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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Post #63: My First Cut-out, Part 2

Friend had enticed me to help remove a colony of bees from his friend’s house.  It took about a week to prepare things for the removal.  Friend had his new bee equipment.  I’d built a make-shift bee vacuum from a cheap shop vac and spare plywood, and homeowner had braced himself for the onslaught of our good intentions!

We got to the house early one morning with all of our equipment on hand.


The home owner didn't think there were many bees.  I knew better and told them so.  No one believed me.

When we peeled off the wood, Friend and Homeowner believed me.  There was a lot of uniformly built comb going back deep into the house between the rafters.

I began to scrape the comb off of the underside of the roof.  Friend cranked up my make-shift bee vacuum and began to suck up the bees.

Things were going slowly, and Friend thought there wasn't enough suction.  He got off his ladder and kept fiddling with the bee vacuum, despite my protests.  He was patching up holes and making other minor improvements to increase the power of the suction.  While he was doing this, I couldn't help but think of Tim Allen in the old “Home Improvement” television show, where Tim was always looking for “more power.”

We managed to recover all of the comb.  We used rubber bands to hold the comb in place on the frames for the beehive.  We added comb with young larvae as well as comb with honey into the new hive, where we hoped the bees would make a new home for themselves.  Some of the comb honey remained in an ice chest for Homeowner and his family to enjoy.

After getting the comb squared away, I went back on the ladder and began sucking up the remaining bees.  We had sucked up a lot of bees.  But there was a cluster of bees way in the back that we couldn't reach with the vacuum.  The space was over a sauna someone had built, and Friend wanted to rip the ceiling boards out of the sauna to get to the bees.

I didn't want to see that much destruction, so I suggested we stop for the afternoon, and see whether or not we caught the queen.

We poured the bees out of the vacuum into the hive that we had prepared.  The hive was set on a ladder close to the old colony.  If we had the queen, then all of the bees that were still in the house would fly into the hive.

It was getting late and it was time for supper.  We decided to leave for the day and finish things up the next afternoon.  If all went right, four things would happen:

1)      The queen was in the hive and the bees left in the rafters would find their way into the hive with the queen. 

2)      We would then have a working hive that Friend could manage on his father’s property. 

3)      Homeowner would be bee free.

4)      Homeowner and Friend could rebuild the corner of the house that we had destroyed.