POLITICS

Beekeeper gets Ontario homeowner out of sticky situation by removing 50,000 bees

06/30/2015 12:32 EDT | Updated 06/30/2016 05:59 EDT
CAMBRIDGE, Ont. - A Cambridge, Ont., neighbourhood was abuzz as about 50,000 bees and 45 kilograms of honey were ripped from inside the walls of a house.

Beekeeper David Schuit says he spent about six hours on Monday outside the home on a tall ladder, cutting away honeycomb and carrying down pail after pail as the sticky substance dripped on — and under — his beekeeping hat.

Schuit, who owns Saugeen Country Honey Inc. in Elmwood, says he could have torn the inside of the wall apart for easier access, but he made the damage sting less by removing the infestation from outside.

As he worked to remove the buzzing insects' waxy work, he periodically smoked the bees to confuse them, and coated them lightly with liquid syrup.

Schuit says the syrup is used to distract the bees from their displacement, because they love the sweet substance and will lick it off each other as he collects them.

He says the homeowner now must deal with the damage to the walls, which isn't covered by insurance.

He has disposed of what he says is unusable honey, but is keeping and rehabilitating the hive.

While bee infestations aren't a particularly common problem, Schuit says affected homeowners shouldn't simply have the bees exterminated because when honeycomb is left in the walls, wax moths will eat away at it, and the honey will wreak havoc.

"Just to put the bees down, that's the easiest part. The nightmare comes after that," he says.

"I've had houses where the issue was in the living room, and they've put the bees down and I had to come in later on to clean up the mess. The honey flowed from the living room to the dining room to the bathroom."

— By Cara McKenna in Toronto