Barehanded Tim Dauber grasps a miniature statuary bench with a pair of garden frogs attached. His crewmate records him shaking the bench up and down, causing hundreds of honey bees to fall out from inside one of the frogs. When Dauber, owner of Bee Friendly, San Jose area honey bee relocation experts, showed up to the job the one frog wore a jacket made up of bees. He estimates two pounds of bees called the hollow frog-shaped home. The slo-mo recording posted to Bee Friendly’s Instagram website grabbed 830 views inside of a week. From the viewers’ perspective, it looks like the frog is pooping bees. “There’s just so many bees coming out of its behind,” says Dauber.
Sometimes honey bees need help finding a place where they can live in harmony with humans. Honey bees look for warm, protected places with a cavity they can fly into. “We get a lot inside of roofs, inside tree cavities, any place there’s a gap inside they’ll go,” says Dauber. If bees pick your chimney, bathroom vent or frog statue, all ideal places for them but maybe not for you, the Bee Friendly crew works to move them to appropriate homes.
With warmer spring weather, new queen bees have hatched and are looking to establish their own hives bringing hundreds of swarming worker bees with them. Dauber’s crew has been called on to manage 31 swarms so far this season. Bee Friendly uses a proprietary vacuum system to suck honey bees out of structures like on a recent call to relocate bees holed up in an outdoor garden shed. The crew sucked up five to seven gallons of bees, uncovering 80 pounds of honey.
“We cut out their comb, and we put them back on their comb, and they’re happy,” says Dauber. His crew moved the comb out of the shed and into a box for relocation. Then there are times the honey bees decide to fly off on their own accord. “I show up, we’re about to drop the bees into a box and within two minutes they all go air born. It’s so crazy how fast that can happen.”
Once the bees are moved into beekeeping boxes, Dauber seeks out places for them to go. Sometimes property owners want to keep the bees after they are removed from unwanted locations on site. Bee Friendly removed bees from a water heater box of a corporate client. The facilities contacts were intrigued by the honey dripping out of their water heater box. Dauber set up beekeeping hives on the property near a creek and all-year wildflower blooms. “It’s just a great place and the bees are just doing super.”
Bee Friendly brings honey bees to local farms, orchards and backyard beekeepers to adopt and manage rescued bees. Ali Tehranchi, owner of Bay Scenery, started beekeeping last year with a box of bees Dauber brought to his property. “My neighbors encouraged me to start beekeeping because they had not seen many bees around for a few years,” says Tehranchi. To stimulate pollination of his 200 fruit trees and many varieties of flowers, he now manages 13 productive hives supporting close to 60,000 bees. “This year I will probably have twice as much fruit. The trees are healthier, and our vegetable garden seems to be producing more. I am looking forward to some local honey without any additives.”
Always on the lookout for new places to relocate bees, Dauber trains new backyard beekeepers. Surprisingly you don’t need a lot of space to keep bees. It’s common to host a hive or two on a building’s rooftop. Dauber helps newbies establish their hives and teaches them long term management skills. Consider inviting a hive of honey bees onto your property to strengthen the health of your landscape. The honey you’ll harvest is a sweet bonus!