By Desiree’ Loxley
For the Star-Gazette
Arvin Pierce, Beekeeper Extraordinaire: the one to phone when there are honeybees in inconvenient locations. One call to Arvin was all it took to interest him in removal of honeybees from Jason and Desiree’ Loxley’s barn wall on the Chandlerville/Beardstown Road.
The honeybees had created a hive in between the wall studs, clad on both sides with a tongue and groove envelope. The decision was made to cut a section out of the exterior – as it would be easier to repair.
First a FLIR was utilized to determine the exact location of the hive. The swarm of honeybees and the structure of the comb showed clearly due to the production of heat. Once the exterior wall cladding was removed, the hive was revealed along with all its golden glory.
Arvin went right to work removing the comb with the honeybees still intact. Bare handed he is less likely to squish a honeybee, which produces a pheromone that puts the other honeybees into a state of anger; defensive mode causes honeybees to sting.
Arvin cut out as much of the comb as possible to place into a frame. Rubber bands were used to keep the comb in place until the honeybees could connect the comb to the frame. After some time, the honeybees will chew the rubber band into two and then drag it out of the hive. Some of the comb was kept for use in the kitchen; some was too new and fell apart as it was being removed. Once the entire comb was relocated into one of the three locations, the remaining honeybees were vacuumed into a box for transportation.
For more information on honeybee characteristics, visit Arvin’s website; www.acbees.org.