I've been reading articles in the last couple of years about colony collapse disorder where colonies of bees are disappearing putting our food pollination in peril. In the South West region of the United States, where we live, over 90% of bees are Africanized Honey Bees- a cross between killer bees and the European Honey Bees that are common in the US. The Africanized Honey Bees are said to be more unpredictable and defensive. They pollinate and produce honey and wax in the same way that European Honey Bees do. Despite their supposed aggressiveness our family was intent on removing them humanely.
Jose Torres and his son
After several phone calls to various bee removal companies- all of which suggested spraying a mixture of water and dish washing detergent to kill them- I settled on Jose of Torres Honey Bees.
Mr. Torres is a bee keeper with a passion for bees. He is well informed and happy to share his knowledge. One of the tricks for identifying whether a bee is Africanized is to observe the flying pattern- Erratic zig zag flight indicates Africanization.
The method of removal is to smoke the bees to calm them- by burning burlap cloth and placing it into a smoker:
The bees are then sucked/ vacuumed out using this:
And sucked into this box:
In this photo you can see that some of the bees are on the outside which indicates that the Queen is indeed on the inside.
Mr. Torres then removed chunks of honey comb, wax and honey from the base of our roof and in our chimney-
We watch the whole process and the monkeys loved it!
When not being power washed, or removed- I found the bees to be completely non- aggressive.
Having said that- no one in our family is allergic so I supposed it is easy to not give off the scent of 'fear'.
The bees that were left behind buzzed around for about three more days although their Queen was gone and their hive was sealed off. The day after when I went outside to check, a few bees came down and head butted my body- apparently a warning sign. I kept my cool and my distance and they were fine.
This was a fantastic experience and one our family will always remember.