Watch CBS News

Honey bees safely removed from walls of Pittsburgh-area home

Honeybees safely removed from walls of Pennsylvania home
Honeybees safely removed from walls of Pennsylvania home 03:10

HOMESTEAD, Pa. (KDKA) — Spring has sprung, and the honey bees are buzzing.

But in some cases, they are becoming a nuisance.

A McKees Rocks-based bee removal company stepped up to help a Homestead homeowner who was having trouble finding someone to remove a large hive. Thousands of honey bees built a hive in her wall.

The owners of Honeybee Blues, Joe Kellems and Dawan Johnson, suited up, covered their scent with smoke and got to work free of charge.

We could hear the walls buzzing and feel warm spots. Kellems used a thermal imaging camera to locate the hive.

"The hive goes all the way up to the top and extends all the way down to here," he said.

He also drilled a hole and put a camera into the wall to get a closer look.

"I expect there to be a lot of bees and a lot of honey. Judging by that, it's going to be a big hive," Kellems said.

Kellems used a saw to open the wall. The two uncovered an impressive hive with thousands of busy bees that overstayed their welcome.

"I would say 4 to 5 feet high. It's probably 12 inches wide. It's probably the third biggest one we've done. Looking at the age of the comb, looking at how long the comb is, I would say they've probably been there for over two years," Kellems said.

They also discovered a colony of ants enjoying unlimited honey.

"That's a big reason why doing a removal is key because you want to get the honey out of the wall or it attracts the ants or rodents. With the honey bees, my biggest explanation to the customer is you have to get the honeycomb out, the honey has to come out. The bees may leave, but the honey will never leave," said Kellems.

The homeowner told KDKA-TV she didn't want the honey bees killed. She just wanted to evict them. The Honeybee Blues crew always does their best to relocate honey bees. 

"We always try to save them and put them in the box and take them back to our apiary, and we try to keep it so that they have the best chance of survivability," Kellems said.

It's that time of year when bees are more active, growing their colonies and swarming.

"They take off with the original queen and they'll find somewhere to rest and that's a lot of times when people will find them: in a ball in a bush or a tree or I've seen them on the side of houses," Kellems said.

Kellems said don't reach for the spray and call for help if you're concerned the bees are staying too long.

"For the swarms, what I would definitely say to people is don't be afraid. It is completely normal and call a beekeeper. There's a lot of beekeepers in the area who will come get them for free," he said.

The honey bee removal job in Homestead took them several hours. Kellems said they didn't find the queen but they safely relocated the bees and honeycomb.

The homeowner is buzzing with joy because her honey-making tenants are finally gone.

"I always try to help the customer out, especially when they're not able to afford it," Kellems said.

In August 2023, KDKA-TV did a story on the Honeybee Blues, formerly called Veteran Property Services. It removed a huge hornet's nest from a home in Wilkinsburg for free because it wanted to give back to the community and help a family living in fear of the bad bugs. The company that specializes in swarm and hive removal received lots of calls after that story aired. You can reach them at 412-897-5227. 

Kellems said if you have concerns about a hive or nest on your property, you should call a professional. Honeybee Blues has a vendorship with an immunotherapy company, so the stinging insects go to a good cause, instead of being sprayed and killed.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.