If only we could put a tap in our chimney...
...we would have an endless supply of honey...
...and so would you.
When we tell people that we have a "bee problem" I'm not convinced the people quite understand the degree to which this problem exists. Perhaps a photo will help illustrate what we're talking about?
Disclaimer: if you have an aversion to bees, shield your eyes. If you are allergic, the mere sight of this photo may cause you to go into anaphylactic shock. Proceed with caution.
Apparently the previous owner of our sweet little home was privy to the fact that she shared her home with thousands of bees...for 10-15 years! After my extensive research on how to properly address this situation, and many beekeeper conversations later (including contact with the President of the local Beekeeper's Association), I've come to learn that a hive that has been established for a "long period of time" has the potential to hold bees in numbers exceeding 30,000. Whaaaaaat? Well, "long period of time" certainly applies to us. I've been told that it is very possible that the hive that is comfortably situated IN our chimney could take up the length and width...of our entire chimney!!
A local beekeeper and his son have decided to take on the task of trying to lure our bees out of our chimney. They have set up a one way trap, meaning that bees can leave the hive, but are unable to return, and a temporary hive (the white box shown in the photo above).
Last Saturday night they came to collect "some" bees. It proved to be the perfect post-dinner entertainment for us (joining us were the Dicks, visiting from Eureka, and Alan & Kacey).
Greg, the beeman, scooped up what he guessed to be around 5 pounds of bees. Apparently a single pound of bees can contain 3-4 THOUSAND bees. You do the math.
The crazy part? The very next day we had equal the number of bees formed in their little cluster outside the hive. I bet that our hive whistles to the tune of more like 100+ thousand workers. But that's probably modest. I'm going with a million.
It is safe to say: we have a bee problem.