80,000 bees in the ceiling
July 31, 2012 11:14 AM   Subscribe

"... it wasn't long after that honey began to slowly drip from newly emerged cracks in the living room and kitchen ceilings, while a cascade of the sweet liquid even blew a lightbulb after filling it half-full of honey"
posted by lizbunny (167 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
"I guess with the cracked ceiling in the kitchen and the honey dripping on me — that was (the) time to get help," she said.

I've got to imagine this is some sort of leftover British understatement, unless Canadian understatement is also a thing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:18 AM on July 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


Related: A video of someone removing 50,000 bees from a house.
posted by specialagentwebb at 11:21 AM on July 31, 2012 [12 favorites]



They couldn't get in, he explained, because it was already full of bees.


That is fucked up. They had so many bees that no more bees could fit. Like some kind of hip new bee nightclub with a bee velvet rope and bees poppin bottles up in there.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:21 AM on July 31, 2012 [53 favorites]


Reminds me of the time Nutella welled up out of all the drains in the house.
posted by TheRedArmy at 11:21 AM on July 31, 2012 [24 favorites]


Ah, an occasion for this poem. "Swarm," by M. Ahart
They pass the light bulbs. They pass the fan blades.
A ricochet behind the ceiling of honey hardened

to lacquer. Deep in the wall’s secret heart,
they muster sweetness into martial law.

They pass the doorjamb. The window
latch. They bore into the shuttered eye.

The coverlet. They pass the traps.
They eat the mice and fight

the ants. The floorboards’
pulse and thrum. Look.

They pass the joists.
The limbs. The skin.
posted by Diablevert at 11:23 AM on July 31, 2012 [35 favorites]


Reminds me of the time we Americans tried to replace all of our bodily fluids with corn syrup.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:24 AM on July 31, 2012 [15 favorites]


So this is BuzzFeed's strategy?
posted by hal9k at 11:26 AM on July 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


So that's where the colony collapse bees got off to.
posted by bswinburn at 11:26 AM on July 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


...a cascade of the sweet liquid even blew a lightbulb after filling it half-full of honey.

This is literally impossible. Lightbulbs are sealed airtight. And if they develop a crack, they'll burn themselves out first, never mind filling with honey.

The beekeepers captured one queen bee and recovered more than 100 kilograms of honeycomb, which is expected to be made into candles.

...and some honey, right?
posted by DU at 11:27 AM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's covered in beeeees. Covered in beeees.

I can't even imagine how you could not realize you had a bee problem until they crack the ceiling.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:27 AM on July 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


I know I'm getting old when the most incredible part of the story is the fact that it only cost $1500 to fix.
posted by saturday_morning at 11:29 AM on July 31, 2012 [102 favorites]


From the article:

Loretta and her husband Kevin soon discovered the 1 1/2-storey house they live in with their 22-month-old son had a few unexpected guests: 80,000 bees nesting in two colonies in the first-floor ceiling.

....I'll just be over here in the corner curled in the fetal position and shuddering uncontrollably.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:29 AM on July 31, 2012 [17 favorites]


"The thing's hollow—it goes on forever—and—oh my God—it's full of stars bees!"
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:30 AM on July 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah, DU, that stuck out to me too. I wonder if they mean a light fixture filled up - like one of those jar or globe light covers? That could blow the light once it rose to the level of the hot glass.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:31 AM on July 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


How is it possible that a family lives in a house with 80,000 bees and doesn't hear anything out of the ordinary?
posted by zarq at 11:31 AM on July 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


Fucking nightmare.
posted by liketitanic at 11:33 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


They couldn't get in, he explained, because it was already full of bees.

This is my new excuse for everything. 'I'm sorry, I couldn't pick up milk on the way home from work. The grocery store was already full of bees.'
posted by shakespeherian at 11:34 AM on July 31, 2012 [110 favorites]


How is it possible that a family lives in a house with 80,000 bees and doesn't hear anything out of the ordinary?

They probably didn't decouple their speakers.

/compulsive
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:34 AM on July 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


Once the bees get inside the hive (the roof), they mostly walk around rather than flying, so the buzzing is at a minimum.

Insurance not covering the problem, that seems kind of insane. What's the point of insurance if not to cover stupid shit like this that could not have been prevented?
posted by explosion at 11:35 AM on July 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


How is it possible that a family lives in a house with 80,000 bees and doesn't hear anything out of the ordinary?

These were quiet, polite Canadian bees. Buzz. Buzz buzz? Buzz buzz buzz. I'm sorry.

Anyway, it could have been worse. They could have been living in a hovercraft.
posted by maudlin at 11:35 AM on July 31, 2012 [12 favorites]


It's like, how many more bees could we get in the ceiling? And the answer is none. None more bees.
posted by Naberius at 11:38 AM on July 31, 2012 [74 favorites]


at least no one was trying to develop a chemical to mobilize the bees to attack
posted by The Whelk at 11:38 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of my senior year of high school, when I was living with my grandparents in their dilapidated house. Their attic was full of hornets, but they never did anything about it. At one point, the hornets started coming into my room through ducts and light fixtures. Just a few at first, but more each day (and just a few stinging me), until one morning I woke up and the headboard of my bed was more or less swarming with hornets. I verrrrrrry slowly crept out and told them that it was maybe time to do something about the hornets, in my humble opinion.

So my grandfather tossed a bug bomb up there and that reduced it back to a trickle, but I still kept finding dead hornets in the side-crease of my waterbed until the frost hit.

That was a weird place to live.
posted by COBRA! at 11:39 AM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I LOVE BEES BUT THAT SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS MAYBE TOO MANY BEES.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:39 AM on July 31, 2012 [41 favorites]


80,000 bees is not that many bees. It's like 3 or 4 hives worth, IIRC. A single beehive kept by a beekeeper...half the size of a filing cabinet? So imagine a filing cabinet full of bees.

I don't think the bees outside were being physically prevented from entering due to the attic being literally jam-packed. It's just that the new bees couldn't take that territory because it was already claimed.
posted by DU at 11:39 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoops, 2 filing cabinets of bees. The weight could definitely crack the ceiling, but I don't think its a "deafening roar" situation either.
posted by DU at 11:41 AM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, but any more than zero bees is too many bees for my house.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:42 AM on July 31, 2012 [19 favorites]


BEADS?
posted by davidjmcgee at 11:42 AM on July 31, 2012 [28 favorites]


This happened to my family one summer when I was around 7 years old. We were living in a very old house that probably needed a little more care than it was getting. So bees got in under the clapboards and set up shop above the lintel over the door between my bedroom wall and a clothes closet. Right next to my little bed. Honey dripped down through the woodwork and onto the floor, and when I found it I ate a bunch because I loved honey (still do). My mother nearly had a heart attack when she discovered me eating some fluid off the floor and my hands were covered in sticky goo. My older brother drilled a little hole in the lintel and set up a funnel into a pan and I had fresh honey for the hottest part of that summer. Fall came, and my father got up to the side of the house and caulked up the clapboards and I never saw the bees again. Never forget that summer though.

On preview, yes, it's entirely possible to live with bees in the wall a few feet from your head and never suspect a thing.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:43 AM on July 31, 2012 [45 favorites]


I found a dead wasp in my mailbox yesterday and I thought I had it bad.

TREACLY HORROR
posted by Currer Belfry at 11:43 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bees are lucky that they are cute and we like to eat their spit, can you imagine it if was roaches or earwigs or scorpions? It would be just Nope, burn the place to the ground.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:43 AM on July 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


"I don't think the bees outside were being physically prevented from entering due to the attic being literally jam-packed."

I think it was more of a honey problem.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:43 AM on July 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


DU: "80,000 bees is not that many bees."

I beg to differ.
posted by zarq at 11:43 AM on July 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


Once the bees get inside the hive (the roof), they mostly walk around rather than flying, so the buzzing is at a minimum.

It's my understanding that bees use their wings to create airflow across the hive for the purpose of evaporating moisture out of nectar as it converts into honey. I know that the hive we had on our farm emitted a buzzing sound.
posted by gauche at 11:45 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


We had this happen, but not to this degree. It's not as horrific as it sounds. They mostly stayed in their spot, doing their thing, and we didn't hear anything either. Called a beekeeper, he and his son came and took them after cutting a hole in the ceiling. They didn't charge for that, getting a bunch of good healthy bees for free, and the only cost was later, $250 for wallboard dude to match the ceiling texture.

If this happens to you: 1. Make sure they're bees. Beekeepers will not come to take away your yellowjackets. 2. Don't wait until honey is dripping. If you see a lot of bees coming and going and hanging around your house instead of your garden, that's the time to start paying attention.
posted by sageleaf at 11:45 AM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Whoops, 2 filing cabinets of bees.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:45 AM on July 31, 2012 [18 favorites]


Mo' honey, mo' problems.
posted by emelenjr at 11:45 AM on July 31, 2012 [32 favorites]


On preview, yes, it's entirely possible to live with bees in the wall a few feet from your head and never suspect a thing.

Bees with lots of food and a productive Queen are usually fairly quiet. Loud bees are a bad sign for a beekeeper. Average production for a colony in most of Canada is about 200lbs... This was a pretty good beekeeping operations :)
posted by Intrepid at 11:48 AM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


2 filing cabinets of bees

That is a LOT OF BEES. Two filing cabinets full of PAPER is a lot of paper. THAT IS TOO MANY BEES IN A HOUSE.

Also, would that honey be safe to eat? I mean, you can't get more "locally sourced" than "made it in my damn ceiling" right?
posted by antifuse at 11:48 AM on July 31, 2012 [13 favorites]


A single bee-beard (a recreational sport for stutterers) can have 300,000 bees.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:49 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, left off the most important one: 3. Don't call an exterminator. Call a beekeeper.
posted by sageleaf at 11:49 AM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


how many bees does it take to screw in a lightbulb

two, but they'd prefer somewhere more private
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:51 AM on July 31, 2012 [41 favorites]


You can always tell the people that've never set foot outside of a ginormous city.
posted by DU at 11:51 AM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


...and into a file cabinet full of bees.
posted by griphus at 11:54 AM on July 31, 2012 [18 favorites]


They should totally throw a bee-gone party after all this. Serve honey and toast and make everybody wear stripes. I would totally dress up like a queen in a bee suit with a tutu, a la Smashing Pumpkins.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:55 AM on July 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


Sounds pretty sweet!
posted by LordSludge at 11:55 AM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bees. BEES. BZZZZZZZ!
posted by isnotchicago at 11:57 AM on July 31, 2012


Chapter two of the story: ants find the honey that wasn't removed.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:57 AM on July 31, 2012 [18 favorites]


I know I'm getting old when the most incredible part of the story is the fact that it only cost $1500 to fix.

That's the benefit of single-payer apiary care.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:58 AM on July 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


DU: "You can always tell the people that've never set foot outside of a ginormous city."

We have bees in the city. They're civilized, and live at the Waldorf=Astoria.
posted by zarq at 11:58 AM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


You can always tell the people that've never set foot outside of a ginormous city.

Yessir, them tender-footed cityslickers, what with their aversions to dial-up internet and livin' in a house with 80, 000 bees in the ceiling. Yessir, I do declare; thought I'd seen it all, but I reckon it does take all kinds.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:58 AM on July 31, 2012 [27 favorites]


You can always tell the people that've never set foot outside of a ginormous city.

I set foot in some sort of ginormous Yellow jacket city when I was a kid. Not recommended.
posted by ghharr at 12:00 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


cobra: "So my grandfather tossed a bug bomb up there and that reduced it back to a trickle, but I still kept finding dead hornets in the side-crease of my waterbed until the frost hit....That was a weird place to live."

Your real name is Stephen King, right?
posted by mule98J at 12:00 PM on July 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


You can always tell the people that've never set foot outside of a ginormous city.

Spent a goodly bit of time outside of ginormous cities in my youth. And let me tell you something. 80,000 of ANY CREATURE (larger than a dust mite) is TOO MANY FOR MY HOUSE. I'm totally happy to have 80k bees in a beehive in my backyard (well, maybe not my backyard because I have a 3 year old who is terrified of all insects despite my insistence that they won't hurt him), but 80,000 bees in my ceiling? Too many. I think I would max out at, say, 5 bees. Maybe 3. And only if they're, like, passing through, as a shortcut between the flowers in my backyard and where ever they are (not in my ceiling) living.

I know I'm getting old when the most incredible part of the story is the fact that it only cost $1500 to fix.

It cost $1500 to remove the bees and honeycomb. I don't imagine that $1500 included the cost to re-drywall the ceiling. Or even clean off the honey residue.
posted by antifuse at 12:01 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


How is it possible that a family lives in a house with 80,000 bees and doesn't hear anything out of the ordinary? posted by zarq

This same thing happened to my mom and stepdad. They live in a two storey Cape Cod style house in northern New Jersey. It doesn't have an attic but there is storage space under the eaves, which works out to be behind the front wall of the two upstairs bedrooms. A couple of years ago I got a shaky phone call from my mom; they had found a honeybee hive that filled the eaves space. The hive was centered a few feet from the head of their bed.
posted by workerant at 12:02 PM on July 31, 2012


Also, would that honey be safe to eat? I mean, you can't get more "locally sourced" than "made it in my damn ceiling" right?

Mmm! Asbestosy!
posted by Sys Rq at 12:02 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


We have bees in the city. They're civilized, and live at the Waldorf=Astoria.

That's one way to generate some buzz.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:02 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


My guess on the price is the apiarist would probably do the demolition and removal for free or very cheap to take the bees away, the cost is likely all repair work. If the apiarist got the colony and charged $1500, I think I might start advertising for bee removal!
posted by JayNolan at 12:04 PM on July 31, 2012


workerant: "The hive was centered a few feet from the head of their bed."

Holy crap. :(
posted by zarq at 12:04 PM on July 31, 2012


A couple of years back I was looking for a local beekeeper to come get a swarm outside of our office. They left before I could reach one, but in the process I found the blog of one of the locals and it's a super fun read. He does some great documentation of the various swarms and hives he rescues and relocates.
posted by marylynn at 12:07 PM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


You can always tell the people that've never set foot outside of a ginormous city.

Wow you are totally right. Only ignorant city people would not want 80k bees in their ceiling. HAHA THOSE IGNORANT CITY FOLKS. I remember when I lived out in the countryside I had at least 12 million bees living right inside my left nostril and by god it just wasn't enough.
posted by elizardbits at 12:11 PM on July 31, 2012 [59 favorites]


It's the bees' house now. Let them have it.
posted by The Bellman at 12:12 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have enjoyed reading this thread, enormously.
posted by infini at 12:15 PM on July 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


Not too long ago there was a weird fight on reddit between /r/wtf and /r/beekeeping over whether you should call a beekeeper if you found bees in your attic. The peeps from /r/beekeeping kept saying don't call them, that they get a couple calls a day from people with bees in their house that want them to come over, knock a hole in the ceiling , take out all the bees and then pay for the bees. Like the homeowner acted like they had raised them there on purpose as an investment. The consensus was that /r/beekeeping didn't want no damn attic bees since it usually involved all kinds of shit they didn't want to do, like knock holes in drywall and crawl around attics.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:15 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


where is beefetish?

=|
posted by kavasa at 12:16 PM on July 31, 2012


You can always tell the people that've never set foot outside of a ginormous city.

I grew up in rural Connecticut.

But I also happen to be allergic to bees.

Go ahead and chalk up my fear to city-slickerdom if you want, though. I just hope you've had practice in using an epi-pen.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:18 PM on July 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


80,000 of ANY CREATURE (larger than a dust mite) is TOO MANY FOR MY HOUSE.

Indeed. Now, back to the subject: All the comments in here screaming and fainting at one bee.

Bees are harmless, unless you are allergic to them.
posted by DU at 12:20 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Remember that picture of a bee trailing its abdominal tissue behind after it stung somebody?

Well... you probably do now!
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:25 PM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]



Hmm...

I have bats that live under siding of my house. About once a week one comes through some hole somewhere and flies around the house. I've become quite the expert bat catcher. I don't mind though it's not so pleasant to be studiously doing something on the computer and having it swoop down over my head.

If this was me I'd get the beekeeper to give me the honey and beeswax and sell it all. Beeswax candles aren't cheap. Score!
posted by Jalliah at 12:26 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


How does a comment faint
posted by shakespeherian at 12:26 PM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bees are harmless, unless you are allergic to them.

It is very possible to be allergic to bees and not know it. (Cf. Macauley Culkin, My Girl.) Unless you know for sure that you're not allergic, avoiding bees is a perfectly rational thing to do.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:26 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


We have bees in the city. They're civilized, and live at the Waldorf=Astoria.

The NYPD does in fact have its own beekeeper, who is the guy who responds to calls about swarms of bees.
posted by Naberius at 12:29 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


How does a comment faint

Twenty bucks, same as in town?

Wait no.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:30 PM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


My mom raises bees and as a result is very active in the local beekeepers' organization. She loves to tell this story:

At one meeting, a fellow showed up to ask the beekeepers if they could come out to his subdivision and help him figure out where all the bees were going. He'd just recently moved into the neighborhood and kept noticing tons of bees around, but no visible hives.

All the beekeepers were excited about a possible free swarm and started asking him tons of questions about the movements of the bees and if the subdivision had any large trees or vacant buildings. Finally, after they'd all agreed that someone would go out and deal with the swarm, one guy asked the new guy where he lived. Turns out he lived three houses down from one of the beekeepers, who confessed that it probably wasn't a swarm, but his own three hives. The new guy was reassured but still confused, because he'd walked the neighborhood and not seen a hive. The beekeeper then had to explain that their subdivision had a covenant against raising domesticated animals (which bees were considered) and he'd hidden his hives in his garage. He'd drilled a small hole in the side of the garage for the bees to come and go and no one had ever noticed until now.

The new guy agreed to not say anything to the HOA for free honey.
posted by teleri025 at 12:31 PM on July 31, 2012 [44 favorites]


Bees are harmless, unless you are allergic to them.

Ouchy things are not harmless and bee stings are, in the best possible circumstances, ouchy.
posted by workerant at 12:31 PM on July 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm going to go check my filing cabinet, just in case.
posted by RobotHero at 12:33 PM on July 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


*calling sonascope*

I take minor issue with the article referring to bees as "pests". I mean yes, freaky situation to bee (heh) in but nobody was harmed in the slightest.

Look, I have an unhealthy, completely irrational fear of wasps, hornets, yellowjackets, etc. My two-year-old son was stun by some yellowjackets and he barely noticed. In contrast, I haven't been stung since I was twelve and the moment I see one of the little fuckers buzzing 'round my head all the blood drains from my face and all I can think is RUN RUN KILL IT WITH FIRE RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN

On the other hand, when I see a bee or even a large amount of bees I'm totes ok

I would rather have 80,000 bees in my house than ONE wasp and I am not even joking.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:37 PM on July 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


THAT IS TOO MANY BEES IN A HOUSE.

I think it depends on local zoning. You'd have to see the occupancy permit to be sure.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:39 PM on July 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


HOUSE FOR SALE: 2BR, 1.5 BA, slightly mellified
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:39 PM on July 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


How does a comment faint

With silver bells and cockleshells and 80,000 bees in a row?
posted by infini at 12:41 PM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


> I have enjoyed reading this thread, enormously.

But not, I dare say, ginormously.
posted by Brak at 12:42 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of my very earliest memories is of being at a pool and having a bee land in my armpit when I had the arm raised. My first instinct was to put my arm down, which was a mistake. Then I remember my mom trying to get the stinger out with tweezers. They are definitely not harmless.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:42 PM on July 31, 2012


Everytime I see a bee, I think BEES!!!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:47 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


NO BEES!
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 12:48 PM on July 31, 2012


domesticated animals (which bees were considered)

wait what?
posted by desjardins at 12:54 PM on July 31, 2012


Excellent link, thanks. Forwarding to my bee-keeping uncle.
posted by ZipRibbons at 12:58 PM on July 31, 2012


All I can picture right now is 80,000 bees pulling 80,000 tiny plows in the smallest cornfield ever.
posted by elizardbits at 12:59 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


desjardins: " wait what?"

The trick is getting the itty bitty leashes around their necks.
posted by zarq at 12:59 PM on July 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


Almost every summer, a large wasp builds a nest inside my car's driver-side mirror.

This usually comes to my attention when I come home from work and the wasp is frantically circling the driveway and gets all up in my window like OH MY GOD YOU BASTARD WHERE DID YOU GO WITH MY HOUSE

One time I had to drive to a town about 25 miles away and when I parked, the wasp popped out for a look around and I was all listen buddy, you better be back here in two hours cause I'm not waiting for you.

It can get annoying, but the implicit threat of painful stingy revenge has kept me from trying to evict them.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:00 PM on July 31, 2012 [35 favorites]


I take minor issue with the article referring to bees as "pests"

Well, they DID cause $1500 worth of damage to the house. That's pretty pesty.
posted by antifuse at 1:04 PM on July 31, 2012



domesticated animals (which bees were considered)

wait what?


The type of bees that are used in the honey making business have been bred just like other animals for that specific use. They're bigger then wild honeybee strains. The were also not native and were imported from Europe when NA was colonized like a lot of other domestic animals
posted by Jalliah at 1:09 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


"They wanted in," he said.

My very favorite paragraph in the article, A+++++ would read again.

If no one has already optioned this for a movie (using that line in the trailer) then WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
posted by theatro at 1:12 PM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Great post! You have added most delightfully to my stock of mental images that come up when I think back on reading Alan Weisman's The World Without Us.

Robert Frost had it all wrong, the world will end in honey.
posted by maniabug at 1:13 PM on July 31, 2012



I happen to love bees. Every spring I do a bee assessment when the trees blossom. This spring was light because of the weather and a lot of orchards in the area have little or no fruit.
I was worried but was super happy to see bees around my apple trees. I'm one of the only people in my area that has fruit. I already have orders from people and will be getting a winters supply of applesauce and jelly without doing it myself so I'm happy.

I wouldn't like to have them in my house but if I had no bees around I would freak out. No bees means no food and that sucks.
posted by Jalliah at 1:13 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Doleful Creature: "*calling sonascope*"

This thread on bees has some gems of his, like this story, and these thoughts.
posted by exogenous at 1:18 PM on July 31, 2012


Pssssshh, they told us there were a MILLION bees in the house across the street from us. The removal folks said the hive had been there an estimated 40 years.

I still can't stop saying "Six million bees' knees!"
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:19 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's an Appalachian folk tradition that no woman living in a house without a wasp's nest in the eaves can conceive, which could be based upon a recognition of the resemblance in shape between the uterus and such a nest, I guess (though how would they have known that about human beings except by inference?), and since wasps are very useful in controlling garden pests it could have some social utility, maybe.

I love yellow jackets, and we always set up a little offering to them on a picnic.
posted by jamjam at 1:21 PM on July 31, 2012


I love yellow jackets, and we always set up a little offering to them on a picnic.

Yellow jackets can suck it. Quit crawling around on my food while I'm trying to eat dinner in the backyard, you little black and yellow jerks. I don't know where your feet have been.
posted by antifuse at 1:29 PM on July 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Why are there so many bees? The brochure only said there would be a few bees.

This is a terrible vacation.
posted by dr_dank at 1:36 PM on July 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yellow jackets can suck it.

Especially when you accidentally stumble across their nest in the woods and get chased by them for a quarter of a mile.


...

Stupid yellow jackets.


....

Hurray Bees!
posted by Atreides at 1:37 PM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bees?

Beads.

GOB's not on board.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:39 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Strangely enough, a friend of the family has a beehive built into the wall of their house. Evidently one of the kitchen walls has a glass window so they can peek into the hive.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:48 PM on July 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wait, I got it...at the house reclaiming party you could make little toast *huts* and drizzle honey on them! I'm genius. I wish 80,000 bees would invade my house just so I could see my brilliant plan to fruition.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:02 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


They should have called on the yeoman warders of the Tower of London to handle this. There is a popular misconception that the "Beefeaters" are so named because they ate beef. In fact it's short for "bee defeaters", because they do this shit all the time.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:04 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wish 80,000 bees would invade my house just so I could see my brilliant plan to fruition.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:02 PM on July 31 [+] [!]



*DING!*

Wish granted.

Would you now like to invoke the Rescind Clause? You have sixty seconds to decide.
posted by likeso at 2:06 PM on July 31, 2012


"What do you mean they cut the lights? They're animals!"
posted by Artw at 2:08 PM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


(um, iamkimiam, you did not specify honey bees. just sayin'.)
posted by likeso at 2:11 PM on July 31, 2012


Yellow jackets can suck it. Quit crawling around on my food while I'm trying to eat dinner in the backyard, you little black and yellow jerks. I don't know where your feet have been.

This is the main function of the offering, actually, to keep them out of our food-- because I think we all have a pretty good idea where their feet have been.

Strangely enough, a friend of the family has a beehive built into the wall of their house. Evidently one of the kitchen walls has a glass window so they can peek into the hive.

I've never heard of that, zengargoyle; it would be interesting to know where they lived and if that was common practice.
posted by jamjam at 2:12 PM on July 31, 2012


I have bats that live under siding of my house. About once a week one comes through some hole somewhere and flies around the house. I've become quite the expert bat catcher. I don't mind though it's not so pleasant to be studiously doing something on the computer and having it swoop down over my head.

I'm generally not the fearmongering type, but I hope you've had your rabies vaccine.

And I hope you like guano, because there's probably lots in your attic!
posted by elsietheeel at 2:19 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


HONEY, I'M HOME











Hello Home, I'm Honey
posted by MuffinMan at 2:23 PM on July 31, 2012 [23 favorites]


zengargoyle: "Strangely enough, a friend of the family has a beehive built into the wall of their house. Evidently one of the kitchen walls has a glass window so they can peek into the hive."

That can't be. That's inside the room.
posted by zarq at 2:25 PM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's got to be something not on the plans.

/Looks up.
posted by Artw at 2:31 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's the perfect end to Good Animal Day at metafilter. Like, goat, check, kitty/doggie, check, laser bulldog, check, 80, 000 BEES NOW WAIT A MINUTE
posted by angrycat at 2:34 PM on July 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


Artw: " /Looks up."

That's a big fuckin' signal.
posted by zarq at 2:45 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


BEE-doop BEE-doop BEE-doop.
posted by Artw at 2:50 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


If those things get loose, it's gonna make the Lacerta Plague look like a fucking square dance!

Too soon?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:50 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


In the ancient country of Orn, there lived an old man who was called the Bee-man, because his whole time was spent in the company of bees. He lived in a small hut, which was nothing more than an immense bee-hive, for these little creatures had built their honeycombs in every corner of the one room it contained, on the shelves, under the little table, all about the rough bench on which the old man sat, and even about the head-board and along the sides of his low bed... -- "The Bee-Man of Orn" by Frank Stockton
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 2:57 PM on July 31, 2012


Sadly, this is a bit close to reality for me, as one of the odd side effects of the derecho was that the colony I keep where I live as my happy zen thing packed up and ran away from home. They'd been jamming along, were building and breeding and accumulating stocks, but a massive tree came down in the yard next door in the storm, crushing another neighbor's shed, destroying the fence along the side of my yard. My home hive is under the canopy of a huge old mulberry tree, and the storm reshaped the tree just enough and knocked the lid off the hive.

Put the lid back on, checked on 'em the following Tuesday afternoon, didn't see any signs of beardiness and there were neither swarm cells or supercedure cells on the comb, but took a look Thursday and they'd packed up all the honey and left. I spent a couple days walking around the neighborhood, looking for them, but didn't find any signs, though some of my girls are still working the clover, so they're out there somewhere. As long as some panicky ninny with a can of Raid doesn't do what panicky ninnies do they'll be fine, and I'll eventually track them down.

Mind you, I've had lousy luck in my town. I've got a hive in Baltimore that's seemingly invulnerable and producing the most delicately flavored tree blossom honey with an undertone of sweet jasmine in reasonable quantities, but my neighborhood just has lousy nectar flows, alas. Bees are inscrutable creatures, too, and sometimes, they'll get spooked by things suddenly in their flight path, or just issues of a weird vibe. When the derecho hit my town, as one of the fronts passed over, the air pressure dropped so suddenly it popped a two-foot wide ventilator off the roof of my building like a champagne cork and sucked two of the building's window air conditioners out of the windows, and bees are aware of things we aren't, so they do a little chemical math, the colony mind makes decisions, and off they go.

Sigh.

I'm glad these bees, at least, got a new home, instead of a panicky flailing poisonous response. Composure and clearheadedness go a long way in making our lives better.

Dang. Maybe I'll go looking for my bees again this weekend.

There's a hum, you see, and it's calling out to me.
posted by sonascope at 3:00 PM on July 31, 2012 [30 favorites]


Anybody remember that episode of TAL wherein somebody had a comic book character who was Bee Man, who had a number of super powers all bee-related? All the powers given were lame as I recall, but actually one could have a bad-ass Bee Man.
posted by angrycat at 3:00 PM on July 31, 2012


Unless he's a nazi made of radioactive bees I don't want to know.
posted by Artw at 3:02 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


AAGH TRIGGER WARNING PLEASE
posted by Surprised By Bees at 3:04 PM on July 31, 2012 [16 favorites]


It can't be any worse than the actual existence of Ant-Man.
posted by elizardbits at 3:04 PM on July 31, 2012


Every time sonascope writes about his bees it makes me want to sell all my possessions and go live in a bee monastery or something (do they have those? please tell me this is a thing that exists). My wife, sadly, is not on board with this plan.

TEACH ME YOUR MYSTERIES O WISE BEES
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:12 PM on July 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


At our last apartment I was late for an interview, because I heard this humming sound, and when I poked my head out the door, there was a huge swarm of bees dangling only three feet above the stairway. In about half an hour they had disappeared inside the walls, and for over a week we had to duck bees in the stairwell while we made frantic calls to the management. We could hear the bees in the living room wall both humming, and also a kind of crunching sound as they expanded their hive. My wife is extremely allergic to bee stings, so it was a tense time until someone finally removed them...only for another group of bees to move in a couple weeks later.
posted by happyroach at 3:12 PM on July 31, 2012


From the accounts of others in this thread it doesn't sound so terribly unusual. It happened to me when I was a graduate student living on a TA's pay and holed up in the cheapest housing I could find, which was a very old unheated farmhouse 45 min. from campus by bicycle. I never even knew the bees were there until one day I got on a ladder and stuck my head through the attic access hatch looking for space where a friend could store some boxes when she left town over summer break. What I saw when my eyes got dark-adjusted looked like a promotional photo of Mammoth Cave, with hives hanging from the rafters and reaching all the way down to the joists like stalactites and stalagmites that have joined up over the ages. I withdrew and replaced the hatch cover. Slowly! Carefully!

But that's the end of the story. The owner didn't care, the house was almost to the "dwelling of no value" stage. I didn't particularly care because they never bothered me, before or after--never saw bee 1 in the people space. Only after I knew they were there could I put my ear directly against a wall and faintly hear humming. Lived with my unobtrusive little housemates another couple of years.

But my friend did have to find some other place for her boxes.
posted by jfuller at 3:13 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


bee monastery
posted by The Whelk at 3:22 PM on July 31, 2012


Raise you, Whelk.
posted by Diablevert at 3:29 PM on July 31, 2012


Meanwhile, in China...
posted by homunculus at 3:34 PM on July 31, 2012


Metafilter: imagine a filing cabinet full of bees.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:36 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is my favorite beekeeper video. The Bee Whisperer
posted by feste at 3:45 PM on July 31, 2012


Remember that guy Johnny, who lived in his grandparents' attic in Minnesota (Wisconsin?), where he had a powerful radio transmitter and racks of sensitive receivers, and who was trying to make First Contact, but who also shared the attic with giant nests of yellow jackets he lived among peacefully, and even amicably?

I always thought that made him peculiarly qualified for the role to which he aspired.

...and they'd packed up all the honey and left.

Does this imply the existence of big, heavy lifting bees with distended abdomens who specialize in honey removals?
posted by jamjam at 3:47 PM on July 31, 2012


When I was a kid we would sometimes stop at Nickerson Farms if we took a road trip. Nickerson Farms was one of those places on the highway where you could gas up the car, use a clean restroom, maybe eat something, check out the cheap Made in Taiwan novelties, and look at the bee hive. Every Nickerson Farms had a plexiglass beehive in one wall, see-through so you could watch the bees do their thing. It was pretty cool for a little kid.
posted by Daddy-O at 4:22 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay soooooooooooooo.....yeah, this happened to me. With some bits in the process I'm not particularly proud of.

A family member and I were living in a house that was pretty old, and small. We noticed that every week or so, there would be a few dead bees in the bottom of the fireplace. Now, the chimney was blocked, so we were pretty confused, looked around, found nothing.

Cut to 7 months later, middle of summer. Sitting on the porch one day, I detect a faint buzzing. There was a wall of the house that butted right up against a line of trees separating the property from the adjacent one, so no room to walk. So I go over and peek around the side, and there are about 400 bees or so at the "entrance / exit" portal to what must be a hive. And the entrance / exit portal is, like, a little crack in the wall.

The wall of the house.

About this time, this couple of guys that would cut the lawn show up. You may or may not have the type where you live. They were a couple of ex-cons, trying to get straight, and would drive around the neighborhood / town with their truck and trailer loaded up with lawn equipment, and ask people if they could cut their lawns. Ours was really big, and we were renting the place, and they only wanted 20 bucks. I paid them thirty, because damn, it was a HUGE lawn / small field next to the house, and 20 bucks was way too little. When I tried to hand the money to the one guy who was doing the talking the first time they came by, he backed away and indicated that his partner was the one to handle money. He wasn't allowed. Not gonna lie, they were a little scary. I really agreed to it the first time because the yard was two feet high, and they were intimidating. They were never anything but polite in our interactions, it was just a physical thing. White rednecky guys with tats and a foot on me in height. But I digress.

So scary / nice lawn guys show up while I'm staring at this thing and wondering what the hell to do. One of them, Mr. NoMoney said "Hold on a second" and went to the truck, came back, and proceeded to light a can of some sort of spray with a lighter while aiming at the cloud of incoming / outgoing bees.

He failed. He probably killed a dozen or two, and then was stung. A lot.

At this point, he said "Fuck it, call someone", asked if he could mow the lawn (which he could not, as he had mowed it seriously like 4 days previous and it needed no mowing), and left. For which I was glad.

The town where I live is seriously all about some bees, and honey, and so am I. So I call the people that do hive removals, and they come out to take a look.

Apparently, you can approximate the size of a hive by the number of bees in transit at the exit during their busy times, or something? I'm not real sure. The bottom line, however, was that apparently the bees had transformed the entirety of the crawlspace of that wall into their hive. We're talking, a metric fuck ton of bees. In the wall. Of the house. Like, next to where I was sleeping. Bees are cute and awesome and crucial. I do not want them that close to my daily life.

In the end, we moved out two weeks later, gave the bee people and the new residents each others information, and I showered for a week. I hope they got out okay, though. Bees are rad.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:25 PM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Honestly, I'm really glad that the insurance company wouldn't pay for pest removal (i.e. extermination) and so the bees lived to buzz another day!
posted by windykites at 4:53 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ramona and BEEZUS
posted by dr_dank at 5:00 PM on July 31, 2012


Hee hee, I've been giggling nervously for the entire twenty minutes I've been reading this thread.

I just wanted to drop this comment about how the USPS will ship your bees ... queen inside the box, swarm outside the box. My friend who's a postmaster says, yep, they've done that.

"You can always tell the people that've never set foot outside of a ginormous city."

My (city) library has a hive in it!

hee hee, hee hee
hee hee, hee hee
hee hee, hee hee ... still can't stop

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:16 PM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books --

“At night I would lie in bed and watch the show, how bees squeezed through the cracks of my bedroom wall and flew circles around the room, making that propeller sound, a high-pitched zzzzzz that hummed along my skin. I watched their wings shining like bits of chrome in the dark and felt the longing build in my chest. The way those bees flew, not even looking for a flower, just flying for the feel of the wind, split my heart down its seam.” The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 5:20 PM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually, Eyebrows McGee, the bees are entirely within the screened box, with the queen and attendants in a little cage inside and the rest of the bees outside, when they ship via USPS. Now, the only tricky part is that the dense pheromone cloud will attract random bees from the neighborhood, but those are just curious bystanders, and harmless unless you mash 'em, but fewer and fewer mail carriers understand this, so the Post Office will often call and ask you to pick your package(s) up.

The process of loading up your hive from a package is pretty straightforward, and I made a brief video in 2010 of the process of hiving a package of bees.
posted by sonascope at 5:29 PM on July 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


P.S. I gave up on the hanging-the-queen-cage method, as it just encourages them to make lousy comb at first. Went to the direct release and have been doing okay with that method since.
posted by sonascope at 5:31 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is a hive on the Upper West Side (that is part of a big city if you are not familiar). And there are probably other hives in NYC.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:50 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: "It can't be any worse than the actual existence of Ant-Man."

*cough* What?

Also, this is not my motorcycle.
posted by workerant at 7:28 PM on July 31, 2012


Bees generate a lot of heat. This could really have helped to cut heating costs in the winter. Now I'm thinking about a house designed to have in-wall hives...
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:31 PM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


The day after moving into my current apartment I woke up to my wife screaming because bees were coming into the bathroom through the ceiling around the fan and light fixtures. Turns out they were coming in right where the fan exhaust was coming out the side of the house and hiving up inside the ceiling. I'm not sure how many there were, I took a picture of a ~18" diameter mound of bees on the side of the house by the fan, so I'm guessing a few thousand?

I also dumped the bees who died in the light fixture in the toilet and took a picture so that if I ever got in an obnoxious argument on the Internet I could link to it with the caption DON'T MESS WITH ME I PISS GODDAMN BEES.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:28 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, protip, get ALL of the honeycomb out of the walls or you get roaches, silverfish, earwigs, ants, etc... in biblical cloud o' locusts proportions.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:30 PM on July 31, 2012


Ok, so can someone explain to me WHY so many bees wanted into the house? Don't they normally build their own nests? Don't they normally fight over territory? Someone mentioned 3 hives in the house?
posted by Canageek at 9:37 PM on July 31, 2012


I appreciate bees but I have a big psychological issue with teeming and between that and the image of the ceiling ooooooozing and thickly dripping, this is nightmare fuel for me.

On the other hand, I quite enjoyed your video, sonascope, and I am sorry to hear your ladies shuffled off in the recent inclemency.
posted by gingerest at 10:25 PM on July 31, 2012


sonascope: "but took a look Thursday and they'd packed up all the honey and left."

Little bees with tiny suitcases filled with tiny jars of honey. I wonder who their real estate agent is.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:16 PM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


BEES!!!
posted by eurypteris at 12:35 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


How is it possible that a family lives in a house with 80,000 bees and doesn't hear anything out of the ordinary?

Just beecause.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:48 AM on August 1, 2012


Oh, bees. I opened the other day the door to a small compartment in my flat and AAAA ALIEN EGG! Okay, bad lighting, definitely not an alien egg, but apparently a hive. No buzz at all, which is good, but a hive less than a metre away from the space I keep my shoes, which is bad.

Apparently there was an infestation problem and all bees had already gone to the Big Hive Above a year ago but the exterminator hadn't found the hive and my flatmate didn't know that this thing was a hive.
posted by ersatz at 3:51 AM on August 1, 2012


Apparently there was an infestation problem and all bees had already gone to the Big Hive Above a year ago but the exterminator hadn't found the hive and my flatmate didn't know that this thing was a hive.

How did the exterminator get rid of all the bees without getting rid of the hive? Oh, I guess if you bug bombed the whole house. Sadface.
posted by antifuse at 6:23 AM on August 1, 2012


Also, protip, get ALL of the honeycomb out of the walls or you get roaches, silverfish, earwigs, ants, etc... in biblical cloud o' locusts proportions.

Yeah, when the guy came several years ago to kill the wasps that had nested in my eave/roof crevices and then on hot days crawled down the walls and out into the living room via the baseboards in search of cool (if you're going to have 40ish wasps in your living room, you do want them to be dazed and sickly from heat stroke) . . . anyhow, he said it's way better to have wasps than bees on account of the removing 5,000 pounds of honeycomb issue.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:20 AM on August 1, 2012


Bees are cool, would love to have a hive to take care of.

my flatmate didn't know that this thing was a hive

Did they think it was a water boiler?
posted by arcticseal at 9:28 AM on August 1, 2012


jamjam, I was going to say around Virginia / West Virginia, Appalachian area and as far as I know just an eccentric old coot. I fired off an email to the folks and alas... got an E-Mail from G. who said his friend that had the bees in his house passed away, and his son has the house. G. was not really sure what happen to the bees, but he will definitely work on getting some pictures.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:52 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


How did the exterminator get rid of all the bees without getting rid of the hive? Oh, I guess if you bug bombed the whole house. Sadface.

Apparently they didn't know about the compartment where the hive was located and sprayed an opening where the bees were emerging from.

Did they think it was a water boiler?

It seems hives were my current flatmate's blind spot. It was also located in a cluttered space we don't really use.
posted by ersatz at 12:37 PM on August 1, 2012


As a child I was stung twice. First in the back of the neck. Second in the back of my knee. Bees are harmless, my ass.
posted by Splunge at 12:39 PM on August 1, 2012


All these great comments and no one has suggested getting a pet honey badger?
posted by TedW at 12:59 PM on August 1, 2012


I believe bee allergies are an adaptive immune system problem, and thus don't show up until the second time you're stung—can anyone confirm or deny? I think I'm using the wrong search terms, and I don't trust my memory, but you'd think that would be a good thing to know...
posted by you're a kitty! at 1:20 PM on August 1, 2012


TedW: "All these great comments and no one has suggested getting a pet honey badger?"

I was under the impression that the honey badger's primary feature was a general apathy towards all things?
posted by lazaruslong at 1:26 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe bee allergies are an adaptive immune system problem, and thus don't show up until the second time you're stung—can anyone confirm or deny? I think I'm using the wrong search terms, and I don't trust my memory, but you'd think that would be a good thing to know...

Anaphylaxis is the term you're looking for.
posted by antifuse at 8:30 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someone had to do it...
posted by pcrsweetness at 11:07 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bees in my roof. (via)
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:22 AM on August 2, 2012


iamkimiam: "I would totally dress up like a queen in a bee suit with a tutu, a la Smashing Pumpkins."

You're talking about Blind Melon, right? The Bee Girl?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:27 AM on August 2, 2012


Not the bees!
posted by yeti at 10:40 AM on August 2, 2012


"You're talking about Blind Melon, right? The Bee Girl?"

Oh god, I am. Smashing Pumpkins, Blind Melons, Mouldy Peaches, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Marc Almond...you should see how I mangle colors!
posted by iamkimiam at 2:35 PM on August 2, 2012


Infested bee-plane bee-devils Samuel L. Jackson and Nic Cage
posted by angrycat at 2:40 PM on August 3, 2012


Hmm. Neither Samuel L. Jackson nor Nic Cage was on that plane. Still infested with bees though.
posted by angrycat at 2:45 PM on August 3, 2012


« Older Paul Lockhart, author of the famous Mathematician'...  |  BuzzFeed's strategy... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments