This afternoon I went on two site checks. One in Los Altos and the other in Los Altos Hills. And yes, both bees colonies are living in the hollow of an oak tree. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it a few times already. Bee rescues from tree hollows are tough. You can save most of the foragers by using the trapout method but that takes at least 1 month to complete, but then you are still leaving the queen and some young bees and brood inside, which can rebuild if the trapout is removed too soon. There’s no way to save the queen or any brood and combs unless the entrance is large enough or the tree can be cut open, which is rare.
Aside from the trapout method the other options are pretty destructive to the bee colony. But if it has to be done, then there’s no other way. We’ll save as many worker bees as possible by inserting Bee-Quick into the heart of the hive, smoke, and flood if necessary, then vacuum the bees that do come out. Hopefully the disturbance is enough to make the queen and entire colony abscond! That would be the best scenario.Then seal off the entrance. That’s what we’ll be doing on these two bee colonies that we inspected today.
Los Altos Country Club colony (pictured above) that is living in a hollow of a horizontal limb about 12 feet up. The entrance is tiny. But we will be able to save some of the bees by vacuuming them while applying Bee-Quick and smoke. The homeowner, Helen, she’s highly allergic to bees so we’ll have to remove them as quickly as possible. Trapout would take too long.
This is the Los Altos Hill Taaffe colony. Smaller oak tree but I was told this colony has been here for years. Easy enough to access on the ground but again the entrance is so small. Entrance activity seem low. Perhaps it recently threw off a swarm or the bees were disturbed.
Dawn, who called about these bees, have small children that play in the yard and the entrance and flight path conflicts with the children’s play area. So we’ll be applying the same method of removal as the Country Club colony above.