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Author Topic: Bee Removal: Western Maryland House  (Read 3163 times)
Phil
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« on: June 12, 2004, 03:43:42 PM »

My Mom & Dad's home in western MD, has also become a home for a swarm of honey bees. The house is 99 years old, and the bees have entered in a crack between the chimney and siding. I have read, with interest, some ideas for bee removal at other internet sites, but was hoping to get some suggestions from the experts here.
 
Although the bees are entering at the chimney, in these older homes with large open pockets in the walls, they could have built the hive really anywhere inside any wall of the house. A dozen or so a day enter the inside of the house, and in the fluorescence light in the drop ceiling, a dozen or so accumulate each day to quickly die. They swarmed inside the house this spring and at that time hundreds were throughout the kitchen.

Of the choices I read about for removal, tearing off the siding is the least desireable, since that might require trying multiple entries before the bees are even found. We would rather not poison them if possible. (I have cleaned up the dead ones in the light fixture, and the smell in the vacuum cleaner of the accumulated dead bees is horrible. We have to just keep changing the vacuum bag. So thousands of dead bees in the walls somewhere does not sound pleasant, AND it seems a shame to waste the resource.)

The "cone technique" sounds interesting. If a beekeeper in the western MD area reads this and wants the bees via this method, please post a reply. The bees have been in the house for about two years now, such that the honey accumulated in the walls could be considerable, resulting in another future problem.  A description of the cone technique being used to remove the current hive, followed by using a strong hive to rob the honey, sounds like a good plan.

Open to any discussion. Look forward to your replies.
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beesknees
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2004, 12:25:48 AM »

.you could always cut open the wall inside the house after sealing the room off .if the walls are hollow ,as they probably are in a 99yr. old home ,they probably are pretty close to the entrance where there is somthing horizontal they can hang there honeycome
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2004, 12:42:35 AM »

Are you wanting to find a way to do this yourself? And maybe start a hive out of them?

The answers to those questions would help us know how you should go about it. If you just want them out, and you don't want to do it, then the only two options are find a beekeeper locally that wants them (and yes it's possible you might find one right here on the forum), or hire a pest control agent that will remove bees, brood, AND honey - the honey if left behind will only cause more problems (like ants & and not to mention the stench of dead bee larvae).
If you want to remove them yourself, be prepared..... but yes we can give advice as to how to go about it. It's a job, but very possible by anyone. If you don't plan on starting a hive of your own, you might as well get someone else to do it. The bees once released outside will only do all they can to return to the hive. But you could take them out and kill them too. That's always an option. (I simply adore bees, and hate for any to die, but you certainly don't need them living in your wall.)

Beth Smiley
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Yvonne
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2004, 09:11:33 PM »

Just where in W. Md are the bees located?  
Yvonne
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Finman
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2004, 11:46:44 PM »

Last weekend I just took  4-5 kg bee swarm from chimney. It has been so rainy, that they had not build comps.

First I took larva frame from my hive and i put extracted frames one box on chimney. At evening box was full of bees, mut when I listenet there was still bee s in chimney. I looked with flash ligt and part of swarm was at the deep of 3 metres.

I fastenet  rope in he low extracted super and layed down the frame. After  a while I had one box more bees.

Next morning a queen was stepping on frame and so I left it during next day in the box and box on the chimney.

All together there was  4-5 kilos bees = over 2 box full of bees. I delivered them for 2 existing hive and the queen I put in the third hive.

4 kilos bees crew  1,5 empty Langstroth supers.
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eivindm
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2004, 04:34:08 AM »

Finman,

Would have liked to see some pictures of that operation if you have any.    Quite a lot of bees to have in the chimney Smiley
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Phil
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2004, 01:14:45 PM »

Yvonne,

My Mom and Dad live in a small town near Frostburg MD in Allegany County, which is about 12 miles from Cumberland MD, or maybe around an hour from Hagerstown MD.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks,
Phil
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Phil
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2004, 01:49:32 PM »

beesknees & Beth,

Thank you both for your replies.  I have learned a lot from reading information here, and I agree, I would like to save the bees if at all possible.  To answer your question Beth, unfortunately due to distance, I will not be able to keep the bees and start a hive of my own.  

My Mom and Dad live 400 miles from me, and due to health and age, would not be able to keep bees themselves either.  (My Dad tells me that as a boy they did keep bees on the farm, but he would not be able to do that now.)

I was just home for a visit, and the bee problem is more intense than on my last visit.  I cleaned a gallon of dead bees out of the fluorescent light fixture this time, and the smell in the house is really bad until you get rid of them.  The entry point (between the chimney and siding) is at the level of the windows on the second story.  My guess is that is just too high-up to consider the cone method.  I took your advice beesknees and assumed they were not too far from the entry point, and began going through the upstairs with my ear to the wall.  The very small hall closet directly behind the chimney seems to be "bee central."  Behind the back wall of that closet (paneling on top of insulation board on top of the ancient plaster board) you can hear continual crawling, even at night when the bees are not active outside.  It is loud enough that you certainly don't need to have your ear to the wall in order to hear them, just open the closet.  I'm thinking that may be our best approach.

The closet is too small to seal-off and have room to work in.  I'm guessing I will have to plastic tent some of the hall just outside the closet, take down the paneling etc. and expose the bees.  I assume this means two folks in bee suits, one to do the wall removal, and one to smoke the bees?

My next planned trip home will be 10 days around Thanksgiving.  I will need to identify a local beekeeper who is willing to help, and have things in place to do the wall dismantling and bee extraction at once.  (My Dad has talked to local beekeepers, but has not really approached a plan, since he didn't know then where in the house they were, nor did he have to ability to carryout a dismantling of the wall.)  Before I begin to plan this, I have a bee keeping question.  Is it possible to do live bee removal in late November when they are no longer active to re-establish themselves in a hive for winter?  If the answer to this is absolutely NO, then would a Labor Day attempt be possible, and still give the bees enough recovery time?

I'm an avid gardener, both vegetables and flowers, so I agree with you Beth, I hate to see them die.

One curious new event is the clustering of lots of bees on the chimney and siding around the entry hole.  It used to be that bees were only present near the hole on a rapid "land-enter" or "exit-fly" pattern.  Now, many just hang out near the hole.  Looking through binoculars, I can see that the active ones still move in and out quite rapidly and that the ones hanging out don't seem to go anywhere.  What might this mean?

Once again, thanks for your help so far, and looking forward to any new guidance you can offer.

Phil
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