We’ll go just about anywhere to remove bees, and on this job my mentor Al Friedle and I had the extra help of a mechanical lift to get us up into the trees to take down a hive that had taken up in an owl box.
Nothing is more fun than going up high in a lift, and while I keep telling my wife that we really need to invest one for the bee business, she has run the numbers and is not quite convinced.
First thing on the job we got all suited up, including Roberto the lift operator. Safety is our main priority and we want to make sure everyone on the site is protected and knows what they might expect (even the cameraman).
We lit our bee smoker to calm the bees as we worked them, then headed up into the tree.
Once in front of the hive, I started vacuuming bees off of the exterior of a hive. I use a low-pressure bee vacuum that pulls the bees safely into a wire chamber so we can relocate them.
Vacuuming the outside reduces the hives numbers right away, particularly the “guard bees” whose job it is to protect the colony.
Once I had removed a lot of bees, I was able to just stuff the main hive opening closed, then remove the box from the trunk of the tree and take it to the ground where I covered it with a transport net to keep the bees in their place.
Of course, lots of bees got loose in the process so I went back up into the tree to vacuum up any returning foragers.
After I’d captured as many as I could (and likely the queen inside the netted box), we took the bees to our bee yard a few miles away, dismantled the box, and introduced the bees to their new home.
Hive saved, happy client, happy beekeepers! What could be better?