Bee Cut Out High Above

On the hottest day of the week, Richard and I started removing 1 of 3 hives from a house in Wells. While a simple cut out is it made much more complicated by the height of the hive. The power lines and near triple digit temperatures of the roof did not make it any easier.

To add to the complications the ground slopes away quickly from the front to the back house. The back ground level is almost 20′  below the deck. The ground was very soft due to the recent rain.

This was much safer than it appears.

To help create a level base, cinder blocks were dug into the ground. Ratchet straps were used to help stop the ladders from kicking out. To reduce ladder bounce eye hooks were screwed into the house and a strap was run to the ladder.

Looking up the ladder.

Looking down when installing the platform.

Ladder jacks were used to to build a platforms. Richard screwed them together to help stabilize the platform. A big thank you to those who let us borrow the 40′ ladder and ladder jacks.

Here we are trying to keep cool, before getting up on the ladder. Thanks to Beth for letting us borrow the stylish headbands.

Some items were carried up by hand. Light or bulky items were hauled up to the platform by rope. At this point I am not completely comfortable on the platform and still wanted to hold on to something.

Meanwhile, Richard was running and jumping around on the platform. Some smoke helped to keep bees calm.

Removing the front board was our original plan. The house is very well build and the board was nailed down from the roof. We ended up removing the back trim, which gained us access to the bottom board. 20 years of dust and bat droppings came down with the board.

The hive had swarmed a few months ago, so there was not much comb. You can just make out the small comb.  Due to the extreme heat the honey was running everywhere and causing a huge mess. Brood comb was put in frames and kept together by rubber bands. The heat made this extremely difficult as the wax was very soft.

I finally convinced Richard to turn on the bee vac and start sucking up bees. Thanks to Erin for letting us borrow the vac. The vac can be stressful on the bees so trying to get them to follow the brood is the best plan. These bees were having none of it and ran to the back of the cavity.

The bee vac sucks the bees into packages. We filled a package and handed it over to Peggy to keep cool and fed.

A small comb of honey rests on top of the frames.

The void where the hive was located was filled with insulation. All the small cracks were filled with expanding Styrofoam. Richard did an amazing job caulking the roof and trim. All the nail holes were filled and smoothed out.  The bees will not be returning.

A finished product. The bees have been moved to a temporary location while they grow accustom to their new home. They will also be inspected for disease and temperament before being moved to a permanent location.


The bees enjoying their new home.

A big thank you to Erin, Larry, and Rick who provided lots of advice.