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, the replies to bee removal questions in this forum.
Because in these older homes with large open pockets in the walls, although the bees are entering at the chimney, they could have built the hive really anywhere inside. 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. They swarmed inside this spring and then hundreds were throughout the kitchen.
Of the choices I read in here, the tearing off the siding is the least desireable, since that might require 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 of the accumulated dead bees is horrible. We have to just keep changing the 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. They have been there about two years now, so from what I read in this forum the honey accumulated in the walls could be considerable, so the idea of a strong hive being used to rob the honey once the current hive is removed sounds like a good plan.
Open to any discussion. Look forward to your replies.
I live in Clarksville, Tennessee and do bee removals / extractions. I have used the cone removal method before and it will take about a month to do. It is definitely not as thorough, quick and effective as an extraction using a bee vac (vacuum for safely removing bees alive). The cone method will require the purchase of equipment/hive, but will effectively take care of the problem. After all bees have been transferred to the new hive outside the cone, the cone must be removed and the hole baited in order to entice the bees to rob their own former home. Once the bees are finished, make sure to seal up any cracks or the smell that remains will attract other swarms of bees in the future. I believe the "hive odor" remains for decades. The smell of any remaining wax or pheremones will entice other swarms to enter and set up shop.
There are a few beekeepers who have done this work before and might be willing to help you out. I would contact your local agricultural extension agency for the numbers of beekeepers in your area although many of them will just be interested in catching free-hanging swarms.
Most beekeepers today find this is a very tedious and time-consuming job and will not attempt it. Others are willing, but the cost is often as much or more than the cost of an exterminator. Spraying the bees is a definite mistake. First of all bees are becoming endangered and are a valuable part of our economy to the tune of $14-19 billion per year. Secondly, the comb, honey and bees remain in the wall. Mice, roaches, ants, and other creatures will find the comb and take up residence at this free picnic, not forgetting that the honeycomb often ruptures and the honey is impossible to paint over when it soaks through the wall. The wallboard must be replaced. I have heard that the smell of rotting bees and comb is horrendous.
I would be interested in helping if you were within an hour or two away, but you might be able to find someone closer to do this for you.
Thanks for your informative reply. My Mom and Dad are 400 miles from me, so it becomes difficult to help.
I was just there for a visit, and after taking a closer look at the situation, I'm convinced that dismantling and entering the wall is the only solution.
The outside bee entry hole is between the chimney and siding at the level of the second story windows, making the cone method a real challenge. After listening at the walls in the upstairs of the house, I think I can hear where the bees are active by the crawling sounds in the back wall of the closet, which is just adjacent to the outside entry spot. I'm going to try to make plans to plastic tent the hallway just outside the closet (closet too small to seal and work inside), dismantle the back wall of the closet and remove the bees. My next planned visit home is 10 days at Thanksgiving. I'm wondering if a live extraction would be possible at that time of year, to insure that the bees could re-establish themselves in a hive to live through the winter. If you think that is not possible, would Labor Day weekend be early enough?
I don't of course plan to do this myself. I will need to get in touch with a local beekeeper near my Mom and Dad's home. I assume I will need two people in bee suits, one to dismantle the wall and a beekeeper to smoke the bees? Thanks for your help to date, and appreciate your input on this plan.
I don't live in MD of course. But here right now is pushing it a bit to get through the winter. They might take off in time and they might not. But if you find a beekeeper they can boost the hive with some stores or even brood from a strong hive or combine them with another weaker hive to help out the weaker hive.
where in maryland exactly ,I could be interested
My Mom and Dad live in a small town just outside of Frostburg, MD in Allegany Co. This is just about 10-12 miles west of Cumberland, MD.
Email me at mrugly at comcast dot net
I definatly am interested although let me check my vacation plans with the wife
phil I am also beesknees in the other forum http://www.beemaster.com/beebbs/view...b4ed0240f46ad9
someone over there has my hobbee name so I created the beesknees name just to reply to your post ,I hardly ever post over there though ,for some reason I prefer this site
I'm available Laborday -email me
at mrugly at comcast dot net
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.
It could just mean that some of them are taking advantage of the cooler weather
I'll also mention that I am an electrician w/20yr.s exper.-quite handy - and could quite possibly patch the wall when I'm finished w/ the bees