This week I learned a tough lesson... I finally got around to removing the feral bee swarm from my house wall. It was a bad idea to wait. I should have removed them the evening I first spotted them; before they could establish themselves. I didn't.
|See that strange pipe. The gap around it was the access point.|
|It was tricky to pull down siding without damaging vents.|
|There were dozens of bees flying around in this room when I shot this picture...|
Sadly, once the holes exposed them to me, hundreds flew into the house via these holes and though we worked hard to swipe them into a hive net and take them back outside repeatedly, and we removed window screens so they could exit for two days in a row, we still lost many bees. It was heartbreaking.
|Every window sill in the house looked like this after the end of Day #2|
I eventually got them out and did my best to affix their brood laden comb into frames in a spare hive box.
I did a lot of damage to the comb trying to remove it through small holes, but I am hopeful they'll salvage enough brood to hang on and make a new queen, if need be. I never did see the queen, though there is lots of young brood intact. I hope there are enough nurse bees to keep feeding them all. I may just get lucky... time will tell I guess.
The important thing I hope to glean from this exercise is that I will NOT wait the next time I see bees congregating on the wall of my house. I will remove them immediately, no matter how inconvenient it may seem. I have captured a few feral swarms before and a few of my own hive swarms and I know from those experiences that it is easy to identify and "transplant" a queen and her swarm during swarm collection.
Allowing the bees to establish themselves; as I did here, can make it nearly impossible to collect the comb/brood without damaging it, and if the access holes are small (as mine were in this case) I was unable to identify the queen. I likely accidentally killed her while swiping up bees to remove them from their hole.
A tough lesson learned.
Have a BEEautiful Weekend!