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Honey In Ceiling

  • 07-01-2018 7:04pm
    #1
    Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭


    Hi all,
    I've spent the last 2 years carrying out renovations in our house and I've hit a snag. We're only living here 18 months but I've know the house all my life. In about 1996 bees started to get into the attic at one end of the house. They were removed several times by bee keepers but came back again last summer. This end of the house originally had a flat roof, over which a hip roof was built in the '80s. There was a large damp patch on the ceiling near where the bees entered. I poked it with a screw driver to see if there was honey but it came out clean. I assumed the damp was down to the house being unoccupied for some time. I then assumed the bees were on top of the flat roof. I started to pull the ceiling earlier (I'm rewiring and replacing the ceiling) and saw lots of honey comb through the small hole I made. How do I deal with it? I'm waiting to contact a local bee keeper but any advice in the meanwhile? I understand it's a terrible time of year, but until the wiring and ceiling gets done I can't dry line, plaster etc.
    Thanks,
    Dave


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,605 ✭✭✭victor8600


    Wait for the beekeeper to look at the comb. It may be not occupied. If it is, he or she can cut it out with the bees and give them a new home. As the ceiling is going to be removed anyway, it should be possible to do comprehensively. After that, clean the leftover comb and look for any holes through which bees can find a way in again and close them. Fill the spaces with , say, mineral wool. Ideal space for a bee colony has volume of 40-60 litres with a small 10-50 mm entrance, so try to eliminate such spaces.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭dmcsweeney


    victor8600 wrote: »
    Wait for the beekeeper to look at the comb. It may be not occupied. If it is, he or she can cut it out with the bees and give them a new home. As the ceiling is going to be removed anyway, it should be possible to do comprehensively. After that, clean the leftover comb and look for any holes through which bees can find a way in again and close them. Fill the spaces with , say, mineral wool. Ideal space for a bee colony has volume of 40-60 litres with a small 10-50 mm entrance, so try to eliminate such spaces.

    Thanks very much for your response. The bee keeper is coming to take a look this evening. From what you have said I assume the bees can survive the move which is great. While they are a headache to us we would love it if they could be safely relocated. Your advice on keeping them our is in line with our plans so that is great. I'd planned to seal any openings and I have rolls of insulation ready to install. I have heard in the past that if any traces of the hive are left that the bees may return, after the honey is removed, is there anything (for example creosote or another wood product) that I can use to mask any residue that has soaked into the timber?
    Thanks again!
    Regards,
    Dave


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,605 ✭✭✭victor8600


    dmcsweeney wrote: »
    is there anything (for example creosote or another wood product) that I can use to mask any residue that has soaked into the timber?

    This has not been covered in my beekeeping classes ;) However, you probably do not want to have something which smells strong in your house anyway.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭dmcsweeney


    Thanks again. Something just struck me. I was wondering if I could check for activity with a thermal image camera?


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    dmcsweeney wrote: »
    Thanks again. Something just struck me. I was wondering if I could check for activity with a thermal image camera?

    Yes. If bees are there, and if the roof space is cold, they will be in a cluster much warmer than the surrounding areas.
    In my hive the temperature can be freezing outside but if i point a thermal reader up from underneath (through the mesh floor), I can get readings of 15C to 19C .


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭dmcsweeney


    Yes. If bees are there, and if the roof space is cold, they will be in a cluster much warmer than the surrounding areas.
    In my hive the temperature can be freezing outside but if i point a thermal reader up from underneath (through the mesh floor), I can get readings of 15C to 19C .

    Perfect, I'll give it a shot when I get home.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭dmcsweeney


    Hi all,
    So firstly I went home yesterday and left the thermal imaging camera on my office desk so that plan went out the window! The bee keeper arrived and took a look through the hole in the ceiling and figured that the comb was an old one and abandoned. It was in poor condition, not helped by water ingress (blown under the tiles from a blocked gutter). She asked me to open the ceiling at the next joist and that was empty. She then recommended that we pull down more ceiling as a precaution. Bees started to come out and I bravely ran away! I sealed up the hole pretty quickly with a piece of plaster board. She told me that ideally we should wait until April or so to move them, but she is willing to try it now if the weather remains mild. The plan is to get them in some form of box and we'll wrap it in insulation before moving it to her garage. I'd like to give them the best chance, but unfortunately it'll stop all works due to the location and I'm pushing to get the area finished to the point I can start installing a kitchen in late March. Any thoughts?
    Thanks,
    Dave


  • Registered Users Posts: 395 ✭✭welsummer


    where abouts do you live. I have removed bees like this on several occasions


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭dmcsweeney


    welsummer wrote: »
    where abouts do you live. I have removed bees like this on several occasions

    I'm near Macroom in Co Cork.
    Regards,
    Dave


  • Registered Users Posts: 395 ✭✭welsummer


    Sorry, but the wrong end of the country for me. i am in dublin


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭dmcsweeney


    welsummer wrote: »
    Sorry, but the wrong end of the country for me. i am in dublin

    No problem! I brought home what I thought was the thermal imaging camera but it turned out to be the cheap one. On a positive I think they'd be better moved as the ceiling is only at 4deg C!!


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    dmcsweeney wrote: »
    No problem! I brought home what I thought was the thermal imaging camera but it turned out to be the cheap one. On a positive I think they'd be better moved as the ceiling is only at 4deg C!!

    4C is no problem for them. They will make a cluster to keep each other warm. Bees survive much lower winter temperatures than this. In fact lower temperatures are better as they become more active in higher temperatures and use up their winter stores more quickly, increasing the risk of starvation. Dampness is a different matter and this is not good at all.

    The problem your beekeeper has is that she will have to break the winter cluster, remover the wild combs and try to reassemble them in a hive, at a time of year when the bees are not in the mood for making comb, and make sure they dont get chilled and have enough accessible stores. Tricky, but worth a go if they have to leave anyway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,605 ✭✭✭victor8600


    ... wild combs and try to reassemble them in a hive, at a time of year when the bees are not in the mood for making comb, and make sure they dont get chilled and have enough accessible stores. Tricky, but worth a go if they have to leave anyway.

    Hmmm. I wonder if it would be better to make a nuc with 5-6 combs of stores and shake those bees into it?


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    victor8600 wrote: »
    Hmmm. I wonder if it would be better to make a nuc with 5-6 combs of stores and shake those bees into it?

    You might be right. Brood wouldnt matter this time of year.. It would certainly be a lot simpler.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭dmcsweeney


    Thanks again all. It's all over my head but I'll pass on your suggestions. She seems to be very knowledgeable so hopefully it'll go well. She also commented on the damp and felt they'd be better off out of it. We have looked at the works from every angle and unfortunately no matter now we change our sequence of works we will get caught, although we have now changed the plan with the electrical first fix, which will make it more awkward, but will buy us some time with the bees.
    Regards,
    Dave


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭dmcsweeney


    Hi All,
    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Have been meaning to post a reply but I wanted to let some time elapse and speak to the bee keepers again. So they arrive the Sunday before last to remove them. They gave me a half suit so that I could closely watch what they were doing. The active part of the comb was quite small, about 18" approximately. They had a box set up with combs on frames already and they gently moved the active comb piece by piece. Only about 3 bees flew out, which they carefully gathered up afterwards. I spoke to them Friday and they had checked the box a day previously to find that the cluster was still tightly formed and all seemed well so they are very confident that they'll survive. The conditions in the roof were awful. When the entire comb (about 2m in total was removed) we found that the western edge of the flat roof had been broken away and I could see day light under the tiles. Therefore water was being blown in out of the blocked gutter, and the westerly winds were howling through. So all in all they were better off out of there. In the last week I've been carrying out repairs to the roof and cleaning up the area. The flat roof will be completely sealed, but they could still access the roof space above it. The plan therefore, with the direction of the keepers, is that I'll buy the required box and accessories and set it up underneath the access point, so that if I get bees back they might decide to occupy it and allow me to pass them on to the keepers. Or that's the plan anyhow!! Thanks again for all your help and I'll update you with information as the season moves on. I'll post some pictures shortly.
    Regards,
    Dave


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭dmcsweeney


    Hi all,

    just bringing you a further update. I met the bee keeper last night at a meeting and she told me that they feel the bees are doing better than their existing ones so the move has proved a complete success!!

    Some blurry photos of the removal.

    xPl8aDa.jpg

    aofGLhW.jpg

    yIPOWYr.jpg

    I pulled down the remaining ceiling and sealed up all the access points, put in 8" of insulation, replaced the services and slabbed the area out as below. So progress at last!

    xftGodo.jpg

    Regards,
    Dave


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