Last summer, David Israelson and Susan Elliott suspected something was abuzz at their place in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. Only now have they found out just how sticky their situation had become. A huge colony bees had moved in along the couple’s roof and under their eaves troughs.
But they didn’t want to risk losing them completely. Bees face pressures around the world related to pesticide use, climate change and the mysterious colony collapse disorder has decimated hives. So, the couple brought in a couple of local beekeepers, who aimed to move the bees to a new home at Lakeside Pottery, located just down the road.
“It turns out we have more like 60,000 rather than 40,000 bees,” David posted on Facebook Thursday, “and it’s taking our beekeepers Ron and Howard a bit longer to retrieve them.”
Yes, you read that correctly. The original estimates was 40,000.
“It took Ron and Howard five days to smoke out, vacuum and then re-house approximately 60,000 bees from our eaves,” David explains. “They put them into portable hives and have safely transported them to their new homes, where presumably they are busy bees.”
They kept looking for the queen bee and the brood, but turned up only drones. The beekeepers concluded that the queen and the babies likely left in search of a new home in more pollen-rich areas. (The micro-climate in this part of the world has actually been good for bees, David says.) But it meant, they left the brood to die.
“Ron and Howard’s rescue means this won’t happen,” David says.
And, there’s another unexpected bonus: “Downside is that we have to fix the eaves when they’re gone; upside is that we’re awash in honey,” David says.
“These guys are bee whisperers.”
Photos David Israelson/Facebook