David Glover’s been capturing and relocating bees in the Memphis, Tennessee, area for the last nine years, so you’d think he’s seen it all by now.
But every now and then, “The Bartlett Bee Whisperer” is called out to a case that’s so unprecedented, he has to film it and share it with the world. He was called out on a nightmarish bee-infestation case at a residential home in nearby Germantown, and photos taken during the four-hour job have created (fair warning, bad pun ahead) a big buzz online.
When he arrived at the home, he zeroed in on area just below a window in the brick-facade structure. The bees, he realized, were getting in and out through a horizontal hole between a gap in the bricks and the corner of the window.
But it wasn’t until he took an infrared image of the area behind the bricks that he realized what he was up against, and that this job would take up the better half of a day. In the image below, the brood area, i.e. the nursery, is indicated by the large red spot, while the orangeish line in the upper right shows the entrance to the hole.
After prepping the sites to keep the bees from swarming out of the holes, he set to work with his drill and started taking the area apart brick by brick. In all, he had to take out 12 rows! Fortunately, the hive wasn’t actually attached to the bricks, but to a piece of foam padding that was stuck on the concrete wall behind. These bees may have picked a really inconvenient place to build their hive, but at least they weren’t completely inconsiderate.
But Dave and his team don’t just capture honeybees, they also relocate them to beekeepers in the area, who need them to repopulate their own colonies. So the next step was to carefully transfer pieces of the honeycomb and queen bees (a colony this size requires 13 queens to keep all the workers in line) into the temporary hive.
No, that’s not an angel on my shoulder. That was a fun cluster of honey bees singing in my ear.
Of course, some bees weren’t exactly cooperative during the whole process, and the strays were vacuumed up and added to the new hive later. And he added a “nuclear box” in the now-clean hole, hoping to capture any bees who were out foraging while the rest of the hive was being evicted.
Done! The tan area came from thousands of dirty little feet. Kind of cool when you think about all the times your Mom told you to wipe your feet before coming into the house. Mom was right, “You’ll track up the place.”
Regardless of how creeped out you might get about bees and other multi-legged creatures, this is truly fascinating stuff.
Watch some of the highlights of this job in the video below, and share the captivating moment.