Honeybees had been living in the walls of the house for over 10 years. They were very comfy and settled in four unique colonies – 1 on either side of the exterior chimneys. From the exterior you could see a weak spot in which the bees were coming and going. The bees were most active when the sun was hitting that side of the house.
When you entered the rooms that held the bees you could hear a buzz and feel slight vibration when resting your hand on the wall. It was a little creepy, especially in the dark attic.
We made bee removal a priority. It was important to us to work with a professional whom could remove and relocate the bees. Bee relocation needs to be done in the summer months while the hive is still active and before the bees are stocking their hive for the winter. Over the long 4th of July weekend we got to work!
Two experienced bee keepers showed up with all their gear, and even had an extra suit for me to wear! First they demo’ed the plaster and lath walls from the inside. Behind the lath is a layer of 3/4″ oak board, a cavity, and the exterior siding. The deep cavity provided the perfect home for the honey bees to build their comb.
The home has balloon framing that allowed the bees to build their hive from the 2nd to the 3rd floor, making it very difficult to be removed. Once the wall was fully opened up the hunt was on for the queen. The comb was transferred into two containers: 1. honey 2. brood [eggs, larvae, and pupae]. We took a portion of the honey filled comb to extract and enjoy at a later date. The top image shows how the comb was constructed in the wall – it was beautiful!
Once the queen was located it was moved into a new hive along with the comb holding the brood. As the bees came back to the hive at the end of the day the hope is that they would follow the queen into the new location. The bees who were unable to locate the new location were vacuumed up and then placed into the hive.
We were later told that 3 of the colonies were Italian Honeybees and 1 was the Russian Honeybee variety. The bee colonies were settled and sold to new beekeepers and we’ve not see any bee activity since!
*lesson learned: When we got home with the container of honey filled comb I thought it best to leave the lid off outside while the remaining bees flew away. We proceeded to go out to dinner and came back in a couple of hours. The opposite happened and hundreds of new bees, wasps, etc found the free honey and became a whole new issue.