“I noticed the swarm in the spring after buying the place,” Montgomery told CNN. “You could hear them slapping against the wall as they landed to crawl into the hive.”
As a new homeowner in East Point, just outside Atlanta, the 26-year-old CNN employee didn’t even want to start thinking about how much it would cost him to remove the hive.
The colony built its hive in the joists on the upper and lower floors of its home. They had sneaked in through an open seam between the wooden siding and the brick foundations.
But he felt there was nothing to do Bee worried about.
“Honey bees don’t cause much harm and although honey is deliciously sweet, I have been promised that it naturally repels insects in search of sugar,” he said.
At the end of February 2020, when the weather started to heat up, Montgomery went out to mow the lawn and had to dodge all the swarming bees.
“I was like ‘okay, it’s time to take care of it’,” he said.
He called Georgia Bee Removal, which serves much of the southeast and entered the waiting list. Last week, Bobby Chaisson, one of the three people who work in the company has finally left to free the Montgomery bees.
Montgomery cost less than $ 1,000, which gave him a more positive view of the situation. Chaisson arrived at his home around 9 am and left shortly after noon.
With a thermal imaging camera, Chaisson managed to find the bees with a heat map before opening the ceiling.
Using a bespoke bee vacuum, Chaisson safely sucked what he estimated to be around 100,000 bees. He said that a normal colony, by comparison, only has around 10,000 to 80,000 bees.
The vacuum of the bees sucks the bees into a special room with a modified shop vacuum. Each chamber contains approximately 30,000 to 40,000 bees and Chaisson filled three of them with bees from the Montgomery ceiling.
After removing the hive, Chaisson said there was evidence that there had been another hive at that exact spot that had been removed years ago.
Then, Chaisson removed about 60 pounds of honeycomb, which was melted in wax and donated to a local craftsman.
Bees settle in a new hive in North Georgia, joining over 100 other colonies on the Chaisson estate. In addition, the neighbor of Chaisson has around 300 colonies.
“The honey didn’t go to a local distributor,” said Montgomery. “The guy who usually takes it had a load a few days ago and was unable to elaborate more.”
Chaisson said that this always happens, but honey should not be wasted. He poured it into his courtyard, creating a gold buffet for the hundreds of thousands of bees near the property.
Montgomery is happy to be free of bees – and even to keep some honey on the ceiling for itself.
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