We went way out of our area on Sunday to do a bee removal in Berkeley but because we were already in San Francisco to deliver two hives to the W Hotel it was a 18 mile drive across the Bay Bridge and just a tad North to Berkeley. We went out of the way to do this removal as well because the job came from some folks I know at Norcal Construction as they needed the bees to be relocated before they can do repairs to the house after a recent fire.
Before my arrival I was told the bees were in the wall of the garage. Well, sort of as you can see from the picture below. The bees are somewhat exposed from the inside of the garage. But you can clearly tell that’s not where the core of the hive is located. Looking at the picture above you can see the bees entering at the decorative beam. that’s still a good 3-4 feet away from the garage well. The soffit area is where the bees will be and possible to the left of that beam as well.
I was told by the homeowners that they have had bees there 5-6 years ago, someone removed them but didn’t clean up all the combs and didn’t advice on how to prevent more bees from coming back. As you can see in some of the photos, the combs are black, meaning the combs have been there for a long time. This colony of bees probably moved in about 5-6 months ago according to the homeowners.
This was not an easy bee removal. We had to first cut through the stucco below the balcony. The next layer is plywood before we even exposed the bees in the soffit. To make matter worse, when the bees were removed 5-6 years ago, they went from the top and had to put back the balcony floor, they put in a few new support beams. The picture below shows the most outer decorative piece of wood, then another 2×6, two more pieces of 2×6 that’s rotted and has enough of a gap for the bees to build some comb in, and then there was more wood pieces here and there. When we saw this we knew it would take a miracle to catch the queen because I couldn’t cut into the structure.
When we opened up the soffit, we had to open up a little more to the inside and to the left of the entrance to see if the colony has moved over as there weren’t much space for them to build with all those support beams in place. We found some unused white comb probably from another swarm in the past.
We bee vacuumed most of the bees in the soffit and then moved the set up to the garage. Removed a piece of wood to expose the bees and comb from inside the garage. The combs look straight and deep but it was actually really shallow.
Removed all the bees and combs from inside the garage.
We applied a lot of Bee Quick to drive the bees out of the garage area. The result is what you see in the photo below. A cluster of bees in the soffit. I was hoping the queen was there but when she was probably up the cracks between the multiple 2×6 beams.
It was a long day for us as we didn’t complete until it was getting dark. Aside from the long drive and a tough removal, it was also very hot in Berkeley on Sunday. No fog whatsoever in SF and in Berkeley the entire day. 80’s outdoors but in our full bee suit it’s hitting well into the 90’s! As expected we didn’t catch the queen this time so we will combine the bees with the smaller hives in my yard.