David L. Glover, aka The Bartlett Bee Whisperer, makes his living where so many others fear to tread. He spends his days rescuing bee colonies who have made their homes in unfortunate locales (like people’s walls and ceilings) and relocating them to more convenient locations, like empty hive boxes owned by beekeepers.
But even Glover, who’s seen so many bees they no longer phase him in the slightest, occasionally faces a challenge so interesting he simply must document it! That’s precisely what he did on Facebook this past Friday, September 28, with a series of photos and captions outlining his process for removing a particularly large hive from this brick wall:
Every once in a while I get a call that makes me cringe. Sometimes the bees are way up high, and sometimes it's bricks….
Here’s the wall. The pest control company has tried to kill the hive, unsuccessfully.
The bees were entering the wall via a weep hole between the bricks (dark area bottom/center) as well as via a gap between the bricks and the corner of the window.
Well, the large red spot is the brood area of the hive. The thin red line on the left is the weep hole entrance.
The first thing I did after smoking the entrances was to spray some Honey Bandit in the small hole I’m drilling in this photo. That helped keep the bees from running up the wall when I kicked on the hammer drill.
A little more smoke.
The first brick is out in one piece.
Two rows of bricks out.
Five rows out.
This is what I mean by AWESOME. The comb wasn’t overly-attached to the bricks AND this is one of the largest single pieces of comb I’ve ever seen! With the exception of seven narrow honey combs in the center top of the hive, this was two large flat combs.
At the bottom of the front comb were five of the thirteen capped queen cells in this hive.
Removing a slice of brood comb holding seven of the thirteen queen cells. On the left side of the hive I found a large number of dead bees. I assume this is where the pest control applicator tried to kill the colony. The wax prevented the spread of the pesticide.
Rubber banding the second brood comb.
At the vertical mid-line of the hive, the combs joined into a convoluted mess.
Slow process removing combs in the middle section where they were all interconnected and tunneled. It’s like the construction crew in this part of the hive was dropping acid. No, that’s not an angel on my shoulder. That was a fun cluster of honey bees singing in my ear.
These bees were extremely cooperative to be queenless.
While I was cleaning up and organizing to leave, I placed the nuc box in the hole to gather returning foragers.
Done! The tan area came from thousands of dirty little feet. Kind of cool when you think about all the times your Mom told you to wipe your feet before coming into the house. Mom was right, “You’ll track up the place.”
Facebook was both impressed and scared by Glover’s process:
Thankfully, there’s only one Bartlett Bee Whisperer and it’s Glover (not us). It’s a good thing these bees are being relocated to a new home, where they’ll be able to do their jobs while NOT living in a human’s wall, all thanks to Glover’s hard work!