SOCORRO, New Mexico (STPNS) -- A buzzing sound was the first clue that something was going on in the attic of the home of Charles Mandeville IV.
When he started seeing bees around his Park Street residence, he decided to call beekeeper Les Crowder of La Joya.
When Crowder removed flashing from under Mandeville?s eaves, he found himself face-to-face with 50,000 bees swarming around a large hive. Crowder, the bees had created a hive in the attic of Mandeville?s house.
?I started hearing the buzzing about three years ago. I didn?t know where it was coming from,? Mandeville said. ?I would occasionally see a few bees outside trying to get pollen from flowers around my property.?
Then a neighbor told him bees were coming over to his place.
?They wanted me to get some poison,? he said. ?But they didn?t seem to be the aggressive Africanized bees, because after walking among them I never got stung. I thought about poison, but put off trying to kill them. Over the winter they vanished. They were hibernating. Then this summer they were in full force.?
Until this month Mandeville still didn?t know where they were coming from, and it hadn?t occurred to him to look in his attic.
?Finally this month a bee stung a kid who swatted at it, so I had to try to do something about it,? he said. ?I met Les at the Farmer?s Market and knew he would know what to do.?
Crowder said he lacked enough bees to populate his hives and he was glad to help out. He started rounding up the bees Thursday, July 20, using his smoker and a portable hive. The Mandeville bee swarm is now living contentedly and making honey in Crowder?s hives.
He said he will be able to remove every bee.
?Except for probably about 15 percent that will probably die. Some get too traumatized by being moved,? he said. ?Once you get the queen relocated the rest of the hive will follow. A hive of bees is like one single entity and move as one. They stick together.?
Once the bees relocate to the portable hive, they start moving the honey, Crowder said.
Pie pans are placed under the original hive to catch dripping honey. Mandeville said he has collected about a quart of honey in a week.
Beekeeper Crowder has hives in Socorro County and Albuquerque, and moving bees is something he does regularly.
?People who need to pollinate their fields will call me, so I?ll relocate some hives where needed,? he said.
County Solid Waster Director Michael Jojola said he calls Crowder if a county resident has a problem with bees.
?I?ve called Les several times and he comes right out takes the bees away,? he said.
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