2016 Honeybee Removal Information

Rex Smith’s Honeybee Removal – 2016

If you are in need of having a honeybee swarm picked up, or a full colony of bees removed from a structure – please see the following links for my contact information:  (These same links are in the top menu bar on this website as well.)

Also please understand that most bee removal specialists are overwhelmed beginning in March with calls.  In peak season I personally receive between 30-40 calls per day – and do 1-3 full removals per day.  If I do not answer the phone, I am probably in a hive – so please do leave a message and I will return the call as quickly as possible.

Removal Information:

Frequently asked questions (and my answers):

Reclaimed and Rebuilt Fireplace Mantle

(note:  click pics for larger versions)
Several years back, for another project – I had visited a house that was in process of being demolished – in order to reclaim some of the building materials.   (Yes – with permission and blessing from the demolition crew)  One of the items that was saved from the bulldozer was a fireplace mantle.   The house had been built in the 1930’s-1940’s (from what we had been told) – and the fireplace mantle was HUGE – and a shame to let be demolished….  So it was put onto my trailer after some gentle persuasion with a pry-bar.


My home was built in the mid 1970’s – and had a cheaply made facade of a mantle – made only of crown molding – attached to a 2×4 that had been set into the mortar of the chimney.

The old mantle (sorry – no pics that I have been able to find) was removed – and plans progressed to decide how the fireplace’s new look would be envisioned.

The brick around the fireplace would be painted white, as well as the body of the mantle. – The trim would be black, as well as the brick within the inside area of the mantle.

The surrounding brick was painted white, and the inside of the fireplace was painted black with hi-temp paint…  Then life happened, and the project sat for a while – with an electric heater/fireplace in front of the real fireplace.

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Challenges and work to perform – would be to:

  • cut the legs to lower the mantle – so that it could be affixed to the 2×4 already in the wall
  • Remove about 3 inches of wood from the horizontal board that cross over the fireplace entry – to open up the view of the fireplace
  • replace the crown molding under the mantle shelf
  • fill a large hole in the mantle shelf that had been used for electrical wires/plug in the mantle’s former home
  • repaint the wood for a more contemporary modern look (I’ll talk about that later)

First order of business was to take plenty of pictures of the mantle before it was disassembled.  The structure was simple enough that it could be rebuilt completely if needed.   The structure of the legs and cross member was replaced with a fresh board behind each seam – and screwed into place – instead of the nails that had formerly done the job.  (The nails allowed too much flex in the overall body of it)

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The trim pieces and shelf were removed.  And measurements were carefully taken… multiple times….  (measure 3x, cut once!!!)


The legs were then cut with a skil-saw.  The horizontal member was then measured and marked – and also cut with the skil-saw.  Finish cuts of the ends were made with a Japanese draw-saw for a flush cut.

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Sanding….  80-grit, then 150-grit – all with an electric sander.  I suspect the 3-layers of old paint may have had some lead-based paint in them – and possibly oil-based layers more recently – so a mask was worn when sanding.   Primer of all the surfaces was then applied.  (I used Kilz Original – which is oil-based, however allows latex paints to be painted over it)

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New 3/4″ quarter-round was  put into the inside edges of the mantle, and filler was applied to all the seams and nail holes.   Sanding commenced again.

Black and white enamel appliance paint was used for the final coats.  3 coats each of the white and black paints.

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And the finished, installed, new-to-this-home fireplace mantle.




While I an very proud of my work on this project – it’s a bit “contemporary” for (a) my personal taste, and (b) my current furniture.   Eventually, I’d like to place “fireplace glass” into the fireplace with a new burner for it.  Then new projects on the horizons.  😉

Brownsboro… by way of Ben Wheeler

An out-of-town military serviceman had been stationed on the east coast – and while renovations are being done to his Texas home – it was decided that it was TIME to take out the honeybees, so that other repairs could proceed.

He mentioned to me that he knew the bees had been there a while – (years) – but since they were up high – they really had not bothered anyone – so left them….  to grow…  and steal… (the – these little ladies were stealing from their community!!  Much of the 5+ year old comb had GREEN honey in it.  I do believe they may have found the local snow-cone stand syrup and brought it in to consume!  Who doesn’t like a snow-cone on a hot day?  😉 )

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Once opened, here is a short snippet of the view I had





Though it was HOT outside (102+ deg. F) – these bees really were docile.  The video looks chaotic and unnerving – however the bees were NOT attacking me.


Once finished – the vinyl soffit panels were put back into place.   One the way home, I was hoping to stop in for a cool-down beverage at The Forge in Ben Wheeler – however it was still early in the day – so they were closed.   So I took a quick snapshot of the town’s little wedding chapel across the street.


Utility Company Bees

Another beekeeper received an EMERGENCY call about honeybees that needed to be removed from a telephone utility box.  He was unable to make it – so contacted me to see if I was available.  I was able to respond for the company – and take care of the bees.

The box as I approached it:


The insides… Uh – were a mess of wires.  This took TIME and precision work to not disrupt anyone’s home telephone service (does anyone actually HAVE a land-line any more?)



My main tools for this removal were the smoker – to run the bees out of the box and collect them – and a LONG carving knife that reached way down to carefully trim out the comb.


Once finished, the wires were tucked back up into the cover, and I was on my way.

Bees Evicted From Home After Unpaid Rent Due!

This rental home in Dallas had an occupant who was had failed to pay the landlord rent to live in the space.  So, the eviction process was started!

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Once the soffit was opened, It was apparent the bees had been here from a late fall swarm from the year prior.  The bees were removed from the home, and told not to come back onto the property.  Hopefully the homeowner will follow through with a restraining order.  Lol…


Seriously, though.. These bees were pretty docile.  The space was filled with insulation after the comb and bees were removed, and the homeowner will be performing his own repairs to the soffit.



Grossly Mis-Diagnosed (…or they are NOT Africanized)

I received a call from Texas singer-songwriter Kim Townsend about honeybees that were in her family home just outside of the DFW Metroplex.  She had originally called a hobby beekeeper, who got in DEEP over his head – and he had not even started a removal yet.  Unprepared, he tried to pry up flashing with a pry-bar, without using the proper tools (i.e. smoker at a minimum).  The bees let him know that he was in their territory!  😉

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When the bees came out to meet him – he immediately declared them to be “Africanized” and told her that she needed to call a professional.  I’m glad she did.  When I performed the removal, the bees were docile, and amicable to moving to a new home.


The soffit was opened up, and the comb exposed… I knew they would probably be hiding in the upper-level soffit as well, and suspected some comb would be up there – and I was correct,  There was another 10-12 pieces of brood and honey comb up in the higher portion of the soffit.

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Once the bees were fully removed, the soffit space was filled with insulation, then new soffit boards were put into place, and the seams caulked.

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Kim had been interested in beekeeping – and has had an empty hive – just waiting for the right opportunity.  Though the bees I put in her hive were not from her own home – she could now have a hive of her own to manage and learn from.


Ross’s Bees

Bees were entering the balcony wall of this condo – and needed to be removed.  The walls are appx. 1″ thick cement/stucco – so I had to use a special blade to open the wall to access the comb.


Once their void-space was opened – these bees were VERY docile.

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After the removal was complete, I filled the void with insulation, and the stucco was put back in place – and the homeowner can have it cosmetically repaired at his leisure, now that the bees have been re-homed.

During the removal – I saw the queen – however lost sight of her when I removed the piece of comb she was on.

I was collecting the last of the bees after the removal was complete – and FOUND HER – up on top of the wall.  With a small entourage keeping her company.








Royal Bees….

Royalty?  No…  These bees were highly aggressive when it was time to remove them from their home.  At the peak of a 2nd floor soffit – protected from the sun by a high tree canopy.



The comb went about 2 feet over the living space of the house – as well as over the soffit portion overhanging the edge of the house.  I wound up wearing 2 veils for this removal (I had a small tear in my main veil – and the bees were aggressively entering the tear – so I doubled-up)



After the bees were removed, the void was filled with fiberglass insulation, and the soffit was reassembled.

Rockwall Bees

This colony looks to have been here for several months – from the comb – I’d say they probably were an EARLY spring swarm that moved in.


The bees had entry to a joist space over this porch area.  They have grown substantially in numbers since the homeowner noticed them.


Once the lower trim and first board were removed (whole boards across for this removal – no cutting of the boards – by request of the homeowner) the joist where the bees were was located.  The boards are tongue and groove cedar planks – and great care and attention was required to not break the fitting to each other – so that it would look right when re-installed.


They wound up having comb that reached up to 4-board heights.  (sorry – no pics of the whole comb).  These bees were of VERY good demeanor, and should be a great bee-yard addition.

After the bee removal – the void space was filled on ALL the joist spaces to about 3′ tall – across the whole porch.


And finally – the boards were put back into place, and the trim board replaced – but nailed down tightly to prevent future intrusion by bees.







Been there a little longer than anticipated….

One of the first questions I ask of a homeowner with bees is:  “How long have they been there?”.   Many times, the answer will be “I’m really not sure – maybe from last year or early this spring”.  And occasionally I’ll hear “They just moved in this week – come get them NOW!  It’s an emergency!!”

This particular case – was that the homeowner admitted that they had only recently (in the last week) *noticed* the bees – and they really didn’t know how long they had been there.   A person performing a removal would MUCH rather hear this honesty – then the insistence that bees have been in there for only a day or so – only to open it up and find 10-20 full combs that are brown to black – indicating that the comb had been there for a matter of years.

These bees were fairly high in the air.  2nd floor soffit.  (click pics for larger versions)


Once the soffit was carefully opened – it was evident that the bees had been there a *bit* longer than a week or so.  The texture and color of the comb indicates that they had probably been there since last fall.


In all – there were 13 combs removed.

The brood and honeycomb were tall – Appx 20″ tall at the back (as they followed the steep roof line).

Dscn3562_smAfter the removal was complete, the void space was filled with fiberglass insulation, their entry hole was filled and repaired, and the soffit was put back in place.

All in a good day’s work!




“What if I just leave the bees in my house?”

I often am asked :  What will happen if I just leave the bees”, or “What if we wait?”.

The following pics are a graphic example of one possible scenario that can (and does) occur.

Scene:  In October of 2015, the homeowner observed bees swarming, and moving into a 2nd floor peak soffit area of his home.  I was called, and a removal date was set for mid October.  I arrived, and upon opening of the soffit – the bees were not found – they were actually in the roof line – above a finished-out 2nd story room.

The homeowner was made aware of the situation, and the options available.  I could (a) open up the drywall inside the house – which would have been the easiest method at the time because of the pitch of the roof.  or (b) – I could remove a section of roof shingles and decking above the colony.

The customer opted to wait.  I hadn’t heard back from him until a month ago (June 2016) – when he called to let me know that the house was to be re-roofed, and he was ready for the bees to come out – but if it could be coordinated with the roofer, so that the decking could be opened up and re-roofed at the same time.

We are NOW at the summer solstice.  The sun is farther north in the sky than it was in October.  The bees did not realize that their home would no longer be protected by the trees above in the heat of summer.  The comb melted, and dropped onto the drywall ceiling of the room below.  From the appearance of the comb and it’s condition – I’d say the comb dropped about a week ago.  It was a NASTY MESS.  (click any of the photos for a larger view)

First view:


A layer or two removed:


And the REAL nastiness is exposed:

Dscn3579_smYes – the black in the bottom is the drywall – where honey and wax fell – and drained/dripped and seeped from the roof joist space – and impregnated the drywall.  Note also – the Small Hive Beetle larvae, and also Wax Moth larvae.  Yes – those are “maggots” – just not from flies.  The stench of the mess was horrible.

The mess filled (2) 5-gallon buckets with comb that was pretty nasty. Larvae, stench, etc…

After cleaning it all up, and scraping out everything possible, the space was filled with insulation, so that there would be no void available for bees to occupy in the future.  And the rest was left for the roofing crew to complete.


My view from the peak of the 2nd story roof peak: