It’s a strange thing: I told a friend of mine who is interested in starting a beehive about swarms. We planned to put a swarm trap in his yard to see if he could catch one. Before we could do that- he called me yesterday and reported hundreds of bees flying into a wall vent at the back of his house. This is odd indeed- as he has never seen a bee swarm in his life before- and just a few weeks after I tell him about it: a swarm settles into his house!
He called me within just a few hours of the swarm arriving. I got my suit, smoker and a recently vacated 5 frame nuc box and headed to his house. When I got there there were several hundred bees flying around- and many more already in his wall- poking their heads out of various vents across a 15" section of wall. We placed the five frame nuc hive right beside the vent where most of the bees were going in- I put a few drop of lemongrass oil in it- and a little honey. It also has a wax and proplois in it- as until last week it had a colony living inside. Bees immediately started going into the nuc box. I then used the smoker to try and put some smoke into all the vents hoping it might encourage the bees to leave the wall. Then the sun set- and the bees dissapeared for the night- presumably a large swarm with the queen- all inside the wall.
That was last night. I am assuming the bees will not leave the wall and go into the box. I guess the queen is already in there and by today they will have started building comb. My friend has to go away over the weekend- so there is nothing to be done until next week. My guess is by that time the bees will have started to establish themselves firmly in the wall cavity.
It would be very difficult and expensive to open up the wall to remove them- so I am thinking that leaves only two options:
trap out (difficult- perhaps impossible- as there are potentially many entrances to the wall - some possibly hidden- and we won’t be able to cover all of them)
It’s clear the bees cannot be allowed to settle in and build a big colony in the wall. It’s also clear that we shouldn’t leave them there for long- as every day they will build more comb in the wall.
Is there any way we could try and coax them to leave before they become established? Is there any chemical or bee irritant we could use to push them out- to reswarm? In Australia I don’t think many beeks use the various ‘beegone’ chemicals folks use in the US to clear supers of bees.
It would be a real shame to have to poison them.
If there is anything I could try over the weekend I would be willing to go over there and give it a go.