Got a call today from an aunt of DH who has just bought a five foot tall terracotta statue. She's a greek-robed woman with an urn on
her shoulder (the statue, not the aunt) and the mouth of the urn is a hive entrance (only about an inch and a half across). Purely by luck they viewed and moved the statue home in the evening and had no idea there was a resident hive until the next day when the bees started foraging.
I suspect it's a very young hive, as uncle didn't notice any undue weight when moving the statue, though there were two guys lifting it, but it appears to have pretty good population.
The statue is hollow, with (I'm told) a large opening in the base, though according to aunt there's no bees or comb visible from down there. We believe she'll be hollow allthe way up with no barrier between the open base and the urn opening. Nothing of the hive is acccessible to us byhand. Now, while they'd like to keep the bees alive, I don't think they're going to be up for weeks of trapping out... so here's what I'm thinking:
A fume out.
We take out a super with a ventilated base/lid and comb in it and a frame of brood. Use a piece of hose from the urn mouth to the super (which is otherwise sealed).
Lift the statue a foot or two on bricks so we can access underneath. Smoke and fume with beequick to force the bees out their urn entrance and into the sealed (but ventilated) super.
Dust hands off, have a cup of tea, politely accept wild applause from the gallery.
Think it'll work?
the one potential snag I see is that the urn sits next to her head, so her head is at a similar or slightly higher level than the urn - bees in the head would have to move down six inches and over to get to the exit. It's not that far, but who knows with bees?
Obviously then we've got to clean out whatever we can and seal her up - clean out will basically have to be hosing out with as much pressure as the statue can safely take, and we've explained she'll be a magnet for swarms - so they'll have to seal her up well.
So is it worth a shot or do we just say 'trap out or nothing'?