San Jose Bee Removal – Queen Comes Out

A local beekeeper named Earl referred this bee rescue to us. Earl catches swarms but does not do structural removals. I got in contact with the homeowner Chris and went for a site check and found the bees entering through the attic vent holes. Last Sunday April 29th was the scheduled removal.

This house uses two pieces of wood to the attic as most only uses one. The outer piece was easy to remove. The inner piece was more difficult being a little further in and it was at an angle. Here’s what we found after opening them up. The recipricating saw knocked down much of the combs but they were all DRONE brood which means if they don’t produce any female bees the colony would eventually die off. And I think we have yet another drone laying queen.

The vibration and knocking drove a lot of the bees in towards the insulation including the queen bee. We used our beevac to remove all the bees, then just like I explained to Chris during the site check, if we wait 15 to 20 min while we started to clean up, she might run out. And that’s exactly what happened. I looked up and spotted the queen. Ran up the ladder with the queen catcher and caught her! We were thrilled to catch her though she might be a drone laying queen, then she’ll need to be replaced.

Thanks Earl for the referral and Chris to allowing us to save our local honeybees!

This entry was posted in Bee Removal, Cutout, Honey Bees, Swarms and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to San Jose Bee Removal – Queen Comes Out

  1. Emily Heath says:

    You do seem to be finding a lot of drone laying queens. In the UK there is some research going on into the causes of drone laying queens, as some beekeepers believe their incidence is increasing and may not just be down to mating poorly.

  2. 2011 I did so many cutouts not one had a drone laying queen.

    This year is really bad. The last three cutouts they all had drone laying queens. And not only that, I’ve lost many virgin queens this year coming out for mating flights and never making it back into the hive.

    I attribute all this to the unstable weather conditions we had. We got the quick warm up triggering colony build up and getting ready to swarm. When new queens emerged it rained, not allowing them to swarm or go out for good mating. I’ve caught swarms inbetween storms this year. Many got soaked too. Not a good year on feral bee survival thus far. So opposite from last year.

    Another thing I’m seeing this year because of the swarming and then it rains the next few days, bees building externally on the eve of the roof instead of going into structure. Much more this year than last.

    If you do have additional info on the UK research on drone laying queen, please post or email it to me. I’m very interested.


    • Emily Heath says:

      We’ve had very similar weather here, a hot March followed by a month of rain and chilliness, and the end is not in sight yet.

      I don’t know much about the research, except that it’s being done by the Devon Apicultural Research Group (DARG). If you visit their website at you can see their appeal for drone-laying queen samples (second item down). The intention is to examine the spermathecae from Drone Laying queens under one year old, from those over one year old and queens laying normally but which are redundant and being replaced. They will be collected live and caged with a few attendant workers by a volunteer, experienced beekeeper wherever they are in Devon. The hope is that the study will provide information about what appears to be an increasing problem.

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