Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bees!!! Bees!!! Bees!!!

Stinging Death From Above!!!
or
Raining Sticky-Sweet Goo From Above!!!

I hate bees....hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, bees....ow, my back hurts...

So, this past weekend, (the first weekend in October) was do or die time. Remove the bees before the neighbors came back from vacation...

We knew that there were two separate hives in the walls of the house, as we've talked about before.
In preparation to remove the BIG hive I built a little clean room out of plastic sheeting and tried to cover things up as much as possible.

Clean room.

Supplies

That white box on the right is the new hive box. I way, way under estimated how much plastic sheeting I was going to need for this...

Suited Up And Read To Rock!
Luckily a local bee keeper (thanks S) had a complete bee suit that I could borrow..though I don't think she realized the horrors I'd be putting her suit through..
I climbed the ladder and started cutting..with the carbide blade it went pretty fast and pretty soon I had the entire hive uncovered.
Closer look at the hive.
The hive was one joist bay wide and ~7' looooong....
Close-up of bee central.
Old House Aside... Check out the clean cut on the lathe and plaster! 
I used a short carbide blade and it worked awesome. With the short blade you can hold the shoe against the plaster so there's really no vibrations and no shaking loose of surrounding plaster. I kept the speed at medium and there was no burning either.

It's funny, the first thing I thought after exposing the hive wasn't OMG I'm surrounded by stinging hell..it was, 'Hey, I've got full 12" joists supporting the 2nd floor of the house, hurray!!!'. The house appears to be built pretty solidly with full 12" joists supporting the two main floors..don't know yet what the top floor (which used to be the attic) has....

More Creepy Bee Pics.


Next The Official Bee Guy climbed the ladder and smoked the bees out...ha...
Actually they barely noticed when I cut the ceiling down around them..which I thought was weird..but WOW when he applied some smoke...MAN the level of noise goes from unsettling to HOLY CRAP!!

What he had to do was scrape the honey comb off the ceiling and try to keep it in as good as shape as possible.

Part Way Done.

He would then hand the chunk of comb to me and I would attempt to vacuum off the bees. The pieces he was keeping went into the new hive held in place with rubber bands.

The Bees just loved Andrew..

Closing up the hive.
I wish I had a video of this..he had a bee vac that was FULL of pissed off bees...then he just opened the vac and dumped the bees on top of the new hive...

The rest of the comb I just vacuumed the bees off of, and put them in big trash bags...we filled 3 BIG contractor bags with excess honey comb..
This is also the point where I was getting stung...on my fricken finger tips!! He'd hand me a chunk of comb and bam I'd get zapped on the finger tips!!! so much fun..we spent like 5 hrs doing this..scraping comb, vacuuming bees, getting stung... I got stung 16 times..turns out I don't really have any reaction to the stings other than the initial pain...

An important step is to seal the bee hive entrance up to stop the bees coming in the house..

I bought the wrong kind of foam so when we thought the hole was sealed it really wasn't...

Then it was vacuum, vacuum, vacuum up the remaining bees and try to clean up the HUGE amazing mess we had created.. On the drop cloth in the entryway was a thick layer of plaster dust, honey, and dead bees...the front entryway to the house was just coated in honey...in fact EVERYTHING was coated in honey..the walls, the tools, us...It had been raining honey on us all day.... We were soaked through with HONEY...so, gross. did I also mention it was really hot that day??? Ugh!!!

I thought pulling down the ceiling in the old place and having it rain rat poop on my was bad..this was worse, wet, sticky, stingy...ugh...

It was a looooong hard 8hr day of overhead labor...ouch, we were both hurting at the end of it...

But, remember that there were two hives.....

The next day I came downstairs with baby madscientist and this is what I saw...
A LOT of bees on the window...loud angry bees...didn't phase baby madscientist at all though..
So, the first thing we had to do on the second day was fix our f-up from the first. We used the bee vac and got the rest of the bees up...then we used the correct super expanding foam and just sprayed the heck out of the place...
There was a stud bay above that had a lot of bees in it so I foamed that up and just foamed the heck out of the area...

One disconcerting thing..(ya just one) there wer a ton of bees boiling out of the hole where the closet bend goes up through the ceiling...this is odd. As I'm pretty sure that it's just plywood, cement board and tile up there...where in the heck were the bees coming from? Did they colonize the underside of the toilet?...Now I'm afraid to pull the toilet to reset it correctly on its flange (it wobbles, but doesn't leak)...
After the super foam job and one more run with the vacuum it looked like we had finally filled the entrance...

Now on to the second hive in baby madmadscientist's room....
Annnnnnd we're done... well, we forgot to take pictures.. but this hive was way, way, way easier to do.. just drywall, no lathe-plaster, very small, just the space here where an old gas wall heater used to live...and lots and lots of foam...

This extraction was textbook and only took a couple of hours...

While small, the hive appeared to be very, very, very old..

Bee Graveyard...

This stud bay was filled with dead bees...like two feet thick..that was kinda gross, the ones on the bottom where practically compost...smelled weird too, kinda musty...

We foamed the HECK out of the entrance and got it right the first time..no new bees...

Here's a couple shots of the outside of the entrance..we foamed it good...
Die bees DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!



Got a little over exuberant with the foam...die bees die!!!

On the second day either of us hardly got stung...I got stung only three times...but one of those times.....
Some sort of special ops bee got me.. It crawled up inside the leg of the bee suit. All the way up my leg and into the shorts I was wearing...it was stopped by the snug elastic leg band of the tighty-whiteys I was wearing...and it stung me right there!!! If I had been wearing super cool boxers it probably would of stung me on my meat and two veg!!!

We loaded up the hives into Andrew's Car and cleaned up our mess as best we could.

We had tracked honey and dead bee guts down the stairs and all over the front house entrance...
I got to break out the mop bucket and hot water and moped everything...then I mopped it again...and then I mopped it again..

Everything is sticky from honey, all the tools, the shop vac, the extension cords...everything we touched...door handles...walls..windows... This is going to send me to the nut house chattering about 'Sticky, sticky sticky....'

Oh, almost forgot, my 'haul' after 12+ hrs of work...

HoneyComb.

Guess what everybody is getting from us for Christmas???

Funny enough, I have no desire to even taste the stuff...Andrew said it tasted quite good...it was raining honey on him so hard that it leaked thru his netting and into his mouth...

Final Tally
me-20 bee stings
Andrew- way over twenty..mostly on his fingers...
200 pounds of honeycomb extracted from the big hive...
20 pounds of honey comb for us to keep...

Parting Shot.
This was taken midway through the day...at this point I was thinking...I shoulda hired a pest company to kill the buggers then I coulda 'removed the comb' with a flat bladed shovel and been done with this entire mess in half a day with no stings...This experience really, truly sucked...just about as bad as getting an MRI (my new standard of super suckiness).

17 comments:

Kitt said...

Wow. I'm glad you did it, even if you aren't. That was a pretty big hive.

I hope you took your ring(s) off if you wear any.

The MadScientist said...

No I'm glad I did it. I want bees to survive.

The ring thing.... NO! Not until the fricken end of the day did Andrew say, 'Oh, I should of told you to take your rings off!... His fingers swelled up and looked like sausages...mine, no reaction....which is good cause my wedding ring is tungsten carbide and those don't come off! Well you have to freeze them and shatter them with a hammer!

Ayse said...

Bees in the toilet? I'm never peeing at your house again.

Jim said...

Wow. Most. Epic. Post. Ever.

I'm not a fan of rodent cleanup either, but I think I would prefer that to having that many bees buzzing around. Yikes.

The MadScientist said...

Ayse,
You can just use the litter box in the 'cats bathroom' You can fit in there now I bet?

The MadScientist said...

Jim,
The bee's mostly ignored you unless you had honey on you..they were drawn to it like a magnet and would swarm the spots and eat it.

Stefaneener said...

That's such a wonderful picture. I really am sorry I wasn't around to help. Beautiful, beautiful hive.

Do you think the foam will work, long-term? I was thinking flashing. . .

The MadScientist said...

Heck, I don't know how industrious the little buggers are...
The foam is only short term...We'll have to repaint the house and fix all these issues this spring probably...

Plus I'm going to be watching the house like a hawk. Any bees congragating and ZAP!!! poisen they will get....

MarkH said...

Thanks for saving the evil bees! We need them, (and sometimes hate them).

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Poisoning your own home? This makes me really depressed.

The MadScientist said...

lisa,
I'm not sure what the heck you are talking about? Poisening my own house? Huh?
We worked a HARD 12 hrs so save the damn bees and we did. Sure some will die but we SAVED both hives...?

The MadScientist said...

MarkH,
Yes you apparently understood my anti-bee ranting was mostly just kidding-venting.

valerie said...

This post was a delightfully horrific read.

madhaus at burbed said...

Whoa, this post was amazing, but it gave me the heebie-jeebies. At least I understand why you don't have time to review houses anymore. Hope you get back to that when you finish this endless remodel/restore project.

Bzzzz bzzzzzz

CarrieH said...

DUDE!!!! You are out of your fucking mind! I don't read alot of blogs but i dare anyone to try and write or DO anything more entertaining than that! Beers on me! This is Kevin btw

The MadScientist said...

Kevin,
Sorry for the late reply.
I'm REALLY, REALLY, enjoying this years christmas beer! I bought a magnum at Costco (of all places) and we drank it with the family on Christmas.

Kim Whitley-Gaynor said...

Crapezoid! that's the biggest, scariest bee invasion I've ever seen.