kids and left. I was happy about that. I didn’t want the kids to get stung. We had to seal the gap from the outside, which is something we almost never do. But they had left a large gap between the second floor and the 1st floor ceiling. All in all it was a great day!
I was on the way to take bees put of a ceiling/attic when I got a call. The woman said they had bees under the cover of the BBQ Grill. I told her after we got done with the attic we would be right over. This was John’s first swarm catch and he was thrilled. He took them home and they are doing fine.