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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Orlando, FL, USA
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    15

    Question

    I have been asked to remove some bees from a friends house (mind you the house is over 100 yrs old and is listed as a historic house). For some reason, the builders of this house, or at least the chimney, left a gap of approx 2 inches between the house and the chimney. The entrance the bees are using is about 2 inches in from the edge of the chimney. The question is, any suggestions as to how to get them out without too much damage to the house (and preferably not going through the inside wall). Many thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    The details of such an undertaking I have tried to write out on this forum many times. It's hard to know what to say and what to skip. If you get ABC XYZ of beekeeping there is a description of the "cone method" of removing bees. If you buy "Free bees for you" video from Brushy Mt. there is a more detailed description of the "cone method" with much more useful detail. The gist of it is a screen wire cone that lets the bees out but not in. Depending on if you have another hive to get brood from, a queen etc. you may be able to get them to move into a hive next to the house. When I was doing it I didn't have a hive, so I was just stealing workers until I weakened the hive down to little or nothing. Then you try to get the bees to rob out the hive in the house.

    This is the only method I know of that is non destructive to the building and the bees.

    If you search on "cone method" or "removing bees" you should find a lot of discussions on here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
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    848

    Post

    If you want to remove them without using the cone method that Michael is talking about.which takes time.first you'll have to try to decide where the brood is at.If they are between the chimney & inside wall you'll have to go from the inside.also most of the time the bees will go up after they enter,But not alway.you said they was going in about 2 inch from the chimney.so they are most likly not between the chimney & inside wall. the main thing is try to figure out where the broods at.I took some out of a church last year that is over 150 yr's old.we used a small nail punch took our time & did'nt break a board.Just go slow & have fun.>>>>Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Orlando, FL, USA
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    15

    Post

    Alas, I know about the cone method, which is what I had wanted to try when my friend told me of his woes. Unfortunately, the entrance is 2 inches BEHIND the chimney in such a way as to not be able to get a cone to cover the entrance. I will attempt to get some pictures today so as to be able to show a visual of the situation.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    720

    Post

    I recently had good success removing a hive from a tree without destroying the tree. They were in a cavity at the base of a mature, healthy tree the owner didn't want taken down, but wanted the bees removed. They had only been there for a couple weeks, though there was a hive in the tree the previous year (that was destroyed because they couldn't find anyone to take care of it).

    The opening was a long 2' split, so I closed it up except for the very top and bottom with duct tape (after vaccumming off the bees on the entrance). Then I put a wad of newspaper with honey robber on it in tht top of my smoker, and smoked them heavily for a long period of time (1-2 hours) until bees stopped poring out of the hive. They flew about and settled on a nearby tree just like a swarm, which was easily collected.

    In this case, because they were not there long, little (if any) comb and honey was in the cavity so it could be sealed up, but in your case it would be best to either remove the comb/honey or allow another hive to rob it out first before sealing up the cavity.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    You may have to get a very long piece (or pieces) of hardware cloth to close off the whole length of the gap until you get them out. Smoking them heavily is a good idea, as long as you are careful not catch anything on fire. Keep the smoke heavy, but cool. A smoker can quickly become a flame thrower which is not a good thing in a cavity on any wood frame house. Smoking is really only useful if you are prepared to sweep up or vacum up the bees that come out and cling somehwere. Otherwise as soon as you stop smoking they will go back in. Then you have to remove the bees at least 2 miles away so they don't just return.

    Sometimes you just have to accept that you can't get the bees without hurting the house and use pesticide on them. Of course if it was my house, I'd probably just leave them in the wall.

    The other problem you will face after you take care of the bees that are there, is how to get the comb out (because without the bees it will melt in the summer) and what to do to prevent another swarm from setting up house in the same spot. This is usually filling it with Polyurathane foam or some other filler. I don't know what would be appropiate for a historic house.

  7. #7
    mmundy Guest

    Post

    My first thought was to go ahead and smoke the bees out, then rip part of the wall out and redo it with sheetrock. While you've got it opened, you can add some insulation. I am an architect and I love my old (1886) house, but I wouldn't hesitate to get in there and get rid of the comb because of all the trouble that would be caused in the future by dead brood and loose honey. I am plenty accustomed to trying to improve one thing and making a big mess of it. That's par to the course when you own an old building.

    I suppose you might need to make another hole near the bottom of the wall cavity so that you can apply the smoke there and chase the bees out their usual entrance behind the chimney.

    Also, many old houses are balloon framed, which means that the wall cavity can extend from top to bottom between two floors. I tell you this because the bees could be spread out over two floors in the wall cavity. Modern houses are platform framed, thus the bees would be blocked from traveling between floors.

    [This message has been edited by mmundy (edited July 08, 2003).]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Orlando, FL, USA
    Posts
    15

    Post

    First off, thank you all for your replies! Michael, I would have to agree with you about leaving them there, but it isn't my house, and they are right next door to a school and worried that it may cause a problem. I will be looking for something to close up the gap and get them out that way as you have suggested.

    As I said I was going to try to do in my previous post, I have taken some pictures for referance and so that if possible, farther pointes could be given. The pics are located at:
    http://208.22.68.130/bee/1.jpg
    http://208.22.68.130/bee/2.jpg
    http://208.22.68.130/bee/3.jpg
    http://208.22.68.130/bee/4.jpg

    Again, many thanks to all.
    SD

    [This message has been edited by Dragon's gold (edited July 08, 2003).]

    [This message has been edited by Dragon's gold (edited July 08, 2003).]

    [This message has been edited by Dragon's gold (edited July 08, 2003).]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,313

    Post

    The gap is because the foundation for the chimney has moved slightly over the last hundred or so years. Where are the bees exactly? In the chimney? In the wall? Do you know where in the wall? Can you find a hole inside to the area that the hive is in?

    You need to find the answers to these.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
    Posts
    848

    Post

    By the look's at the pic's-,the best way to remove the comb's & bee's at one time is to do it from the inside of the house.
    You will more than likely destore some of the board's if you don't.
    The best I could tell from the pic- is the board's go's behind the chimney right?
    Not knowing how far the bees is going behind the chimney before they enter.is the problem.because there could (and most likely)a wall stud between you & the hive.
    >>>>Mark

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    terrell,tx.usa
    Posts
    30

    Post

    from the pics, i would only attempt to do it from inside. the problem i see with a house that old is that the walls will be plaster not sheet rock, witch will make it harder to do, because there will be the wire that the plaster is stuck to. i would get a small drill bit the size of a coat hanger drill small holes. put coat hanger in the hole till you get honey on the coat hanger, then cut away.the holes can be patched with a dab of calking.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mineral, Virginia
    Posts
    188

    Post

    OK, now I get ya. First, They didn't intentionally build the fireplace 2 inches off the wall. In old construction, the fireplace was not built "attached" to the house per se like in current construction. Over time, it leans back from the house because there isn't enough foundation under it! Been there, lived in that. I had them on opposite ends of the house, so we ended up running a rod through the attic, attaching both chimneys and pulling them back to the house.

    Second, in a house this old I doubt the plaster is on a wire bed, more likely a wood slat one. Drilling an exploratory hole is definitely an option. If it turns out to be wood foundation, drill a bigger one near the bees, use some of the excellent removal methods suggested here, patch the hole.

    Mission accomplished.

  13. #13
    mmundy Guest

    Post

    Scott's probably right about the chimney foundation moving. I had thought, upon seeing the pictures, that the chimney may have been added several years or decades after the house was built, thus the siding behind it. Probably, like Scott said, the plaster is on a layer of lath.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mineral, Virginia
    Posts
    188

    Post

    but you get points for the balloon framing; I had forgotten that little suprise.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Orlando, FL, USA
    Posts
    15

    Post

    To all whom have replied, my most sincere thanks! I just came back from the HAS get together in KY where they had a class on removing bees. they suggested going into the wall with a bee vac, and removing the comb once most of the bees are sucked out. As for the inside wall, my friend informed me that it is actually simple wood panelling as opposed to plaster and lathe or plaster covered wire which should make my job easier as long as I can get everyone out of the house long enough to work :P. I will try to get some pics when I do this to post if anyone is interested, and any comments will be appreciated as I doubt I can ever learn enough!

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