January Honey Bees?!
Its 70 degrees on Janurary 10th and we received our first Honey Bee removal calls of the year! As usual they had to search and find us through a directory listing which is never easy to find the best solutions. I am hoping to change that this year by creating a few different websites and writing blogs and articles to get our name out there!
The first caller from Norman Oklahoma stated (as usual) they had a 'swarm' of honey bees in their backyard. This immediately raised red flags because they shouldn't be swarming at this time of the year. After a few questions both establishing myself as a professional willing to help and to narrow down what actually was going on she told me they were having a tree cut down and the honey bees were inside. I can imagine the terror the person cutting the tree felt when honey bees starting pouring out of the tree. He stated that he got down from the tree (it was 20 ft up!!) quickly and was only stung a couple times! He was very lucky. After we determined what was going on I had the customer send me a few pictures so I could determine the amount of work that was likely to be involved in removing the honey bees so they could finish cutting down the tree. I am a high school science teacher so I called a good friend of mine John Sharpley of Asher Honey Bees and he was able to get down to Norman and remove the bees safely allowing the customer to finish their work.
Honey bee hive in trees are notoriously difficult to 'rehome' because of damage to the comb when felling the tree as well as the comb is usally odd shapes and sizes as they build to the inside hollow. John will check these honey bees over for pests and diseases and most likely combine them with a current hive in his apiary.
The second call was also from Norman and might have been related though they were a couple miles apart. A woman called distraught because honey bees were "all over my her backyard and my dog got stung'. Once again after assuring her that she found the right professional I was able to get the entire story. She said there are lots of bees flying around and when I asked how many were lots she said probably 6-7. This is lots to most people but to a knowledgeable beekeeper it isn't. It was getting later in the evening and starting to cool down so I knew that the honey bees were likely to head for their hive and wouldn't be visible. We agreed to talk again the next day after she took a look around the house to ensure they weren't inside a wall. When I talked to her next she reported that she had not seen a single bee flying around her house. I do not know why they chose to be there the first day and not the second but it might have been due to the downed tree a couple miles away and the bees were simply lost.