UNBEE-LIEVABLE: Beehive with 70,000 honey bees discovered in the living room wall of the house in Cape Breton


GLACE BAY, NS – A Cape Breton man says you should be aware of what might live in your home.

It’s not uncommon for someone not to realize they have 70,000 additional renters in their home, says Dominion’s Dave MacPherson, who Hives. MacPherson is also a commercial diver and owns Queens gold, beekeeping, and honey. He recently removed a Beehive with an estimated 60,000-70,000 honeybees from inside a Glace Bay woman’s living room wall.

MacPherson said that Beehive was six feet tall, 16 inches wide, and six inches deep, and he believes it was two to three years old. He said this was not an uncommon discovery.

The beehive, six feet high, 16 inches wide and 15 inches deep, was recently in a living room wall in a house in Glace Bay. Dave MacPherson, owner of The Queens Gold, Beekeeping and Honey, who removed the beehive to save the bees, said finding a beehive inside walls was not an uncommon discovery. Contributed – Contributed

“It’s actually pretty common, people don’t notice, especially here where we have so many older houses,” he said. “Years ago people were blowing in the insulation and the bees would just go in and find one of those little holes or come in through the canopies and decide that is where they’ll build their beehive.”

If there is one Beehive in a house, he said, most people will never know because honeybees are so docile.

“If you don’t pick on them, they don’t want anything to do with you at all, they just want to do their thing,” he said. “If you didn’t know where to look, you would never know they were there.”

How it all started

As a professional driver, MacPherson works for Commercial Diving Marine Services. Ironically, he’s allergic to most bees, as well as wasps, and even has to wear an EpiPen.

“As strange as it is, I’m not allergic to honeybees,” he said.

MacPherson and his fiance travel to Cuba annually. Two years ago – before the pandemic – they were visiting friends who were opening a small beehive to get raw honey for dinner.

“I was so impressed when we opened the beehive that they didn’t bother me or bother me taking honey,” he said.

When he got home, he found that it was becoming a big deal in Nova Scotia as some people on the mainland had up to 2,000 beehives.

“When I started digging into it, I thought,” Not only will I have a really fun and entertaining hobby that will also make me extremely tasty honey, it will also help with pollination, “he said.

Dominion's Dave MacPherson, a commercial diver who also owns The Queens Gold, Beekeeping, and Honey, holds up buckets of sugar water for some of his young beehives in a field in Point Edward.  The syrup encourages the bees to produce more honey faster so they can get through the winter.  Sharon Montgomery-Dupe / Cape Breton Post - Sharon Montgomery
Dominion’s Dave MacPherson, a commercial diver who also owns The Queens Gold, Beekeeping, and Honey, holds up buckets of sugar water for some of his young beehives in a field in Point Edward. The syrup encourages the bees to produce more honey faster so they can get through the winter. Sharon Montgomery-Dupe / Cape Breton Post – Sharon Montgomery

MacPherson currently has 22 beehives and lives near a ballfield and church and keeps them in a field at Point Edward. Not only does he remove hives, but he also sells honey.

Nancy Graham of Glace Bay recently contacted him after spotting thousands of bees trying to invade her home in Glace Bay and he was glad she did.

“Pollinating insects are so important, the last thing we want is to eradicate them,” he added.

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Graham was mowing when she noticed bees coming and going behind her house. She didn’t think much about it until she noticed it again, but this time it was huge numbers.

At first she thought it was wasps, but when she realized it was honeybees, she wasn’t afraid. She knew that if honey bees weren’t disturbed, they wouldn’t attack like wasps. Graham obviously wanted to remove them from her home, but when she saw the value of honeybees, she was glad to find MacPherson who could save the bees.

A giant beehive that was off a sidewalk and entrance to a New Waterforda park just over a week ago was also removed by MacPherson.  Contributed - Contributed
A giant beehive that was off a sidewalk and entrance to a New Waterforda park just over a week ago was also removed by MacPherson. Contributed – Contributed

MacPherson found the beehive in a wall in her living room.

“He knew exactly where to cut instead of just cutting into the wall to take a look,” she said.

Graham said he also had to open a hole in a bedroom floor on their second floor to gain access to the beehive, as it extended up the wall to the bedroom at six feet.

“If they were active before he got around to it, it almost felt like it was hot as you could feel the heat of the activity through the till,” she said. “It was amazing.”

The process

MacPherson said he pointed a FLIR thermal imaging device – which fire departments use – at Graham’s walls to see where the heat was.

“I put a stethoscope on the wall and we could hear them humming on the wall,” he said.

The device enabled him to determine the exact dimensions of the beehive instead of tearing the wall apart at random.

“The only area of ​​the wall that was cut out was where the bees were,” he said.

Bees are shown making honey in one of Dave MacPherson's Langxtroth-style beehives in Port Edward.  Bees make the honey in frames, which makes it easy to move around.  MacPherson, who has been beekeeping for a year, has 22 beehives.  Contributed - Contributed
Bees are shown making honey in one of Dave MacPherson’s Langxtroth-style beehives in Port Edward. Bees make the honey in frames, which makes it easy to move around. MacPherson, who has been beekeeping for a year, has 22 beehives. Contributed – Contributed

MacPherson said if you remove a beehive as long as you can get the queen, the bees stay together. Using a special homemade device, he safely sucked the bees into a 5 gallon bucket with a lid until he found the queen.

The queen bee is slightly longer than the other bees and larger at the rear end.

“Your whole job is to lay eggs,” he said. “It can actually be anywhere from 1,500 to 1,800 a day as long as there are honeycombs for it.”

He put the queen in a special cage on top of the bucket and most of the other bees followed.

Some bees remove honey from the wall and try to remove all the drops so that it can trap the rest.

MacPherson said it was important to get a beehive out of a house because sometimes the beehive dies or the bees decide to move.

“The problem is, all the honeycombs are left in the house and if you don’t get rid of them you will of course attract other insects or rats and mice,” he said.

MacPherson has handled other moves, including one that removed a beehive in a tree two and a half meters from the sidewalk at the entrance to a New Waterford Park on Second Street.

A giant beehive that was off a sidewalk and entrance to a New Waterforda park just over a week ago was also removed by MacPherson.  Contributed - Contributed
A giant beehive that was off a sidewalk and entrance to a New Waterforda park just over a week ago was also removed by MacPherson. Contributed – Contributed

Someone called to ask if they would take care of it.

“It was so open, the last thing I wanted was for kids to walk by and say,” I wonder what would happen if we hit it with a stick? “He said.

Not all honey for the homeowner

Although Graham was glad the bees were saved, she said it wasn’t just a clear scenario for saving the bees. With such a discovery, it is also a great expense and inconvenience for the homeowner.

“Anyone with this on their wall would have to pay between $ 700 and $ 1,500 to get it out,” she said. “Even if you can’t afford it, you still have to put up with it because you have animals on your wall if you can’t find out.”

Guard bees are featured on the outside of some of the beehives by Dave MacPherson in Point Edward.  Sharon Montgomery-Dupe / Cape Breton Post - Sharon Montgomery
Guard bees are featured on the outside of some of the beehives by Dave MacPherson in Point Edward. Sharon Montgomery-Dupe / Cape Breton Post – Sharon Montgomery

Graham said there is no one but the beekeeper who has the expertise to do this kind of work.

After removing it, there are still problems and in Graham’s case it is older wallpapers on her walls that are now unavailable.

Graham had an amazing attitude, however, and even admitted that one day she might visit her beehive at Point Edward.

“As long as they don’t follow me home,” she added jokingly.

Dominion's Dave MacPherson, a commercial diver who also owns The Queens Gold, Beekeeping and Honey, stands next to some of his 22 Langxtroth-style beehives in Port Edward.  MacPherson recently removed a beehive containing an estimated 60,000-70,000 honey bees from a Glace Bay woman's living room wall and says this is not an uncommon find.  Sharon Montgomery-Dupe / Cape Breton Post - Sharon Montgomery
Dominion’s Dave MacPherson, a commercial diver who also owns The Queens Gold, Beekeeping and Honey, stands next to some of his 22 Langxtroth-style beehives in Port Edward. MacPherson recently removed a beehive containing an estimated 60,000-70,000 honey bees from a Glace Bay woman’s living room wall and says this is not an uncommon find. Sharon Montgomery-Dupe / Cape Breton Post – Sharon Montgomery

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