Cut out with American Foulbrood in Portland ME

Update: Jump right to the photos of the comb  here. Thanks to the MSBA for linking to this article.

This was a cut out in a wonderful old house in South Portland, ME. We believed the bees we getting into a cavity on the roof line. It was also possible the bees were in a crawl space off a bedroom. Sometimes it is hard to be 100% sure until you start cutting.

Setting up the ladders

Ladder jacks were setup under the hive entrance.

Looking down

I look small on the ground


A hole was cut in a crawl space to see if bee were coming into the house. Blown insulation prevented us from reaching the wall without the hole.

No Bees

No bees here. However a large amount of buzzing could be heard on the other side of the wall.

Looking out

The bees are getting in right above the lead flashing.


After removing the trim boards and a 2×6 we finally reach comb. There are no bees but a large amount of waste under the comb. A good example of why you should remove dead hives.

Removing the shingles

Richard sets to work removing the shingles.

Mess of comb

The shingles and a board are removed to expose the main hive area. There is a lot of newish looking comb but not a lot of bees.

Honey Comb

After removing more boards, some comb with honey is found.

black comb

Some black old comb. This hive has been around for a while. Still no bees.


During the comb removal we discover some bad news.  We believe this  hive died off American Foulbrood and the activity around the hive was other bees robbing it out.  Photos of the comb here.  We go ahead and remove all the remaining comb and debris from the space.

seal back up

The space is sealed off with screening and sealed up tight.

Good as new

Good as new. Sadly the hive was sick and was dead when we got there. However if this hive had of been left in place a swarm would have soon moved in and started to spread AFB. Any near by hives will need to be monitored for signs of sickness.