The Swarm Saving Property Protector
Save the bees and your roof!
Humane, Reusable & Pesticide Free
Imagine noon on a summer’s day.
Honeybee scouts are extremely buzzy, mapping everything within a mile of their starting beehive.
Their beehives, their homes, have successfully overwintered.
In the last few years, bees have been doing much better.
Now it is summer, they are ready to swarm.
The honeybee scouts have no interest in flowers.
It is not sweet nectar that they seek.
The scouts are mapping out the internal dimensions and accessibility of every nook, crack, hole and cavity, (be it natural or manmade) within their sphere of interest.
They will look everywhere.
The scout bees are doing this, to find a new home for their family.
When they find a spot they like, (usually a cavity with no draughts), they’ll go tell other bees to come see it too!
A few bees will follow the lone original bee to this new location, seeing is bee-lieving!
This place of interest might be the cavity of a tree, (their natural choice), with generous space to expand.
Increasingly, their natural tenancy is not available.
Tree cavities are not so common these days.
Their habitat, over the years, has been disappearing, their choices have changed.
Why do bees move into homes?
A common alternative to a tree cavity could easily be under the slates of a roof, or tucked away behind the door of an electricity meter.
It doesn’t really matter to the bees.
As long as it’s a space they can grow into, and has a small, easily defend-able opening, it will work.
Wouldn’t it be great if your home came with free central heating?
Well, from the perspective of the bees, your house does!
Statistically, if they move into someone’s house, it will be most likely at the roof line, just under the slates.
After that, they could go into the chimney flue.
Chimneys can be fairly awkward to solve, and can get fairly dangerous if you light the fire without knowing they are there!
Sometimes, they’ll get into the floor space, or into a flat roof extension, through a gap beside a pipe or vent. Any access will do as long as they can fit.
The bees will sometimes be right above your head separated by a centimeter of plaster board.
Other times, they are just under your feet, with only the thickness of the floor boards separating you, from their living space.
In many cases, both the bees and your family can happily live together without any major issues. They do their thing, you do yours, and never the two shall meet.
Getting Work Done
Unfortunately, bees and tradespeople don’t mix so easily.
Any repairs, maintenance or upgrades to the property you may plan to invest in, that happen to be close to the colony in the building, that can make finding brave enough people, all that much harder.
In other cases, bees can start coming inside the home, piling up and dying against the windows.
A few dozen bees here and there might be an annoyance, hundreds to thousands are a different story.
While this is not extremely common, it does happen, and it can be frightening.
It’s getting HOT in here!
Bees in the chimney can be extremely dangerous if the fire is lit without knowing the bees are living in it.
Ignoring the bees themselves, the honey bee colony consists of tens of kilo’s of wax and honey, both of which are easily ignited once warmed.
Lighting a raging fire could warm the wax and honey, causing it to soften and deform.
It could even break away from its anchor points, and fall.
Worst case scenario, a chimney fire.
Fire hazard aside, the colony can effectively stop the flue working at all by filling it up in a section.
This can greatly reduce the chimneys ability to exhaust the toxic fumes.
Finally, in examples like roof or wall bees, on our hottest days, the heat can cause a similar but different issue.
The honey stores can dislodge from its moorings, fall and spill open the liquid honey, kilo’s of honey can drip down the walls and over the brickwork.
The chunk, becomes a deformed leaking mess.
This can sometimes lead to honey seeping out of electrical sockets, switches and light fixtures or just casually flowing down the wall.
Honey is electrically conductive.
If you see honey coming out of a socket, call an electrician and don’t turn on whatever item has honey flowing out of it!
Other times, the honey just pools on the plaster, eventually saturating it.
This can lead to dis-colouring of the plaster on the living space side.
It can also slightly expand the plaster once it soaks in, which seems to soften it, and make it brittle.
If the issue remains unfixed, mold issues can develop.
“The Cure” in these cases, can end up being fairly expensive.
Killing them with poison doesn’t get rid of the honey and wax that have been collected.
Plus, the smell of the wax will keep attracting more swarms.
If the issue is to be resolved, the bees and the organics must be relocated.
However, if height is involved, safe access is needed to get up there, which can get expensive.
If the roof must be opened, a builder is needed, which can get expensive.
Then if there is any other damage or rot, that will need repairing then too, which can get expensive.
Prevention would be better than the cure!
Prevention would be cheaper than the cure!
But what prevents honeybees moving into my home?
Thankfully, beekeepers have been testing the ideal solution for decades!
Beekeepers utilize a technique known as “swarm trapping”, or “bee baiting” in their ordinary operations.
This is a process that catches the scout bees attention with the use of an extremely attractive lure.
From there, the scout bees go back to their hive and moving preparations begin.
Using this technique, the beekeeper can gain an extra colony.
But, we can also use this technique to dissuade bees going into your property, by placing the hive nearby.
All we need to do is set up a hive, in such a way, with such a lure, that the bees go in it, and not somewhere else in the home.
That’s all well and good, but how?
This is how Swarms.ie can help
(You do have to live in Ireland, though)
I’ve found what I believe is the ideal hive for this purpose.
Swarms.ie can provide you with this hive, the lure to attract the bees attention and the instructions on where to set it up and what to do.
Next, you just keep an eye on it on sunny days.
If all of a sudden, bees are coming and going, take a quick video.
Send the video to Swarms.ie, we’ll confirm if you’ve “struck bees!”
The sooner we confirm the presence of a colony, the easier it is to relocate them.
We then inform our current list of 833 beekeepers nationwide that these bees are ready for re-homing.
Saving the Bees
The beekeeper will come to your house, and transfer the colony into their own hive.
Doing so, your Property Protector is once again ready to protect your property.
The beekeeper will wait until dusk so all the flying bees can return and be collected.
Then, the colony will be brought to a dream bee location, a leafy forest or some bountiful garden.
From there, they will be cared for and they can prosper.
This solution uses no pesticides, it’s completely humane and it could be reusable year after year with some minor winter care.
There are however, a few potential downsides.
The choice and set up of the hive, is not suitable for keeping bees indefinitely.
Therefore, it can’t be used as a regular beehive or as a replacement for a beehive.
Due to its specific size, a lured colony will eventually outgrow the space, and, you guessed it, they will swarm!
That could happen in only a few months, in the same summer as they arrived.
If you would like to keep bees, attend your local association beginners course.
Bees are not exactly domesticated, so they can’t be told what to do, we can only suggest.
On some occasions, it may cause bees that would have otherwise avoided the area completely, to be suddenly a lot more interested to move into your neighbourhood.
On some occasions, the bees might ignore the Property Protector completely and enter your home regardless.
This will be especially true if bees had been living in your home in prior years.
Visible activity may have stopped when the bees died off, but the wax is still there.
The smell that gives off is hyper-attractive to the scout bees.
In most cases, that smell might defeat The Property Protector.
To resolve historical cases, please get in touch for advice.
Non Direct Benefits
I’d just like to mention some secondary benefits that this solution may bring from the point of view of conservation.
These points don’t give any direct benefit to the homeowner, at all!
Honey bees, just like humans, get sick.
There is one ailment that bees can get, called AFB.
AFB has zero effect on humans, but it’s lethal to them and there is no known cure.
It kills the baby bees before they are born, which kills the entire colony eventually.
We have pockets in Ireland where this issue appears prevalent.
AFB really needs a trained beekeeper to know what to do and how to spot it.
It is commonly thought that wild bees, potentially high up in buildings and away from easy observation, might help the spread of this disease to our managed bees and other wild bees alike.
A single sick hive could infect dozens potentially nearby, the cycle repeats.
So by reducing the number of colonies that aren’t managed, the ones we can’t monitor, we can also reduce the opportunity for the disease to proliferate.
It is conceivable that we could eradicate this disease entirely.
But, maybe that’s not realistic. One can dream.
Additionally, there are very few beekeepers across Ireland that routinely perform “colony extractions”.
This is the effort of getting the bees out of a building.
The work requires specialty skills, thinking on your feet & dealing with all sorts of hazards while sometimes bending over backwards.
Risks like height, unexpected wires, sharp, loose, heavy objects targeting your toes, honey everywhere, both somehow sticky and slippy at the same time, extreme awkwardness not seen since Maths Paper 2, and of course, lots of potentially angry bees with a desire to sting and\or kill you for evicting them.
Bees do not want to be evicted, if they are not strong enough to fight the big monster in the white space suit, they will run and hide into any dark corner they can find, which can lenghten the time it takes to be successful.
Due to just the random nature of where the bees end up, no two removals are the same so any and all can present their own unique dangers and difficulties.
Add all this together, and it becomes clear just how perilous these extractions can become.
However! If there was an option instead for:
“Relocating bees from a hive on the ground?“
“The hive is a solid box, with no hidden sections?”
“No ladders and lugging heavy equipment up and down?”
“No risk of death from falling?”
“All my tools are on the ground, as am I?”
“We don’t have to wait on builders to finish (or arrive!) to get on with it?”
…Well that’s pretty much the easiest extraction a beekeeper could ask for!
Ireland possesses a valuable native sub-strain of honeybee, Apis Mellifera Mellifera (or Amm) that was widely thought as lost until only a few decades ago.
Amm, (aka the Dark European Honeybee), at one time a dominant northern European strain, it is now thought only to exist in a handful of places between Ireland and the British Isles and some locations further afield.
All scientific signs suggest Amm to be prospering here in Ireland and that the effort should continue.
The conservation activity in Ireland is immense from beekeepers on the ground, as many of our passionate beekeepers try to build Ireland into a sanctuary for Amm.
The Property Protector can be used to help beekeepers in conservation areas, in their efforts to protect this species.
If you would like to pre-order a Property Protector for pre-swarm/summer delivery, please click here.
Thanks for reading,
Abigail & Steve