ATLANTA - At the same time the Atlanta History Center invited two colonies of European honeybees to live on their property for their obvious benefits to the ecosystem. They are trying to rid themselves of a giant hive of uninvited honeybees who have made themselves at home behind the walls of an historic home on their property.
Isn't it ironic. Don't you think so?
The European honeybees currently residing in the meadow, are considered docile and manageable. They were brought in to do a specific job...pollinate the local plants.
Conversely, the native honeybees living behind the wall of the Tullie Smith House, which was built in the 1840's and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, have made themselves at home in an area where they are not welcome.
That is where Bill Owens, of Georgia Bee Removal, comes into the picture, and his job, or in this case his 'honey do list', is twofold. One, rid this historic house of some 30,000 plus bees and do it humanely so that the bees can be relocated to a more appropriate location. Two, do it without damaging this home that is more than 160 year's old.
No problem. After carefully removing boards from the wall of the structure to expose the giant hive, Owens goes to work. He admits, "the bees aren't very happy about this process". Armed with protective clothing a special vacuum cleaner, he literally sucks up the bees, removes the honeycomb and successfully put the house back together the way it was.
So what becomes of the bees? According to Owens, some of these 'Buckhead Bees' will become Morgan County bees as they are relocated to his bee farm in Madison where they make honey and sell bees. Others will be donated to beekeeping clubs around the state, and to the University of Georgia for research. According to Owens, in a bee colony the size of the one that was removed from the Tullie Smith House, the queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day. These bees can produce 120 pounds of honey in a year.
Also, if you recently visited the Atlanta History Center, don't fret. This colony of bees was not located in a public area, so you were never in any real danger of being stung.