Discovering a large swarm of bees in a hollow tree or in an abandoned building can be unnerving. For many people the first instinct is to destroy them, but there are alternatives.
Jeff Becvar of Indianola is a bee removal specialist. He says it’s not an easy task, but the honey comb and its residents can be relocated.
“I use a bee vacuum to collect up all the excess bees," the 62-year-old explained. “They are not harmed, they are actually put into a container converted into a vacuum with a vacuum head on top of it and they’re ventilated as well so they don’t suffocate or overheat.”
Becvar has been using this specialized skill for more than 26 years. He says it’s hard work and it can be dangerous for both the bees and those doing the removal.
“It’s extremely difficult," he said. "The one I’m working on currently, three bee keepers have looked at it and all three have backed away from it. Not everyone is prepared for this, it’s a pretty daunting task to open up somebody’s house and remove bees.”
Becvar and a handful of other bee removal specialists in Iowa are called on an average of 85 times each year. He says the prime time for “cut outs” as they’re called is mid-May through August. He admits he gets stung several times during each job.