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.
We got the call when we were weed whacking on the other side of the island. We told him it would be about 3 hours before we could get there. He was good with that. We got there and he showed us the swarm was at the 1st tee. They even let us use a golf cart! That was so cool. When we got there they were getting ready to leave, so we had to work fast. As we were picking them up people were still insisting on teeing off. The bees were not happy and the tee was only 10 feet away, I couldn’t believe it. When you catch a swarm you have to move them about 5 miles or they may leave. Since we are only about 3 miles from where we picked them up we are hoping they stay.
We are Christians and believe in God and his son Jesus. It had been raining off and on all week. The day we were supposed to do this removal a tropical storm was supposed to be moving by. Since we have been kind of busy we couldn’t reschedule it, so we headed out. We had prayed that God would let the rain hold off till we could get this done. The place is in the middle of the forest and was muddy and slippery. It rained until we got about 1 mile away. Then the sun came out, the birds were singing and life was beautiful. It was still muddy and slippery, but at least we didn’t get rained on. This was at least the second time bees had been removed from the area. Hopefully we fixed it so this is the last time, but I doubt it.
This is the call we went for when we found the two hives. This was a shed built into the side of the hill. The hive was small and fairly easy to remove. When we got the call the son of the owner had been out to take a look. He wasn’t sure if they were bees or wasps, and he wasn’t going to get close enough to find out. We had been to this little housing area before to remove bees from a shop vac. These were kind of stubborn girls. I smoked them very hard to get them to leave once I had removed the comb. But they weren’t having any of it. They stayed right were the comb used to be. Finally when neither the bees nor I could stand the smoke any longer they moved outside, but wouldn’t go into the nuc. After a little bit it started to drizzle, you never saw bees move so fast! We just had to wait a little while for everyone to move into the nuc.
When we have a job that requires a carpenter we give the people a discount because they have to supply one. We are not carpenters, but we do know a lot about it. There was a miscommunication with the person on this job. Her neighbor came over to see what was going on. She told him the situation, his eyes lit up and he says “I’ll do it!” I lent him my suit and he went to work on the column. Most times the bees are docile and don’t come out till we start removing the comb, not this time! They started buzzing us even before we got close. After he pulled open the column I asked him what he did for a living. “I’m a doctor,” he told me. He was thrilled to help and work so closely with bees. He had never done anything like that before.
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.
He had bees in the wall of his garage. This was a big hive, 3 feet long and 16 inches wide. We cut the wall open and removed the comb. This was an easy removal and our friend helped. When we opened the wall we expected a lot of bees, but there were very few. There was lots of brood though. We put the brood in some of our other hives which made them stronger.
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.
My 9 year old granddaughter wanted to come and help with what I was told was a swarm. She got her suit and we headed off. When we got there we saw the bees going in and out of an old cement laundry sink. I turned it over and found the thing was filled with comb. I started scraping the comb out and she started rubber banding it to the frames. We got most of the way done, the bees were getting more and more bothered and it was getting dark. Then I heard “Ow, Ow.” She had gotten stung on the ankle. We went on working, then I noticed she was crying. She didn’t scream or anything. I told her to move off where the bees weren’t, but she said I needed her help. My wife stepped in then and we got it done. There were a lot of bees!
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.