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Live bee removal outfits—who is really doing the job right

Home Forums HoneyLove Forum Live bee removal outfits—who is really doing the job right

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  susan rudnicki 4 years, 6 months ago.

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    susan rudnicki

    A neighbor of the school down the road is working with “Bee Friendly”, a state wide “Green/Live Bee removal” service. I am skeptical as I went to the website and there is no description of their “Green Procedures” but a lot of info on how careful their pricing is structured. Called and spoke to someone in the SoCal office who claims they are framing up the brood comb, putting the bees and comb in hive boxes and giving them to “36 local beekeepers we work with” but he would not name any of these beekeepers. They would give me referrals if I got them over to see my bee problem. I do not hear of anyone doing this type of work properly because it is too time consuming. Does anyone have insight on “Bee Friendly”?


    Reuben Valles

    Hello Susan, by “Properly” what do you mean exactly? The way the group described their services/referrals does indeed sound odd and not very forthcoming, but what do you think they really do then? In what way are you skeptical? Skeptical of what kind of practices?

    Thanks for your phone call the other day and all your concerns with me and Kirks transfer of my new hive 🙂 The bees have settled quite a bit since the move Thursday night. They are using their water source nicely and seem content!


    susan rudnicki

    Hi, Ruben—in our club work, we know that to do a truly “humane” and viable removal, the bees must be carefully transferred with their brood combs and nurse bees to frames with supporting string or rubber bands. They are then placed in a hive body, many of the foragers must be scooped out of the old site and the hive must be left for returning foragers to find home for the night. Honey comb, being very drippy and messy if put inside the hive body, should be placed in baggie feeders to be fed back to the bees as they will need this resource to repair the combs, draw more combs and overcome the chaos and disruption of re-homing. This is the kind of work Ruth and Tyson are doing at Bee Capture, but very unlikely to be done by other large commercial outfits. There is a lot of “green washing ” going on in the bee removal trade, as the folks running these businesses are piggy-backing on the public’s concern for loss of pollinators covered in the media. There are many firms capitalizing on this concern, charging a premium for “green procedures” and simply vacuuming up the loose bees, trashing all the combs in a garbage bag and releasing the bees elsewhere. Some are cutting out all the brood combs and honey combs, stacking the entire structure in a pile in a cardboard box and whatever bees they can gather up and delivering that to commercial beeks. There are several permutations of the model, but none are kind or helpful to furthering the bee’s existence. The main reason they do not do it “properly” is it takes TOO much time.


    Rob McFarland

    In order to get on our referral list, we vet the company’s removal and rehoming practices. As Susan says, there are a bunch of companies out there that vacuum the bees and trash the comb, which of course isn’t up to our standards. In most cases, I don’t think it’s malicious and more a result of the economics of bee removal and lack of understanding. The problem is that many people can’t or are unwilling to pay for the job to be done correctly; and if you don’t know any better, you’re going to take the word of the guy saying he’ll accomplish the same thing for half the price. Therefore, we have a major, major need for low-cost removals done properly.


    walker rollins

    I recently started to receive some “rescued Live” bees from Ron at Bee Specialist. Ruth told me she has worked with him in the past.He brought me a couple of boxes that had some,but very little comb lying in the bottom of the box with a fair amount of bees. From what i understand he has been rescuing bees for 30 yrs.He was not using the practices that our group considers a live removal but was very willing to allow me to go with him or his employee Mike to show them how we do it.
    I am not certain where he has been homing his rescues the last 30 yrs but he is willing to move towards a safer more humane way of doing things.
    Perhaps we could try to share our techniques with more removal services?


    Sean Schwab

    Hello, I think it’s important to rescue and relocate honey bees properly. It takes a concerned beekeeper, NOT a Large company, to remove the hive and not vacuum or trash the hive in a cardboard box. It takes a little time and some experience to isolate and remove the hive by hand. If you have lots of honey with the comb, I do not recommend saving the honey with the brood. Cut most of this out and attach the brood comb to a frame. Rubber bands work well for this. If you leave a bunch of honey in your brood box it tends to attract ants and other foraging bees or robbing. Try to remove dead bees and other debris out of your bee box to give them a head start. With a rescue, you will need the brood comb for the next generation to start things off right. Most wild bees tend to abscond or take off if the following conditions are not met. Too damp or shaded. Especially in winter. Not enough water. Not enough food-Nector or Pollen. Too many hives in the apiary. The upside is having the satisfaction of saving bees from the exterminator and helping the homeowner save a little cash. Also keeping insecticides and poisons out of our environment.


    susan rudnicki

    HI, Walker—I just read your note about the bees you have had from Ron, the bee specialist. Frankly, I can not see how a person could do rescue for 30 years and be truly “unaware” of the needs of a colony for bee space and support of the brood combs in some organization resembling what their former hive looked like.

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About susan rudnicki

Been beekeeping almost 5 years now. Have 27 hives,(2 client hives) I work with the City of Manhattan Beach, re-homing bees in conflict with citizens. Allowed to keep bees at the Public Works yard (19 hives) in exchange for this work. I do many presentations for HoneyLove, teach bee students, rescue bees and sell honey.


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