I received a swarm call today on my way home from work. The guy said it was a huge swarm, two feet long hanging off a branch. His landscaper disturbed it while cutting the grass, and wouldn't come back until the bees were gone. When I got there, it was maybe a foot long, and 2 lbs of bees. Tiny. But I'll take any swarms, I'm happy to help people out, and I can use bees.
So, as I'm inspecting things while the guy runs home from work (he wanted to see how I handled this), I see bees flying over by the next door neighbor's house. I thought maybe since the swarm was disturbed, the bees were clustering in two places. Not so. The neighbor's house has a hive in the wall, and I'll take a leap here and say the swarm 15 feet away came from that hive.
The neighbors weren't home, but while I was collecting the swarm, their son came for a visit, and said they'd been there for years, but they just got into the house a few days ago. The swarm people are going to give my information to their neighbors, and hopefully I'll get called for a cutout.
This will be my second cutout, and the first from a structure that actually matters to the owner. In my brief observation, the hive entrance was in a gap between the front's brick facade and the siding along the side of the house.
I have a bunch of questions about this. First, how do you figure out where the hive is? I have access to a stethoscope, so using that to listen against walls should be pretty easy. Will that be enough? Do I just follow the buzzing from the entrance to...wherever?
Second, how do you decide if you're going to do the removal from the inside or outside? Personally, I'd be more comfortable cutting into drywall than trying to remove wood siding from the outside of the house. I'm guessing that cutting this stuff is a bad idea, so I wouldn't be able to just cut my way in. I'm not even sure how to remove the stuff. Of course, the bees may not be as conveniently located from the inside as the outside.
I'm really hoping to do this cutout for a number of reasons. First, If this hive has been there for years, they're survivors, and I want more of their genetics. The swarm I got today was so small, it must have been an afterswarm. Second, I plan to charge for my time, which will allow me to buy more bee equipment.
Any and all advice happily accepted!