A friend of mine texted me one night and asked me if I was interested in some bees. It was right at the start of swarm season, and I was super excited to get my hands on a swarm. As I asked more questions, I came to understand that it wasn’t a swarm at all…
As it turned out, a neighbor a few houses over has had bees in their house for over 8 years! Let me let that sink in for a few…8 Y E A R S. In the back yard, there once was a deck that was removed. Once removed, the hole that remains in the cedar siding were just left open. Eventually, a swarm found their was in through the holes and made a warm home within the rafters of the ceiling. For years, they have been trying to find someone to help them with this problem…to no avail. After we talked, we decided to do a trap-out to remove the bees without doing any damage to the home.
The first thing we needed to do was make sure all potential entrances into the hive were closed except one. We used wire, duct tape, and a board to wedge under the siding that had been separated a bit from the house. We used wire to close up two of the three holes leaving the largest one open.
Once all of that was completed, Ed made a cone out of wire that we placed over the remaining large hole. The idea is to allow the bees to leave the hive like they always do, but not allow them to re-enter the hive. We placed a new hive at the new exit, so that we hoped they would choose set up camp right there. We gave them 4 framed of comb, and one frame of honey. We figured that would make it smell like home.
It didn’t take long for us to see the first bee exit the funnel.
After we watched for awhile longer, we decided to leave for the day. We returned in the morning to find a large congregation of bees still on the side of the house. I was getting nervous that we left an opening still uncovered. As we looked closer we noticed that the bees removed the cheap duct tape that we used under the funnel to tape the wire to the concrete. We used a board wedged between the ground and the siding to finally close that off. Two days later, we were happy to see that the bee’s have decided to use the hive we offered them. Now it was just a game of wait.
At week 3 we decided it would be a good idea to add some brood to the new hive. I was hopeful that they would decide to create a queen. A lot of time when you do a trap-out, the queen never emerges from the hive. We tried to keep the funnel opening large enough to allow her to join her gals in the new hive. For good measure, we wanted to offer them an alternative in case she didn’t make it.
Six weeks after we placed the cone, bees stopped exiting the cone so we removed it. Re cleaned up the siding as much as we could, and removed extra staples, but left everything else in place until the home owner was able to properly seal the holes so no other wandering swarm decided to find a home in the same place.
All we had left was to strap the hive down, and bring them to the apiary to continue to thrive, pollinate, and produce. We are so thankful to have these bees and grateful that they weren’t destroyed because of the nuisance that they create when they inhabit a human space.
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