We watched and waited, and our bee friends only grew in number. No beekeeper in their right mind wanted any part of hive removal from the top of a second story column, not that I can blame them. It WAS a sticky situation and getting stickier by the minute. All those busy bees were busy doing their work, which meant drawing lots of honeycomb, filling it with loads of nectar, and eventually turning it into lovely honey. The trouble is, honey is HEAVY! As I mentioned before, our house is vintage. Eventually, the weight of the hive took its toll on the column they called home, and it sank about an inch from the roof that it supported. The time had come to evict these little squatters. But how???
My husband is a civil engineer. If you don’t know any engineers personally, I’ll give you a quick overview of how they work. Engineers are detailed problem solvers. It is what they do best. Day in and day out, if you need a problem solved, ask an engineer, they’ll get right on it. Civil engineers especially like it when the solution to the problem includes building something…bridges, walls, roads, lakes, buildings, bee hives…whatever it takes. So, true to his vocation, my husband developed a detailed blueprint for eviction, make that beeviction.
Step one: Bee-come beekeepers!
As background research for this little project, my husband took a beekeeping course from our local extension service. (Again, these folks have so much to offer you in your home and garden keeping efforts. Go see them. Take a class. They are super nice people.) We also purchased a package of bees to start our own hive. Side note: A package of bees is a wire mesh and wooden box containing about 10,000 worker bees. These bees are placed in a hive along with a queen to form a bee colony. If all goes well, the queen begins to lay eggs, all those worker bees care for the eggs and together they populate the hive with baby bees. “Babees” for those of your that like puns as much as I do.
Next we installed two stories worth of lovely, blue scaffolding (our lucky neighbors) on our front porch. The top level served as a base to work from for bee removal. I mean, nobody really wants to work with a hive of bees from the top of a swaying ladder. Now, we were ready to…
Now to me this sounds like a highly intense police maneuver, designed to capture a fugitive, but really it’s a method experienced beekeepers use to remove bees from any place they don’t belong. It’s relatively easy on the bees and allows you to move them safely to a standard hive. Notice I said “experienced beekeepers” there. As we found out, a trap out can also allow ambitious, inexperienced beekeepers to move bees as well.
I know, I know! You’re on the edge of your seat. Hanging on my every word. Will they succeed in removing all these bees? Can they fool thousands of bees into leaving their home? Will they get stung? Will their porch fall down in the process? What will they find in that column? Stay tuned, and in the mean time, BEE SWEET!