San Carlos Bee Removal – Caught Queen By Hand

This weekend I have to take the kids to THREE birthday parties but I still found some time today to do a bee removal with my dad up at San Carlos. Steve contacted me a week or so back about bees in the wall of his house that he’s remodeling. He sent pics and oh crap, the bees appear to be behind the electric meter.

When we arrived we couldn’t tell where they were from the outside. Went inside to feel the wall as I didn’t bring my Fluke Thermal Imager today, they were up high and above the electric meter. Good news. Now it was time to determine if we should go from the inside or outside. Steve which wasn’t home at that time had his contractor and electrician buddy meet me there and we chatted for a few minutes and we all decided it was best going from the outside. Either way, inside or out, there is another layer of wood that I must cut through, and stucco was easier for Steve’s friend Chris to repair, and actually I prefer going from the outside because of the bees and just the sticky mess of the honey.

We first made a small 4×6 inch cut into the stucco to make sure the bees were going up the wall instead of being right behind the meter. After we found them we opened up the wall a little at a time. Normally we don’t light up the smoker but at this time of the year when bees are more defensive at the hive protecting their honey, we have it lit just incase. πŸ™‚
My dad uses the multi-tool to cut through the wood. Check out all the bees behind him.

My dad takes the first look into the exposed hive section. We always look for the queen every time we remove a new section – wood, comb, etc.

Through the gap between the wood pieces we were able to see more bees up above so we removed more stucco and wood. The picture below is a nice exposed section of the hive but that’s only 3/5 of the entire thing. We had to cut right some more and the combs went all the way to the top. Good thing they didn’t move into the attic.

Here’s a pic after we cut off a few portions from the bottom. There were a lot of bees in this colony. Probably 15,000 to 20,000 bees.

We removed all the bees and comb from this main section but then we saw more bees in the section to the left so we had to cut a part of it open to see if they built comb there. They have not started, it was just a cluster of bees that probably moved over along with the queen when we started the cutout. And yup, after vacuuming the bees with the bee vac and sticking my hand in there to take out some bees at a time, we got her. She walked down, that’s when I noticed a lot of bees moving downwards, then she walked up and I had to quickly catch her with my left hand. She was walking on my hand, then I had to put my hand onto my chest to cup her as she took a short flight from finger to my palm. Then I had to yell for my dad to get the queen catcher as I was up high and couldn’t reach it. All the chaos turned out well, the queen is now in a safe place and home with her bees.

The queen isn’t that large but boy can she lay great patterns even at this time of the year when the colony should be pushing her to lay less eggs to prepare for Winter. We framed honey and pollen during this cutout because it’s already really late in the season. October is the last month before it really turns cold. Wednesday it’s 70% rain!

See how dark the combs are? The bees must have been there for over 1 year.

All cleaned up. And we made nice straight cuts so it can be put back easily.

Thanks Steve for calling us to save the honey bees! Now you can complete your remodeling. πŸ™‚

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