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Penn Brewery Wall Collapse Exposes Large Bee Hive

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Things were buzzing Thursday in Troy Hill.

A wall collapse at Penn Brewery exposed a large colony of bees living within the structure.

The brewery is undergoing some planned construction work, but during that work, the wall came down a little faster than intended.

Workers had already removed the first two layers of brick from the building and were in the process of removing the third when the collapse happened.

"This building dates back to mid-19th century and was in need of regular maintenance; but in addition, we've known for the last few years that there's a large bee colony living in that wall," said Linda Nyman, of Penn Brewery.

No one was hurt during the collapse.

A beekeeper was at the building Friday to try to remove the bees without killing them.

It's estimated the beehive is at least 15 years old and is home to roughly 60,000 bees.

"Typically honey bees are very docile," said Master Beekeeper Stephen Repasky. "And these were docile as well, but because of the wall taken down and exposing their colony, it would be no different if we knocked down three walls of your house. You would be a little grumpy too."

Some weren't surprised by the discovery of the bees. David DeSantis always knew there were bees living between the walls.

"They would come into the office a little bit," he said. "They patched the walls up so they wouldn't, but at one point we used to get a lot of them in the office."

Repasky is working to gently vacuum the bees and store their honey combs with the hope of restoring the hive at another location.

He says every year, 25 to 30 percent of the bee population is destroyed by loss of habitat or pesticides. However, he promises to do everything in his power to make sure the colony survives.

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