Finding a massive colony of honey bees living in the front walls of the church last summer was quite a surprise. Given that we were intent on saving the bees rather than exterminating them in place, it was also not an inexpensive surprise.
Fast forward one year – on June 3, I received a call from a neighbor about a bee swarm amassing above the front porch – which sounded “like a little motor” and could be heard from inside their house. And it was growing quickly.
I called one of New York’s top experts – Bill Kaufman, a skilled carpenter and beekeeper who rescued the hive, and the church wall, last year. Bill was unable to make it for a few days, but knowing the value of an active swarm, we contacted the Williams Honey Company in Deansboro. They arrived quickly and were able to capture most of the swarm overnight.
Unfortunately, part of the swarm or another one had moved into the wall and was very active. Within a few weeks, Bill was able to come back to remove the other hive from the wall, dripping with plenty of fresh honey, and patch it up again.
Bees tend to head to places other hives have lived – the smell the remnant beeswax. The key to keeping them from moving back in is to seal the clapboards up better, and repaint the area… which is scheduled to happen soon.
NOTE: The 2019 hive is alive and well, now headquartered in Cicero, and going strong!