1.6.11

Humane Honey Bee Removal- Africanized Honey Bees

We've been doing some home maintenance.  I've been wanting to paint the outside of our house ever since we moved in.  I finally made a meeting, went to our Home Owners Association, looked through the color selections, chose a scheme and hired painters.  Not even two days into the project my painters informed me that I had some squatters in the form of bees setting up base in my chimney.  They were behind the vent so not directly entering our home.  Work ceased, especially after the bees became irate at being power washed.  One of the painters is also deathly allergic to bees- so home they went- and thus began my education in bees.
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. 

26 comments:

dotblogg said...

wow:)) I love the smell of honey:)) My dear uncle is a bee keeper and I've always loved looking at the process of producing it:)
I'm glad everything finished happily!:)
hugs

sherri said...

so cool. love the bee man and his son pic. now I want honey on toast.

Lady Gwen said...

We had bees make their home in the wall between the outside and inside of our house. I totally freaked when I saw them break through into our house. My daughter said I was like a crazy lady, running down the hall and tearing off my clothes because one was one me!

And here's a funny story (true, too!). I was going through the help section on blogger and saw that a beekeeper who loves bees and has a blog about bees was incensed when Google AdSense put an ad on her blog for bee extermination! She wanted to know how to get it taken off! (Really not funny, I know. Heh heh).

maxine said...

Like all the research that you did and choosing a humane way to get rid of the bees. What did Mr. Torres do with all those bees?

cpcable said...

I'm so glad this is the route that you chose to go! And such a wonderful educational opportunity for the monkeys too. I'm sure those bees will have a nice new home, thanks to you.

a new girl in vienna said...

wow. really cool! although i have to admit i'm a real scaredy cat when it comes to stuff like this!

Karena said...

How amazing Ren I had no idea, and this was so humane.

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Come and enter my Amazing Giveaway from Tracy Porter!!

la petite coquine said...

Oh my goodness, what an adventure! Our next door neighbor raised bees in his forest, and it was always so fascinating to us when we were growing up!

drollgirl said...

wow! i am glad you find such a great way to deal with this!

years ago i went home one day to my apartment, and noticed there were about 5 bees buzzing around. inside. they were super sluggish. i tried to get rid of them and closed everything up tight. no matter what i did, more bees kept appearing. it was SCARY! bees bees bees! this was over a HOLIDAY weekend and the property manager did not return my phone calls, so i was stuck with the situation for 3 days. bee dudes finally showed up on day 4 and asked me to press my hand against a spot in the bedroom wall. it was HOT HOT HOT. that is where the hive was located, and you could just feel the bees humming and thrumming through the wall. weird. they forced them out and i really don't know what ultimately happened to the bees. weird.

CoCo Wray said...

Great post!
Glad to hear that he is passionate, I've watched a special on PBS about the disappearance of our little pollinators, which is sad.

Brissa said...

but the REEEEEEAL question is, did you keep any honey?

Mama Gone Green said...

cool.... pretty sweet that you got to watch!

Stacey said...

I would've enjoyed watching Mr. Torres get the bees in using with much more humane process. I saw something similar on HGTV once. I'm happy you didn't kill them:-). Glad to hear you received the sign-hope you like it! Also, loved your 5 word memoir on Heather's blog. XX

Pet said...

Wow, this is a real adventure, and without even needing to move from home!

Krystal said...

so that was totally fascinating to read...you are so awesome for removing them humanely it kind of made me all warm and fuzzy - and sad to think that i wouldn't have done the research or learned half of what you did! it's a good reminder to be more conscious of making changes in the environment i guess. i hope they stay away though!!

Jana said...

My grand-father was a beekeeper, he had 70+ bee families in the garden, as kids we have been always part of the honey-making process, so cool! And of course, a bee sting now and then was a part if all too. But onion - freshly cut in halves and rubbed onto the sting - helps a lot in case you ever need it.

Bossy Betty said...

Very cool! Love that people are passionate about and compassionate for these bees!

Julia, the Thanksgiving Girl said...

I bet this was fascinating to watch!! And good to hear that your household is now bees-free.

mermaid gallery said...

wild! nature sure gives us surprises sometimes...your method of removal was admirable...bees are so important to us all....

Jenn @ Live Love Life Now! said...

What a fascinating post! I commend your desire to humanely remove the bees and I love how you documented the entire process...beekeeper suits and all :)

MamaWestWind said...

wow! So commendable to save them! And so awesome to hear about it here. I bet the kiddos loved it!

Becca

Sunshine Mama said...

That was so interesting to read! It's sad to hear that some would just kill the bees with detergent, and so glad you took it upon yourself to find a better way. I think my monkey's would have loved watching/learning something like that too! :)

karen said...

how interesting, its nice that one be keeper gave you advice other than to kill them

sarah in the woods said...

very interesting. I would have liked watching that.

Clair said...

So nice that you had your bees transported to a different area instead of having them destroyed.
Great learning experience for your
boys!
Clair

Valarie said...

What an incredible adventure. I really like that Mr. Torres saved the bees. We really need them these days, even if they're hybrids. Alls well that ends well. Happy house painting. What color did you choose?

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