Stopping a Bee Infestation

Here's how the author captured a rogue colony one May morning and stopped a bee infestation in his home.

| May/June 1973

Matthews tends behive

The author tending the hive after removing it from his roof.  


Our first warning of the invasion came on a warm, clear morning about the middle of May. My wife and I noticed a dozen or more honeybees flying close to the front of our home where the porch roof is attached . . . then a long spell of cool, wet weather set in and we didn't see the insects for a week. I was busy with other matters and thought little of it . . . until the sun came out again and our visitors returned.

"Ethel," I said, "somebody's bees are getting ready to swarm. I'd better prepare the catch-hive, because if those scouts have found a hole or a crack in the siding of this old house they'll bring back the whole bunch and set up housekeeping."

Accordingly, I got out the homemade half-size hive with which I catch swarms and raise queens. I placed an old, strong-smelling brood comb in the hive, along with another comb that contained a royal cell nearly ready to hatch. (I'd anticipated the swarming season by arranging for some of my bees to start this queen more than a week beforehand, just in case I should need her.)

I then prepared to get the hive up on the porch roof next to where the migrating scouts were buzzing around. I also figured I'd better plug any small holes in the house's siding where bees might get into the wall. Too late! As I collected my tools, Ethel came running to the workshop with the cry, "The swarm is here!"