Saturday, September 15, 2012

Buzzing bees

Lots of people have asked about the story behind the 10,000 bees behind our living room wall.  This post tells that "story."  Awhile back, it was thought bee stings helped people with MS, so these bees might have worked for that, now disproven, theory.

We moved into our house about 8 years ago.  When we moved in, I remember finding a few dead bees in the bookcases in our living room, but the people who lived in our house left a lot behind, so finding a few bees was minor.  I'm still wanting to get rid of the refrigerator they left!

There have always been a lot of bees leading to the entrance to our house during the summer.  I go in the garage, so I only knew this from my mom when she came to visit.  Then my husband (and mom) noticed a lot of bees in a corner area of our roof.  It's behind a tree and I'm never there.  Eventually my husband had someone come to remove the bees.  The guy found 2 nests and a lot of bees.  That was 2 years ago.  There were still many bees in that area of the roof.  It's probably a good thing I couldn't see the bees - I'm not a fan - and they're not a fan of me so this is ok.  We keep our distance.

This time, my husband found a company whose mission is, apparently, to remove honey bees and their hives from homes.  They showed up one morning and my thought was how unique - this group of 5 was here to look at our bees and they loved doing this sort of thing.  They started to look, getting up on the roof and doing some drilling.  They found a ton of bees initially.  The problem was the bees kept going.  There were hives in the roof, but not the main hive.  They had to keep going.  And the people doing this work - I have never seen anyone as eager to find bees.  They told stories of the unusual things they had found.  When done with our house, they said they had never seen anything quite like it.  As my daughter and I left for Labor Day weekend, they were still drilling in the roof.

That day, Friday, they still hadn't found the main hive but they suspected it was "in the house," not in the roof.  Tuesday they returned while I was, thankfully, at work.  They found the hive - right behind the wall in our living room where we have all been sitting for 8 years.  You couldn't hear them but you could feel the heat from the hive if you felt the wall (according to my husband).

So they began to drill through our living room wall.  What they found was amazing.  They drilled a 6 inch wide hole from floor to ceiling and there was the hive.  It was black, indicating it was more than 5 years old.  Then they checked either side and found more of the hive, on either side, toward the ceiling.  Apparently these hives can be in a place for 50 years. 

By the time I got home they got all the bees.  When drilling a hole in drywall, bees that come into the house fly directly to the nearest source of light - our living room window.  A special vacuum caught them, along with all the other bees, and now the bees are probably in a happier place.  What remains in our house is the repair of the drywall, which looks strangely like a one-eyed giraffe.

This generated cul de sac excitement!  All the neighbors came to look at the chunk of wall. 

And now the bees are gone.

You would think, given these were honey bees, we would at least get some honey for the huge amount of money we paid to have our wall now look like a one-eyed giraffe.  But no.  The guy who came 2 years ago?  Well, he got 2 hives and then sent some insecticide down where the rest of the bees were.  Apparently you shouldn't do this - it can make the problem worse.  And then there's no honey.

We're left with the giraffe, but we also got over 300 pictures of the bee removal.  Looking through the pictures, I'm glad other people like removing bees, and I'm glad I wasn't home.

And though there is a decline in bees, I can't help but wonder if the bees are just relocating to houses.