Friday, May 3, 2013

A Tough Lesson...

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.
I have a million excuses... It was hot, we had a visitor coming that's allergic to bees, etc., etc..  Because I waited, the bees had time to move up into the floor joists of the 2nd story of our home.

 It was tricky to pull down siding without damaging vents.
They were no longer clustered at the entrance point.  Thus, it took a LOT more work to remove them.

There were dozens of bees flying around in this room when I shot this picture...
My hubby had to dig around on the ceiling of our laundry room and under the bathtub upstairs to find them.

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!

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