Technician Tales: Bees and the Not-So-Sweet Honey

The following story is the reason I decided to start bringing a camera with me on the job.  I didn’t want to miss any unique experiences like this one.
I showed up at the customer’s house on a rainy afternoon.  They had told our office staff that they had seen bees on the side of their home and had heard some buzzing in the wall.  At first glance it seemed pretty typical, bees entering the structure of the home and building a hive.  The customer asked me to look at something outside, she then pointed out a large mass in a tree in her neighbor’s yard.  I grabbed my binoculars to get a better look and I couldn’t believe what I saw.  Attached to the tree was a mass twice the size of a football and filled bees.  (After researching this phenomenon I discovered this is how they transfer the queen to a new hive.  All the workers gather around the queen to protect her while a select few special workers prepare the hive.)
The bees were entering the customers house through a small gap between the brick basement and the hardy plank siding.  By using a stethoscope, I was able to locate the exact location of the hive, the ceiling above their living room which was also the floor of the master bedroom.  I drilled into the ceiling and found honey on my drill which confirmed the hive location.
We began carefully cutting into the sheet rock to reveal the hive.  What we saw was truly nature at work.
Thousands of bees working together for one common purpose, to make honey!  The noise was deafening, the buzz of the bees filled the room, yet surprisingly they didn’t attack.
When bees are inside a home we remove them with a shop-vac.  We began to remove individual pieces of honeycomb and place them in garbage bags, we filled up 2 contractor sized bags each weighing about 30-40 lbs!  Once the honeycomb was removed, every ounce of wax and honey must be completely cleaned off, so we scraped and scrubbed to ensure the bees and other pests wouldn’t come back.
We sealed up the entry on the outside of the home and placed plastic around the opening to keep any left over bees from entering the living space of the home.  Success!  Hive removed, customer and family safe!
Matt Bowley
Inspection Specialist
404.446.8885 | callnorthwest.com

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