And I forgot my danged camera!
I had a short day at school today, so I scheduled two estimates for the early afternoon.
The first is a hive in a very old, dilapidated house, which apparently has been there a long time. If these aren't some throw-back german black bees, I don't know what they are. Black bees with no banding (at least from a distance) and mean as heck. I was stung three times as soon as I got within ten feet. This morning I mentioned in another post that I had never been stung on the head. Well, now I have. Removing this one on Monday.
On my way to the next estimate, I got a call from a woman who was afraid to leave her house because a huge swarm was settling in her yard. So, I rescheduled my estimate and headed back ten miles to look at that. Got a nice swarm - probably about six pounds of bees with a nice, green marked queen. That is the first time I've ever picked up a marked queen in a swarm. Unfortunately, I really botched the job. I hadn't planned on doing any actual removal today and while I had most of my gear with me, this swarm was in a terrible tangle of branches and I decided to vacuum it. Unfortunately, I misjudged just how many bees it was and packed too many into the vaccuum box at the same time. A lot of those bees ruptured, so I may have killed this swarm rather than saved it. The queen is alive and I caged her for now to keep them in the box, so worst case, I guess I picked up a queen and I can use her.
Just as I was cleaning up from that, I got another call for another swarm on the roof rack of somebody's car. That turned out to be three blocks away. I walked over with my bucket and bee brush and swept them into the bucket. This swarm was small - maybe a pound. I also don't see a queen, so if I have killed the first swarm, I can at least put the queen with this one.
After that, I went back to do my other estimate. Now this one is a doozy. This is another house with two hives. This is a three story house and the hives are hanging from the edges of the roof at opposite ends of the house. They are not in the house - the combs are hanging out in the open air. One is absolutely monstrous. I'm pretty sure it will fill three deeps. There are also a lot of bees coming and going from a hole in the soffit a foot away, which makes me wonder if there is yet another hive, or if this hive has also built comb inside. I was impressed. Unfortunately, they are between 30 and 40 feet off the ground. The only way to get them will be with a cherry picker. I told the owners if they will get one, I'll come and do the removal. We tentatively scheduled for two weeks out. This will be a huge, crazy job. This is the first one I've had doubts about - I hope I can pull it off!
Anyway, bee season is ripping right along. "Business" is booming. I never really planned for this to turn into a part-time job, but it seems there is a lot of demand for bee removal around here.