Our neighbor came by our house and said he had bees in his ceiling. Funny thing was that he knows we do this kind of work, but didn’t put two and two together until he was talking to a friend about it. The friend said she knew someone who does a great job, then told him about us. We went to to remove the bees. The problem for me is heights, I can’t stand them. His house is built on stilts and from this room the drop was make 50 feet. We covered the window and that worked for me. We started cutting into the ceiling with our multitool. We thought we were hitting a beam or something because the thing wouldn’t cut, and there was sawdust falling. I got my saw out and started cutting. When the piece came out we saw it was 3/4 inch plywood for the ceiling.
We got the call from a condo project we have removed bees from before. When we got there I looked closely and saw the bees had cleaned the entrance to the hive. They were using the hole used to pull up the top. I put my suit on and tried to get the top up. It wasn’t budging, so I told the manager we had to come back. We came back a few days later and opened it up. There was a good amount of comb and bees. But we did see that the queen was old, and was laying in a shotgun pattern. People watched from their lanai’s.
That’s what they said when I asked how long the thought the bees had been in there. Thankfully Mike the Marine (see a previous post) was there to help. We opened the cabinet and saw comb filling the top half of the cabinet. It was maybe 18 inches wide by 1 foot deep and about 18 inches from the top to the shelf. Comb filled every inch of that space. Mike wanted another hive and brought an empty hive. We fill 6 of 10 frames full of comb and still threw away about 10 pounds of wax.
We had three calls for bees in compost bins in as many weeks. That is a record for us, usually we get maybe one or two for the whole bee season. It is warm and mostly dry inside. There is usually room to build and is protected, whats not to like.
They were in the storage bin that they kept much of the gardening equipment in. I’m not sure how much they liked it because as soon as I moved the comb and much of the bees into the nuc the rest followed fairly easily.
One of the things I like about doing this is the interesting things you get to see and find in peoples yards and houses. The guy told me that “back in the day” it was hard and very expensive to buy a smoker here in Hawaii. Most people made their own out of whatever they had on hand. He knew someone who worked at a place that imported wine by the barrel. He bought an old barrel and turned it into a smoker. He has been using it for many years. However the design of a smoker is a perfect place for bees. I got them out and everyone was happy.
The people who live in the house have a large dog, he was not the problem. Next door they have two small dogs. We were in the house the whole time and nowhere near the dogs. They were way far away from the street and couldn’t see anything from where they were. We worked on this hive for about 3 1/2 hours, the dogs next door barked the whole time! I couldn’t believe it.
I opened my green bin and I saw a bunch of bees and called you. That was the opening to the conversation. When we went to his house we saw he lived in a really beautiful place. But he did have a bunch of bees in his green bin. We took them out. We even moved the bin to where the leftover bees couldn’t find it, that way they would go back to the original hive. Funny thing was a new group moved in two days later. We went back and took those out also. The green recycler is coming soon I hope!
When we first when into the place to look we saw dead bees everywhere. They made a carpet on the floor, covered the countertops, everything. It was sad! Then we saw how the previous renter had dealt with the situation. He had ripped out the ceiling, he didn’t bother cutting it he just tore it out. He must have put a bug bomb in the house. He killed bees, but new ones moved in. I cleaned out the old comb and then started on the new stuff. We were covered in bees, at least there wasn’t much honey dripping.The house had shifted very badly and there were large gaps in the walls. Where the window was supposed to attach to the wall there was a 6 inch gap. As we took our break a neighbor told us the house had been empty for about 6 years. The person who owned it was also a beekeeper. He kept bees on a lower part of the property. I took a look. I am beginning to really hate stairs! There were three flights of stairs to get to the lower section. I saw the bee box and took a closer look. It was termite eaten and ready to fall apart, but the hive was very active. I hope the new owner saves them instead of killing them.