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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I received my first swarm call today. The bees landed on a house roof yesterday. Today, they moved into the bathroom vent pipe on top of the roof. I arrived about 4:30 PM right after receiving the call. A few bees were on the outside of the pipe. I set up a beehive consisting of two 8 frame medium supers with 2 frames of drawn comb. Sprayed the empty frames with a mixture of 1:1 sugar water and Honey-B-Healthy. Sprinkled some Lemon Grass Oil inside of the hive. Beehive is on top of a picnic type table near house. Bees started inspecting my hive immediately. However, it is cool and eventually the bees all went down the vent pipe.

I am a second year beekeeper and am interested in any advice you can give me. Please excuse my ignorance, but is there any chance that the bees are setting up house inside of the pipe?

I am not comfortable walking on a roof. I do not have a bee vac. Do you think the bees will come to my hive? If you think they have set up house, do I need to call someone with more experience?

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

Mary
 

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If your not feeling good about getting on the roof, I'd let em be and give it a couple days. Unless the piping is disconnected somehow (I'm assuming it's 3" pvc or cast iron) in the attic area I can't figure that it's enough area for a swarm of bees to set up shop, maybe just a stop over for the nite eh?
 

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The sewer gas coming thru a vent pipe ought to make them leave... if it is a vent pipe. Old house? could pipe be something else? or could they be going in at the base of the pipe through an opening in the roof? Not sure how well you can see them if you wern't on the roof...
 

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It's rather odd that they'd decide to call a vent pipe home. I wouldn't think there would be enough cavity volume to be appealing to them, as they tend to like spherical 5 gallon spaces or larger. But, they're bees, and we all know they seem to do whatever they like...

First of all, if you're not comfortable being on the roof, pass on the job. Giving the homeowner the name of another bee remover who can do the job is just a nice thing to do.

But, secondly, let's assume that this is a typical swarm that HAS found a new home. Remember, those bees are loaded up with honey, and are in FULL wax secretion mode. They need to build comb as soon as possible for the queen to begin laying. They're going to begin building wax comb inside the pipe. Trap out methods will leave the wax, and take a length of time and multiple trips on top of the roof. (If you're afraid of heights now, you won't be after doing a rooftop trap out! By the end, you'll be up on that roof and running around like a squirrel!) That leaves two other possibilities:

* Cut out, which is cost prohibitive, due to the plumbing nature of the job. (Most homeowners won't, or can't, do their own plumbing work.) And, I would strongly caution you against doing the work for the homeowner.

*Or killing them. That's an option that I don't take lightly. But, sometimes, you can't save them all. Giving them the gas, and then letting Roto-Rooter do their job afterwards, might be the best solution in this case.


Good luck,
DS
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I want to thank everyone who replied. I know it takes time and effort to write something and I really appreciate everything each of you told me.

I went back out to the house 8:30 AM. Temp - mid 30's. No sign of bees because of the cold. The owner saw them go inside of the pipe yesterday. The owner just calls it a "pipe that goes to the sewer." Septic tank is in the yard. She assumes that it is just a straight pipe. It sticks out of roof about a foot and looks like it is about 2" in diameter. The house looks like it could be about 20 years old.

I am new at catching swarms and really want this to work. I set up another swarm trap which is an 8 frame deep with 6 frames of drawn comb. Sprayed sugar water with HBH on the 2 empty plastic frames. Sprinkled lemon grass oil inside. Put this hive on a picnic table by the woods about 100' away. So now the bees have 2 options provided by me.

If my plan does not work out, I do have the name of someone who removes bees from houses.

If anyone has any other comments, I would love to hear them.

Thanks,
Mary
 

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Don't get yourself in trouble.

You didn't send the bees down the pipe, but if anything goes wrong when you address the situation, you are on the hook, you touched it and you bought it. That includes bees getting in the house or a pipe on its last leg letting go.
 

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I can't imagine a cavity in a vent pipe that bees would find suitable... just too small. My (in the dark) guess would be that this might be an unused pipe that gives attic access or something? Anyone once they're inside something they won't leave voluntarily... they need to be professionally removed.
 

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What if they have found an entrance from the pipe into the attic and are just using it as a entrance. I'm with everyone else a two in pipe isn't big enough to set up shop in. I bet they are inside the house somewhere. And thats gonna be a prob very soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I want to thank everyone for their helpful comments and suggestions. I think the bees may have died or moved on. There are still a few hanging around the vent pipe. I could not find any evidence that they were getting into the attic or wall. Another beekeeper with experience removing bees from houses is going to check things out when he gets off work today.

Even though things have not turned out like I wanted, I have learned so much from your comments and my hands on experience. Hopefully, I will get more calls that are not so complicated. I know now to refer the more involved type to someone else.

I love Beesource. I have learned so much from hearing about other beekeepers experiences and knowledge.

Thanks,
Mary
 

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Sounds like they may have found a better home some where else. I have seen this numerous times. I show up for a removal and the home owner shows me where the bees were coming and going and I only see a handful of "lost" bees. They insist there were thousands the day before, and I inform them that the bees have probably found a home that was furnished, lol.
 
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