David and Susan Payant, DBA the "The Bee Busters", removed a feral hive from an office building this Saturday. The Bee Busters will remove feral hives and collect swarms for FREE, as long as they can keep the bees or give them to a good home.
We decided to form the Bee Buster business because we feel feral bees and swarm bees represent good genetic stock from which strong northern bees can be grown. Since honey bees are declining nationwide, we should save as many bees as we can. Also, we like the idea of free bees!
The Bee Busters received a call from a friend who knew of an office in Marquette that was being bothered by a feral honey bee hive. The office was the Met Life Office on Washington St. in Marquette. The property was owned by Houle and Associates, a CPA accounting firm. We contacted the owner and got his story as to the history of the hive.
Last June, a hive was discovered living in the walls of the Met Life office. The hive was located on the west wall of the brick building. In an effort to get rid of the bees, insecticide was sprayed into the hive. The bees decided to leave the west side of the building and built a new hive on the east wall. The office workers were quite disconcerted to see thousands of bees flying past the windows in their office.
After this winter, the hive was still alive in the east wall and bees were entering the Met Life office on a regular basis. Also, the dead brood comb in the west wall was stinking.
At the request of the landlord, we devised a plan to remove the bees by cutting into the wall from the inside. We had watched a number of feral hive removals on YouTube but none of them involved an inside entrance to a hive. Since the outside of this building was brick, inside removal was the only option.
We assembled every conceivable item we would need and even rehearsed some of our moves.
We set up some sawhorses and then screwed some furring strips to the sawhorses. We draped the old tent over the frame and taped the tent to the wall to keep the bees confined while we removed the hive.
Matt and Cassie Anderson helped us. Matt cut into the wall. The wall was hollow and consisted of a layer of drywall and a layer of old plaster and lath. We had experienced much trepidation over the location of the hive. On the night of the removal, the bees would not buzz when we banged on the wall and listened with a stethoscope. We lucked out and found the entire hive right under the window.
Susan and I intend to collect more swarms and feral bees over the summer but we intend to give them away as we are awash in bees right now. If you are interested in a swarm, contact us or the Superior Beekeeping Club.