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Author Topic: Cutout Dilemma  (Read 1564 times)
Moonshae
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« on: May 29, 2008, 07:46:31 PM »

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!
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JP
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2008, 08:47:24 PM »

Here's how people locate colonies: stethescopes, borescopes, by touch, and heat guns.

I try to remove them from the outside. Yes, sheetrock is easier to cut but some people find it a challenge to put it back, float it, paint it.

Rule #1 locate exactly where the colony is BEFORE you begin.

Rule #2 Have fun.

Rule #3 Take lots of pictures or we won't believe you removed them. grin


...JP
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Moonshae
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2008, 09:17:52 PM »

Thanks, JP. Basically, you just listen for all the buzzing behind the wall/siding/whatever before you cut? I only have the stethoscope option...no heat guns or borescopes here. I don't even know what a borescope is.

I found the last one a lot of fun, so I'm sure this one will be the same if I get the job.

I totally intend to take pictures, as much for me as to share. Tongue
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JP
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2008, 12:20:26 AM »

Thanks, JP. Basically, you just listen for all the buzzing behind the wall/siding/whatever before you cut? I only have the stethoscope option...no heat guns or borescopes here. I don't even know what a borescope is.

I found the last one a lot of fun, so I'm sure this one will be the same if I get the job.

I totally intend to take pictures, as much for me as to share. Tongue

Use your stethescope but also move your hand over the area where you think the bees are, with your eyes closed and try and feel the difference in temperature in that area, as long as the overall temps on the wall or ceiling aren't above the 80's you should be able to feel a difference in temperature.

Once the temps get high, you need a borescope. Stethescopes are nice but sometimes they can be deceiving as they can pick up too much in some circumstances and give you a false sense of where the bees are.


...JP
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hankdog1
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2008, 02:13:45 AM »

I'm curious to know why you would be doing the repair work after your finished.  I can see putting back as best you can but it would be my thinking the homeowner would be better off getting the repairs done by a contractor.  Unless you are one wouldn't it be best just try to seal it up as best you can and let the home owner pay someone else to do the repairs and have a release that says they won't sue over the damages getting the bees out?
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Moonshae
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2008, 08:09:52 AM »

I wouldn't do repairs, I'm not qualified or capable. If you were referring to JP's comment about floating drywall, I suspect it was more in the nature of making things easier for the contractor who does the repair.

Besides, these people never called me, anyway.
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MollySuesHoney
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2008, 08:45:26 AM »

If you determine that the bees are between studs or the ceiling joists you can use an infrared thermometer to pin point them exactly, even to the extent of the outline of the comb structure.  One of them I use is a cheapo from Radio Shack.  14.95.  Works well, too. With that one you need to be no more than two feet from the surface. 

Edit:
Now I read your last line.  Oh, well.
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Lawrence Underwood

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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2008, 10:26:16 AM »

If you determine that the bees are between studs or the ceiling joists you can use an infrared thermometer to pin point them exactly, even to the extent of the outline of the comb structure.  One of them I use is a cheapo from Radio Shack.  14.95.  Works well, too. With that one you need to be no more than two feet from the surface. 

Edit:
Now I read your last line.  Oh, well.

I like this idea. Need thermometer and vacuum by next year. yeahhh!!!
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hankdog1
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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2008, 04:01:06 PM »

Understand about the call back thing i'm in the middle of one of those i'm talking to the person looking after the house while thier talking to the home owner.  I'm about to throw in the towel it's turning into a mess already.
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