Last week I did a site check in Los Altos of a recent swarm that has made home behind the chimney, entering from the side of the bricks through a huge hole about two bricks wide. Today we went to see if we can find the bees and to remove them. First we used the borescopes to see behind a built-in bookshelf where the bees came through the openings. We couldn’t see anything from the first hole that is above but there’s a nice large void that they could have made home. Second we drilled towards the fireplace and immediately see bees traveling back and forth. So the idea was to open up this section and see what’s behind the bookshelf right side.
Used the multi-tool today to make a nice cut into the bookshelf and after removing the piece of wood we ran into cinder blocks! We see where the bees are traveling, walking from the entrance to a main support beam where there’s a gap between the beam and cinder block. From there they moved further into the chimney, possibly building their combs inside the staggered cinder blocks.
In many cases where the honey bees have moved into the chimney or from the side and behind, the job is absolutely difficult. For this situation we have there is three options that aren’t the best. 1) Trapout. This would involve trapping out the bees from the entrance and make sure that all possible entry and exit points are sealed so they cannot find a new route. This process can take up to 2 months depending on the colony. Because this colony is still young there shouldn’t be a huge amount of brood. 2) Next option is calling an exterminator and spraying them. Now that I’ve removed a piece of the bookshelf the exterminator should have a better angle at where the honey bees MIGHT have built. Now that I think about it, if they spray they still might not kill all the bees.
I was kind of disappointed today on not being able to save these bees. I can still do the trapout if the owners opt for that choice which we will save all the worker bees minus the queen. But then in some situations spraying them might be the best option.