How would I go about selling bees?
April 29, 2005 7:59 PM   Subscribe

How should I go about selling a hive of bees? Who would be interested and how would I find them?

We have had this hive of bees since late January that have lived inside a crack in the outside wall to our house. They never bothered anyone, and were quite pleasant to watch. About 3 days ago, the entire hive moved from our house to a near by small tree. There are 1000's of bees in a huge bee ball on this tree now. We think they are building another colony inside. Probably outgrew their old home? In any case there new location couldn't be worse. It is right next to where we park our vehicles and there is a lot of foot traffic in that area. Right now they are all still very dormant, so if we are going to move them now is the time, I would think. Otherwise we will just have to kill them :(

Input would be great! Thanks!
posted by nickerbocker to Science & Nature (6 answers total)
Contact your county Cooperative Extension Office and ask if there is a list of local beekeepers who perform this service. They would know.

There is also the possibility that the bees are STILL inside you wall. When a colony gets big enough, it will split in two and the new colon will move out.

Bees aren't really a problem living inside a wall since they don't eat wood or anything, but you may find that you need to replace some 2x4's because hives have a lot of moisture and can cause dry-rot.

Best of luck!
posted by lockle at 8:09 PM on April 29, 2005

A friend once told a story about friends of hers who had bought a very expensive and beautiful house with just one minor flaw: a hive on an outside wall. They had an exterminator remove the hive, and all seemed well. Until summer arrived, and honey started oozing through their bedroom wall. When they tore open the wall, it was full of combs and dead bees. I never knew for sure whether the story was true, but, eh...FYI.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:53 AM on April 30, 2005

You can also do a bit of Googling for the phrase "bee wrangler" which is a person that specifically does this type of work but any experienced beekeeper will probably be able to come and get your swarm. Keep in mind that in most places that have beekeepers that do this sort of work, they don't pay you for the bees, they take the bees of your hands for you. Until you find such a person, you may want to put up some sort of a sign near the bee ball telling people about it so they don't inadvertently walk into it. Here are a few more links
- honeybee swarms in walls
- dealing with swarms
- BeeBase -- look for your beekeeper or bee wrangler here
posted by jessamyn at 5:49 AM on April 30, 2005

Just by the by, I received this week's Scout Report and they've mentioned a new Cornell Library site :

In 1925, a Cornell professor of apiculture named E. Franklin Phillips set out to create a major repository of literature on bees and beekeeping.
The Hive and the Honeybee now consists of the full text of ten books from the Phillips Collection, chosen by a team of scholars for their historical importance and usefulness to beekeepers today. The collection will grow as funding allows, and it is hoped that eventually it will contain every major pre-1925 beekeeping work in the English language. The texts in this digital collection are fully searchable..

I just thought that might be of interest to someone.
posted by peacay at 7:49 AM on April 30, 2005

Your profile doesn't list a zip code, so I don't know where you are, but there is currently a bee shortage across much of the country, especially down south here. So it's wonderful you're looking into relocating rather than destroying the bees.
posted by climalene at 8:43 AM on April 30, 2005

The usual scenario with swarming is it's what happens when a colony gets too big, so it splits, with one half going off to find a new home. Your 'huge bee ball' is the new group, and they'll only stay that way until an acceptable site is located (or a bee wrangler captures them, and loads 'em into a commercial beehive: the square white box.) Successfully moving an existing colony from inside a wall is rarely possible -- if they're unacceptable tenants, the usual method involves calling an exterminator.

FYI, just before the swarming bees leave the old hive, the workers all gorge themselves on honey stored in the comb, so they're very docile, so full they can't bend their abdomens to sting, and observers can get quite close without danger.

One last note -- due to the current compund blight of mite infestations (both Varroa and tracheal), wild honeybees in many parts of North America are becoming rare.
posted by Rash at 12:54 PM on April 30, 2005

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