Thursday, April 09, 2009

Besieged by Bees

About ten days ago, when the girls and I were on our Colorado trip, Billie mentioned some bee activity in the backyard, near the door to the garage. When I came home I noticed that bees were flying in and out of a small gap where the back porch roof meets the flat garage wall. At the time, I didn't imagine how many bees could possibly be in that small space, and I considered trying to plug the hole and nuke the bees, or spray water up there, or something else equally as foolish. Fortunately, I never tried anything like that.

But the bee activity had been increasing, so today finally I called in AAA Africanized Bee Removal Specialists (520.743.8000), and this evening a duo of bee removal specialists arrived. Four hours later, the bee colony and related honeycombs are gone. In just ten days, the bees had built six honeycombs in a wall cavity about 28" high x 13" wide by 6" deep. How many bees? By measuring the mass, a fairly accurate estimate is 40,000 to 50,000 bees! How good is it now that I didn't try something by myself?!

Below are some photos of tonight's events:


Four of the honeycombs in the cavity, which was accessed (after the Africanized bees were exterminated, sorry) by cutting a hole in the interior wall of the garage.



Closer view of stacked honeycombs once removed from the cavity: dark spots are pollen, golden spots are honey, lighter spots are empty cells, and white masses at broken edges are bee larvae.



Closer view of honeycomb with pollen and honey (and a couple doomed bees). Billie kept a large honeycomb to show her class, and my daughters each took a part of the empty honeycomb to share in school, as well.



A bee removal specialist holds a honey-saturated honeycomb from our garage wall.



Taking a closer look at the honeycombs once removed from the cavity. On the floor behind the bag is the cavity-side of the piece of drywall cut to access the colony.



Measuring the cavity's dimensions once all the honeycombs and dead bees have been removed. There is a small gap at the lower left corner of the diagonal piece of wood. That's where the bees came in.

5 comments:

Ben Quick said...

My god, Simmons. That is insane.

Cinbin said...

Wow, I had no idea bees were that fast at building. Amazing!

Lauren said...

OMG that is CRAZY. So, can you eat the honey? Or did it get contaminated by the bee poison? Also, does this or does this not want to make you read Nick Flynn's Blind Huber RIGHT AWAY? :) Or write bee poems of your own? Cause, seriously, that's some crazy shit. Honeycombs are amazing!

Simmons B. Buntin said...

They said we could eat the honey because the pesticide doesn't leave a residue, but I have a hard time believing that, and would rather be safe than sorry. But you're right, Lauren, it's very Blind Huberish (just read that book last spring, and loved it), and I do plan to write about it.

Lauren said...

Darn, that is a shame. But I'd rather be safe than sorry too.And don't you mean you were BEE-sieged? ;)