Things have been buzzing around Make It Right’s New Orleans’ neighborhood. One homeowner, who is severely allergic to bees, had a hive in a tree behind his home. Another homeowner had a hive camping out in the floor system under her home. Since bee colonies have been dying off in alarming numbers around the world, we didn’t want to spray the hives or kill any of the bees. On the other hand, our homeowners weren’t too thrilled with their uninvited house guests.
So we reached out to Dave Young of Capstone Ministries. Dave and Capstone have been working in the Lower 9th Ward for more than four years, converting vacant lots into community gardens and giving away the produce. Two years ago, Capstone started a bee keeping program to produce honey. The honey is sold and the profits support their ministry to teens in prison.
To solve the problem of the tree-bound bees, Young installed a “bee box” in the tree. Over the next couple of months, the bees will move from the tree into the box. At that point, Young can relocate them.
The second homeowner’s bee colony got into the floor system near an abandoned bird’s nest on the top of a column supporting the house. They many have thought this was a good place and then chewed their way further into the floor system. Make It Right’s construction staff had to remove some paneling under the house to get to the nest. Then Dave Young removed the honeycomb and nest, transferred them to bee frames and put them in a box. The box will sit outside up by the old nest for the next couple days to attract the bees that were out foraging when the hive was transferred. To keep the bees from escaping, Young installs a one way valve so that bees can go into the box but not fly out. Because Young didn’t find a queen in this nest, they can likely be integrated into one of Capstone Ministries’ established colonies.