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Bees in the belfry

2704 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Mr.Beeman
My next cutout. The column and hollow arch of a bell tower at the Market Place Museum in Goliad, Texas. The bottom of the arch is sheet metal. Hopefully thats all I have to remove to get at the combs. The bees are mellow - a plus for South Texas.*The yellowjackets weren't!

Now to figure out how to get a top bar hive full of bees down from the tower;)
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I have a removal in a widow's watchtower on the third floor. Thank goodness there are stairs leading all the way up to it.
Take pics and video if you can.
I wonder why they even want them removed.

Some smart ass is bound to ring the bell while your working!

Careful working that close to the edge, that has "fall to your death" written all over it. Tie yourself off, seriously. One minor slip or miss-step...
I'm going to strap on and untie the rope to the bell. Fortunately the roof has sure footing with asphalt shingles. There is a ladder up from inside, but also requires a ladder inside to get to the attic entry. So a rope down for the hive makes more sense.

I may set a swarm trap up there next spring. This is not their first experience with bees. Just the first time they want them removed alive. Will start on Wednesday. Just pray I get the queen.
They want them removed to do some other repairs above the bell and to paint the tower. It really needs it.
The belfry bees are in my hive, but I never found the queen. But they have already built 7 queen cells which should hatch in a few days.

I wound up removing the comb from the 6" gap at the bottom of the arch to save the "historic" walls. It wound up being a mess with falling comb that splatted full of bees and honey. But I did manage to get most of the brood comb before the honey started flowing.

The real bummer was checking 2 days later to discover a massive cluster of bees on a tower post, that I had to go back and vacuum up. They had crawled into another arch and away from view in an area of an old hive and old comb that had been exterminated. I needed to be more thorough in looking for bees!!!

I wound up screwing two long handles on each end of a top bar nuc, to which I attached a rope harness. I then lowered the hive by rope over the side to a lower roof that was accessible by ladder from the ground. Lowering the hive was the easiest and fastest part of the whole operation. The worst was enduring the 20' trips up the enclosed bell tower attic ladder in 120 degree heat to get my gear up there, and back down. I literally wrung about 2 cups of water out of my tshirt when I finished.

I forgot to take a camera, so I didnt get any pics of the 6' long, 1.5 to 3' deep cavity full of comb before I started. Thats why honey comb kept falling as I tried to remove it and in the process kept breaking off other combs. I underpriced the job, but learned a lot from the experience.

Now if the citycouncil members will stop resigning and playing politics and cut my check, I will be happy! If they wait too long, I may just return the bees to City Hall;)
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Typically they will cut a check that small from the general fund. Ususally a day or two. I had one of my concrete subs work for a small city here and waited for a check for three months. I found out he didn't get paid, made a visit to city hall and had them cut me a check while I stood there. The crete sub was happy.
You may have to make a visit.
Pics would have been nice... but life happens.
Mr.Beeman, you win the prize. The check arrived on Friday cut from the general fund.
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