In the past 24 hours, I learned a lot about bees. A thoughtful neighbor left me a note last night to tell me that thousands of bees swarmed into my wall yesterday afternoon! Though I was home at the time, I missed all the hot action. He had been walking down the street and observed the bee swarm hover near our homes and then discover a hole in my siding through which they appeared to enter. Eep.
When the swarm was on the move outside on our street, my neighbor called Bowman's Bees. Mike and Chris from Bowman's Bees love bees; they provide East Bay swarm removal and custom beehive construction for backyards. As long as the (scary-looking) swarm or hive is outside, they have expertise in luring them away — or helping you to start a honeybee hive. Swarm removal is FREE but donations are gratefully accepted. Call 510.684.3849 or email Bowarrow45@yahoo.com to reach these bee whisperers in Oakland.
Unfortunately, the uninvited guests moved into my home. By the time the bee swarm moves into a wall, attic, or other interior location, it is A LOT more labor to get them out requiring drilling, removal, prevention, and repair work. The free dudes said they could no longer help me. Wah! I found a company doing business locally as Bee Removal Berkeley and Bee Removal Oakland (part of a large national chain of Bee Rescue and Swarm Removal). For a minimum of $900, they cut into my exterior siding and did all the extraction and repair. Repair is vital — we found a number of smaller companies that would cut open our house and remove the bees, but without repairing the cracks, the bees would just return. The BRSR team guarantees the work and will return after a few days if there are still bees hanging out. And it only took a few hours.
The nice guy from BRSR used a Home Depot shop vac to extract the bees and clear caulk to repair the side of my house; he said there were indeed thousands! The house looks A-OK and the bees will make some beekeeper very happy.
I hope that's advice you never need.
[Photo of swarm by Harlequeen. Told you I missed all the hot action!]