Let me start with a bit of background there I a fellow who took up beekeeping in my area 2 years ago. this year I have seen plyers all over town advertising cutouts with his info. I thought great someone s picking up the gauntlet, As I stopped doing them a few years ago.
Thursday I got a call from a friend who delivers Meals-On-Wheels asking me about doing a cut out. Although a good friend I explained I no longer do cutouts. He all but pleaded with me and I finally agreed to at least go look, but he would have to drive!
As we turned off the state road onto a county road I was very familiar with I asked Dave if this house was in Beala. Now Beala is an old community the houses are 1890 vintage double boarded houses most of which have several layers of shingle siding or insulbrick which can no longer be found and falls apart when removed. Now, there was even less of a chance I would come out of cut out retirement to do it. We pulled into the drive and as soon as we exited the truck the bees were on us. We went to the house where we were ushered in by a little old lady,(now I turned 73 Yesterday, So when I say old I mean it.) She said hello my name is Lillian and offered us coffee, then began to tell me her story.
Seems she had hired the new Cut out artist to remove this hive in the back of her house. He tore into the house and worked for an hour, then him and his helper left and had not returned. she said she had been calling him for 4 days and he would not return her calls. She was trapped inside her house because of the bees. Other than Dave (who brings her dinner) no one dared come round. Oh please Mr. Tenbears get them out of here for me I will Pay anything she pleaded.
How could a fellow say no. Well under one condition, Dave helps me!
Soon we had scaffolding erecter which was no easy feat as the ground was terribly uneven and cluttered with scrap. As is the case in most double boarded houses the bees were in the floor of the second level. Built with rough sawn timber the joists are 24" apart and a full 8" deep the hive encompassed two compartments and ran 7 Feet back into the house the equivalent of 11 deep 10 frame hive bodies. I took out 7 vacuum boxes Mine hold about 30,000 bees comfortably. Although there were only 9 frames of brood. We removed 5 average family size coolers of honey comb. I found the queen at near dark In a small cluster of bees near the front of the opening, as if she knew I would be back for her. We closed the house up and calked all the seams, we were able to salvage matching scalloped shingles from an out building that was falling down on the property.
When finished I told the owner (Lillian) it was safe to come out and inspect the repair. As she looked at the job she said she could not even tell where the bees were and gave me a hug in tearful appreciation. Then asked what she owed. I told her I would send her a bill. Oh, I never will. I got 7, 10 frame deeps of bees to which I added My own queens, and the gratitude of the sweetest 90 year old in Pa. That is payment enough for me. Now If I can get Dave to pressure wash my scaffolding life will be good!