Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Bee House: Couple's Home a 'Hively' Place

"You walk into the house and it smells sweet," Mackey said. "I felt like I was in a jar of honey." Dustin Mackey, Bee Removal Expert

Bees, hard working producers of honey, hives, and instantaneous explosive fits of anger, can't live with them and can't live without them.

Helen and Jerry Stathatos have a monumental bee problem, twenty years in the making. Honey has begun to seep through the walls and bee removal experts say it would be impossible to tear down the sheetrock as literally millions of bees now reside inside.

The San Marino couple have been been living with the bees for 20 years, it's only recently that it seems to have gotten out of control, with honey flowing and bees buzzing around the bedrooms.

Bee hive photo from Florida

A woman in Texas has the same problem. Charlemaine Albert of Katy, Texas has had bees removed several times by exterminators, only to have them return.

One hive extended six foot inside her house while a local pest control removed over 500 pounds of honey from the walls. The bees were part honey- part Africanized.

Claude Griffin of Gotcha Pest Control said there may have been as many as six queen bees and their colonies living inside the walls of Albert's home.

Louella and 50,000 bee swarm

According to, there's a period of time when honey bees swarm.

Swarming Period: April 1st through June 15th is the swarming period for honey bees. This is a natural phenomenon for the honey bee in order to divide and reproduce. To witness this amazing feat can be unnerving whether it be through the arrival or departing flights or the temporary swarm cluster itself.
There are also swarm "arrival and departure" times as well as "temporary resting locations" and the bees' behavior when they "arrive" at their new "home". This is a good site if you, yourself, are interested in learning how to remove a bee swarm or even how to keep a swarm from leaving.

In 2006, a bee swarm took an ominous turn when a swarm of bees sent ten people to the hospital in Ossian, Indiana, after a 16-yr-old driver slammed her SUV into a tree.

"I've never seen bees, especially honeybees, attack like that."
- Volunteer Firefighter Chief Kent Gilbert

The volunteer fire department chief was stung at least 50 times while he tried to extricate the driver from the wreck. Fire fighters were forced to wear safety equipment while the bees were doused with foam and water. Source - FOX News

Researchers at the University of California are working on the honey bees' ability to pollinate the $35 billion a year fruit and vegetables crops in California. Researchers also hope to be able to halt the spread of the disease, Colony Collapse Disorder, which has "devastated the hives of many professional beekeepers in California and across the country."

Scientists have been unable to pinpoint the cause of the disease which has been known to wipe out entire colonies. The hard working little bees may have been overwhelmed by stresses that include long distance shipping of hives, viruses, pesticides, mite attacks, and malnutrition, when bee workers fail to hoard enough pollen.

Meanwhile Jerry and Helen Stathatos of San Marino, California deal with the opposite problem, of too many bees. Honey has begun to soak through the wallpaper of their upscale tudor home.

The Stathatos have coexisted with their bee friends for twenty years, it's only now that the bees have become a nuisance, what once was pleasant, the soft buzz of bees on a lazy afternoon, has become a haven of millions of busy tiny insects building hives inside walls now stained with honey, a "super" attraction to the local ant and fly unions in the neighborhood.


Source - SFGate - Researchers work to protect valuable bees
Image and Source - nmhoney
Image - Mypets
Image - Hive in Florida
Source - SFGate
Source - ABC13

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