I got a call last week from a friend who wanted to know if I wanted another hive. I have learned that the proper response to that question is, "What do I have to do the get it?"
In this case it was a cut-out. The hive had been living in the wall of a shed for about 6 years. The property was located in the middle of town, and is owned by a widow who couldn't afford to pay to have the bees removed. The bees had not been a problem until this Spring, and the owner couldn't mow or work in her garden because of the bees. It was either remove the bees or let someone nuke 'em with pesticide. So I took the plunge.
I went by Friday evening to scout out the job. The hive entrance was in an upper corner of the shed just underneath the joists. The bees seemed docile while I was there, but I wasn't running a lawnmower or rototiller either.
I arrived Saturday morning at 8:30, and started by cutting down a couple of saplings that were in the way, and the job started. Here are a few pictures of how things went.
Here is the entrance to the hive:
Here is what I found after removing the first board from the siding:
Removing the rest of the boards revealed the full extent of the hive:
The bulk of the rest of the day involved cutting out the honeycomb and brood comb. I estimate that I have 200+ lbs. of honeycomb, and I ended up with 1 1/2 deeps worth of brood comb banded into frames.
My wife and the owner were watching from the patio, and they couldn't believe the slabs of comb that were coming out dripping with honey.
And there comes a time in a job like this when you step back and ask yourself, "How do I get myself into these things?"
I raked and brushed as many bees as I could into the box with the comb. I wanted to leave the boxes there a day or two to see if the bees would move in, but we had some bad weather moving in. I went ahead a vacuumed up the remainder with a homemade bee-vac, and headed home. The bees seem to be making themselves at home now. It will be interesting to see how they make out in their new location.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work" -- Thomas A. Edison