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Swarm in Santa Monica in need of rescue

Home Forums HoneyLove Forum Swarm in Santa Monica in need of rescue

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

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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    Andrew Wilder


    There is a swarm of bees in a telephone utility box at the end of our alley in Santa Monica’s Sunset Park neighborhood. I’d love to see them rescued before the telephone company discovers they’re there and kills them.

    Over the past few months there has been consistent but slow activity in/out of the hole in the coverplate of the box. In the past few days the activity has really picked up – there are a lot more bees visible now.

    They’re in the alley behind the home at 2108 Pier Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90405. There are three utility boxes on the north side of the alley; they’re in the middle one and are very easy to spot and access. It’s not our house; anyone who wants to rescue them could easily drive right up to the box in the alley. No ladders required. 🙂




    susan rudnicki

    Hi, Andrew—this sounds like something in the ground, is that correct? A ground box? Also, if it has been there months, it would be a established hive not a swarm? This would then be a cutout, so you would need to frame the combs and put them in a hive body.
    Unfortunately, this is very far for me from Manhattan Beach, and I am full up with doing cutouts right now anyway— do you want to get bees for a hive? I would bet Ray Teurman might mentor you if you got in touch with him. Write back and tell us if you need a mentor and I will try to help you find one.
    Thanks Susan


    Andrew Wilder

    Hi Susan,

    Yes, it’s a utility box in the ground. It’s the kind with a steel plate on top, about 12″ x 24″, with a 1″ hole on one end (to use for pulling up the plate). The bees are using the hole as their doorway.

    And you’re right, it’s probably a hive, not a swarm at this point.

    Unfortunately I can’t keep bees right now; we have a dog who reacts strongly if she gets stung, so I can’t risk it. 🙁

    I saw a few other people posted in the forums who are looking to start/keep hives…maybe some of them would be interested?



    susan rudnicki

    Well, I have reached out to both of the people you may be referencing. One is in Culver City, the other Redondo Beach. The latter is coming to my house today to see my hives, and no reason to go to SM for bees. Are there any other contacts you have from HL or other sources where you could spread the word? There does not seem to be much traffic on this site for people looking for bees, as we used to be inundated by requests on the old BBK site. It’s a puzzle…


    Andrew Wilder

    I don’t really know anyone in the backyard beekeeping world in LA, unfortunately… I just found HoneyLove while searching for someone or some organization to rescue these particular bees.


    ron capri

    Hi Andrew – Thanks for the post… I went there this morning to have a look at it… fortunately i had the equipment handy so I was ready to work, and here is what i found in there so far:

    it’s an odd spot and subject to cars running it over somewhat, but anyway…

    First the utility box, under the lid, had some comb hanging from the lid, some brood, some honey and some new empty comb. Not alot, but cockroaches occupied the utility box chamber and were no doubt robbing the comb. Maybe a thousand bees in this section. Queen had obviously been there recently, as there was open brood and workers still in larval stages…

    Second, the two PVC pipes that emerge up into the utility box from below are clearly the main entrances to much larger chambers underground. Traffic there is super heavy and continuous.

    SO, although i cut away the superficial comb and cleared the utility box of what few bits were there, the rest of the job is going to be a trap out, or just leave them BEE !

    IF opinions recommend a trap out, I can try to prepare a box and set it out there for a week or two. Or anyone with a bee-vac can make shorter work of it. This is a robust and healthy colony from what i am seeing so far. Rather docile too.

    Whatcha’ think ?


    Ruth Askren

    I am writing just to dispel the myth about Bee Vacs, that one can somehow put the hose up to the entrance of the hive and simply suck out all the bees? It doesn’t work that way! Bees in their spaces between the combs will hang on with those little claw-feet and no vacuum will pick them off from a distance without killing them. If it’s a trap out, a trap out it is, and a Bee Vac won’t do any good at all in that situation. Unfortunately beekeepers who are able to do trap outs are as rare as hens’ teeth; trap outs are labor intensive and you have to have brood you are willing to give up to make it happen, which is often hard to come by if a person has only one or two hives.

    Unfortunately it is not possible to save every colony.

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