This rescue began on a sad note. The home owner’s son had sprayed pesticide on a small section of the hive!
This is always a bad idea, on a number of levels. Perhaps, the most obvious is that it will kill some of the honey bees: rarely will pesticide wipe out the whole hive. The reason being the chemical does not reach the entire hive and new bees are being born all the time. Even if the pesticide kills all the bees, one would still need to remove all the dead bees, honey, and all the honey comb.
On another level, the state of the honey bee is endangered! We can not afford to intentionally destroy any active honey bee hives!
I am not sure if the Swope Crew will be able to survive the chemical residue on their comb and the stress of their move. However, all remaining bees, at the time, seemed alert and active as we began the cut out and relocation.
Unfortunately, all of the honey that the ladies stored, wasn’t edible for humans: I rubber-banded them into frames for the bees to eat. If they build up their numbers, and survive the winter, it will be a great accomplishment. I am projecting two seasons before any honey can be safely extracted from this crew.