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Here’s how 30,000 bees got under a brick wall — and how a bee whisperer got them out

The Bartlett Bee Whisperer in Tennessee removed about 30,000 bees and a “holy huge comb” from inside the brick wall of a Germantown home.
The Bartlett Bee Whisperer in Tennessee removed about 30,000 bees and a “holy huge comb” from inside the brick wall of a Germantown home. Facebook/The Bartlett Bee Whisperer

A Tennessee bee whisperer has been rescuing and relocating honey bees since 2009, but every now and then there’s a call that makes him “cringe,” he wrote on Facebook.

“Sometimes the bees are way up high, and sometimes it’s bricks,” David Glover, also known as The Bartlett Bee Whisperer, wrote in his post.

This time, it was bricks. A brick wall, to be exact.

For what he estimates to be about two years, bees have been living in a hive within the brick wall of a Germantown, Tennessee, home, Glover said, according to WNEP.

The bees had been entering through a weep hole in the bricks — that’s how water drains from the structure — and through a gap in between the bricks and a window corner, Glover posted to Facebook.

Then, one by one, they started to grow their home, one that has since been dubbed the “Holy Huge Comb!

Before the bee whisperer was called, though, an exterminator had likely tried to kill the colony, Glover wrote on Facebook. Bees on the left side of the honeycomb were killed, but the bee wax prevented the pesticide from spreading to the rest of the comb, he wrote.

That’s when the bee whisperer came in.

“If a honey bee colony is killed in the ceiling or in the walls of a home, there will be an expensive mess to clean up later,” Glover wrote in a 2014 blog post on his website. “It is almost always better to remove the comb with the bees, to prevent problems in the future.”

But it wouldn’t be easy.

“I prefer to be minimally invasive when removing honey bees from buildings,” he wrote on Facebook. “I don’t like taking out bricks. Will the mortar chip out, or will the bricks crumble? Will the combs be usable once the bricks are out of the way?”

But he was determined to remove the bees.

Here’s how he did it, according to his Facebook album:

  1. “The first thing I did after smoking the entrances was to spray some Honey Bandit in the small hole I’m drilling in this photo,” he wrote. Bees don’t like the smell of it, he wrote, so it keeps them deeper in the hive while he works to remove it.

  2. Then he took out the first brick — in one piece.

  3. He continued removing bricks. He ended up taking out about 12 rows of bricks, a photo shows.

  4. After he could see the “huge holy comb,” he removed the first slice of the comb. It held seven of the 13 queen cells, according to his post.

  5. From there, he continued to remove pieces of the comb. It’s a “slow process removing combs in the middle section where they were all interconnected and tunneled,” he wrote.

  6. He used rubber bands to hold the brood — eggs, larvae and pupae of honeybees — into frames that would allow him to relocate the bees.

  7. Once the bees were removed, the clean-up began.

This last photo shows the mess the bees left behind:

The 30,000 bees are now living in Glover’s backyard, WMC reported, but he hopes to find them a permanent home.

“It could be a farmer who needs them for pollination,” Glover said, according to WMC. “It could be one of our honey producers.”

Patrick Gaudin, 52, relocates honeybees that have become a problem for people and calls himself the "Honeybee rescuer." Gaudin says present day agriculture is rough on bees, and has become a caretaker for them. Gaudin's website is https://www.save

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