Friday, July 8, 2011

YAY!!!!! WE'RE URBAN BEE KEEPERS!!!!!!!

Oh, Wait, No.......

Here's an update to the bees in the wall story.

Well have we got bees....we gots lots and lots and lots of bees....

Y'all will remember from an earlier post that we have a bee hive in the wall on the North side of the house.

When we bought the house it was cold outside and there where only like one or two bees that we'd see.  We knew we had to remove it but we didn't think it was anything that big of a deal...

Well, now that its warm outside the swarm of bees outside the hive entrance is quite HUGE!!!
You can actually see the cloud of bees quite clearly in the afternoon from the neighbors yard....if the cloud of bees is proportional to the size of the hive then...we have a fricken huge hive!!!

Turns out its really hard to take pictures of bees, even with Mrs. Madmadscientist's fancy pants camera but here are a couple of tries.



Those shots were taken in the morning when the swarm was still small. 

I think I've figured out where they are in the structure of the house.
Take a look at this pic.

I can hear a clicking/water dripping noise from that area. I think the bees came in at the pipe penetration and expanded horizontally into the joist bay.

But Wait, There's More!!!

A couple of weeks ago there was like a freaky horror movie sized swarm outside the house for a couple of hours....guess what that means??...yep the original hive got too big for its britches and divided!!

Where did the new colony go???
Oh, about 10 feet to the left and started a new hive!! Also in our walls!!!! Hurray!!!!! We're urban beekeepers!!! I don't know if this is normal but the ground outside the old hive was literally covered with dead bees? Maybe it was a bloody coup?

Here's the entrance to the new hive.

That's the exhaust pipe for an old gas wall heater that was in baby madmadscientist's room at one time....somebody removed the heater and patched the wall but didn't bother to remove the venting pipe!!  I guess that they thought that the single layer of duct tape would be a sufficient barrier....

Here's a shot from the inside. You can just make out the ghosted outline of the old wall heater.

If you put your ear to the wall here you can totally hear bees buzzing and going about their work. It looks like they have access to this entire stud bay....Hurray!!!!!

So, now we've got two hives....all we need now is a chicken coop and we'll be super hip urban farmers!! Hurray!!!!

Help!!!
We need to remove these bees ASAP. My neighbor on that side is getting pretty pissed off at us for not doing it sooner. The bees poop all over their car (it's yellow) and they wash it a couple times a week now....

Also, we can't really reroof or repaint until they are gone...

I looked into having them removed safely by a pro.

It seems like such a raw deal for us. Here's how it works. You pay them ~$600 per hive and they will come out and bust into your walls and remove the bees and the comb and the honey. Then you are responsible for cleaning up the rest of the mess (which I've heard is substantial) and repairing the damage yourself!!! We don't even get to keep the honey!!! All told, I'm estimating that it will cost like $3k to solve this issue....

OR...

I can buy some poison and nuke both hives and be done with it for under $100....

I don't want to do that. I understand how important bees are to the survival of the human race. If the bees go, we go a couple of weeks later...

But c'mon bee keepers...do you see why more hives get nuked than safely removed?

My ideal solution:

I'd like to work with the removal team to remove the portions of the house that need to be in a way that will make it as easy as possible to replace. Then I want the dang honey!!!! We could give it away as gifts to our neighbors to make up for the inconvenience. Then, well, I don't want to pay for it of course...

What I find funny about urban bee keeper folks is when you tell them the situation they really, really, pour on the 'don't kill them please!!!!' stuff but then when you ask them to remove them they're like, 'oh we only take hives if they are in a bush reachable without a ladder'!?!?!?!!? LAME!!

C'mon beekeeper save-the-bees types. Put your money where your mouth is!!!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure I would put on two bee keeper's suits and break out the sawzall. Buy some bee hives and chunk the bees in there, then tell the bee keepers they can have a free hive if they want it. I would totally DIY this one, come on you re-did the gas pipe at the old place, can't be as hard as that!?

Kitt said...

The problem with poisoning them is that you still have a huge mass of wax and honey inside your walls, without the bees regulating the temperature. So you end up having to open the walls anyway, because now it's all sticky and melty and attracting mice, ants, moths ... and the next swarm that comes along looking for a nice place to live.

You might try posting on craigslist or checking with the local beekeeping club to see if they can recommend someone who does cutouts. I know people in Denver, but that doesn't help much.

The MadScientist said...

anon,
Two things,
1. I already had plenty of experience with gas pipe before I started that project.
2. Gas pipes don't swarm and sting you!!

I will probably try to do a hybrid where I partner with a local beekeeper to safetly do what you suscribe and to have a home waiting for them.

The MadScientist said...

Kitt,
Ya the whole hive in the wall thing is something that I hear a lot of from the 'bee people'...cept I've talked to a bunch of people who just poisoned the hives and sealed up the holes and have never had a problem with it....
I'm hoping that this posting gets bounced around to the different bee folks so they can see what the situation is and hopefully someone will come out and help me.

Anonymous said...

I've not used this guy but he sells honey at the local farmers market in downtown oakland.

http://www.beehealthyhoneyshop.com/

Stefaneener said...

We've talked about this. I am happy to help you pull them and establish them in a hive (yours or someone else's). I know you hear the "don't kill them" thing not only because we're tree-huggers, but because it doesn't solve your problem. The wax, honey, bees and larvae will melt, mold, attract rats, etc. Plus seep into your house.

Now, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it is an urban myth, in which case, poison away -- there are enough bees in Alameda that two problem hives won't be missed (sorry everyone, it's true). On the other hand, these seem pretty successful!

I'm right across from Kevy and John if you want to talk again.