10/28/2012: It was months ago when I first heard of a large external honeybee colony high up in the tree in Mountain View. Andrea emailed me because she was concerned that the mosquito fogging would have killed off this hive. I told her because it was so high up the bees will be fine. A month or so later John, the homeowner contacts me regarding removing the bees. (BTW, Andrea didn’t tell John about us, it just happened that John found my website.) The bees are high up and I was looking into renting a man lift but he had a 28ft ladder and so we tackled it without renting equipment because there was a large enough branch to lean the ladder on and I was able to tie off my safety harness onto a nearby branch.
We first did a second site check with an extension pole that had a maximum reach of 23 ft. Extended fully it was not able to reach the very top of the hive. But a 28 ft ladder positioned at the proper angle should reach it with a couple of feet above the branch.
Here are photos of the hive from both sides. There are a lot of bees in this external hive.
Here’s me high up on the ladder removing the bees. First vacuum the bees and then cut the combs which I then placed into a bucket for my dad to frame on the ground after lowering it with a rope. It was not fun while I was so high off the ground.
We had to set up two medium hive boxes to vacuum these bees up. Population is really healthy! We only got like 3 frames of brood though. The bees had a good amount of honey stored and backfilled much of the brood area in preparation for Winter. We gave them empty comb and frames of honey to boost their recovery after relocating them to ensure they survive the rough months ahead.
And near the end which still a small section of comb left to remove, I spotted the queen which ran all over the place at fast speeds. We were playing cat and mouse for a while and then I had a clear shot and grabbed her with the queen catcher. 🙂 A nice large queen!
Thanks John for calling us to save this wonderful external bee colony!