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Last Cut Out of the Year

Yesterday, I performed my last cutout of the year. A nice couple along Westham Parkway had picked up a hive of been in the ceiling above their bedroom a couple of years ago. Neither were necessarily scared of bees, but both were disturbed about the constant buzzing all night long while they slept! It looked to be a fairly easy cut-out : a bit of crawlspace up above in the attic, the whole thing on the first floor and so forth. I was concerned that the bees might have moved down into the walls, but that was it.

I started a bit later then I wanted to, as I still have two hives that I am feeding and wanted to cap them off first thing in the morning. I was able to start a little after 1 pm and the job was on. In the initial assessment, I had already determined that the odds of getting them through the attic were very long and this was confirmed. The slope of the roof was so shallow that you could not squeeze up to the edge where the nest was.

So, out came the drill and sawzall. After taking a quick measurement, I needed to confirm where the ceiling joists were located. Using a drill, I pushed the bit through the plaster board gently and found open space where I had assumed it would be. The problem was finding the exact edge of the joist (so that I could run the sawzall down it without damaging the joist.) Since they had crown molding, it was hard to get the 8″/on center spot right, but I only had to make one pilot hole before I zero’d in on the right location.

As I began to plug in the sawzall, a couple of tricky bees made their way through the drill hole, confirming that I had the right spot and also causing me to rush to cover the hole with some duct tape (I was probably being paranoid, but it appeared to me that those few bees were ready to tangle. I did finally get the right size section of ceiling off and began to take the bees out.

As always, my adventures are always fraught with obstacles. The bees had gotten into a spot between the trusses and joists that you simply could not get to cleanly. Instead of being able to gently lower the comb into my hive, I had to pull it all through a 4″ by 4″ section. This caused the bees a lot of consternation and may have killed the queen, but I picked up about 15# of bees and maybe 30# of honey. I need to confirm the existence of the queen today, or I will combine them with one of my Nuc’s down in Charles City.

I am also going to feed the honey to the bees in my home apiary (Wilton). Some folks will caution you about feeding honey from unknown bees to your own bees. The honey might have diseases and/or pesticides that would damage your bees. My assessment of this hive was that it was in very good condition and I am not worried about the honey, but that’s me!

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