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Varney, Ontario Bee House: Loretta Yates Says Home Swarming With 80,000 Bees

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Loretta Yates discovered the 1 1/2-storey house she shares with her husband and 22-month-old son was also home to about 80,000 bees. ALAMY
Loretta Yates discovered the 1 1/2-storey house she shares with her husband and 22-month-old son was also home to about 80,000 bees. ALAMY

VARNEY, Ont. - Never mind a house of horrors, this was a house of honey.

Homeowner Loretta Yates said she knew she had a "sweet mess" on her hands at her home in the small southern Ontario community of Varney when a crack in the ceiling started oozing honey last week.

"I guess with the cracked ceiling in the kitchen and the honey dripping on me — that was (the) time to get help," she said.

Loretta and her husband Kevin soon discovered the 1 1/2-storey house they live in with their 22-month-old son had a few unexpected guests: 80,000 bees nesting in two colonies in the first-floor ceiling.

Kevin Yates said he first noticed something strange around a week ago when he spotted a "blanket of bees" hovering in a thick swarm outside the kitchen door.

"They wanted in," he said.

He didn't realize the throng of bees at the doorstep were trying to do what thousands of the pests had already done — sneak themselves into the ceiling.

They couldn't get in, he explained, because it was already full of bees.

He said it wasn't long after that honey began to slowly drip from newly emerged cracks in the living room and kitchen ceilings, while a cascade of the sweet liquid even blew a lightbulb after filling it half-full of honey.

"Every hour honey would seep down to the ground on the floor," Yates said, adding he saw no bees leak down into the house along with the honey and that nobody was stung during the affair.

Yates said the couples' insurance company declined their request for help, saying the insurance policy didn't back them for bee infestations.

And a pest control company couldn't promise to get the bugs out for good, Loretta Yates said.

That's when she called beekeeper David Schuit, who with three other employees of Saugeen Country Honey on Monday took down the living room and kitchen ceilings and scraped the honeycomb loose.

It took them about six hours to get the job done, at a cost of around $1,500, her husband said.

The beekeepers captured one queen bee and recovered more than 100 kilograms of honeycomb, which is expected to be made into candles.

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