St. Petersburg, Fla. — Stefanie and Dan Graham, were aware that there was a hive behind the wall of their shower and they weren’t too worried until the bees started coming into their home and Dan got stung.
“We both really love nature and we love bees,” Ms. Graham said. “We’re like, ‘We’ll leave you alone. You leave us alone.’ They were nice bees. So, we were like, ‘Sure, go ahead, live in our shower.’”
So, they reached out to professional beekeeper local Elisha Bixler, and when she removed some of the tile, she discovered a seven-foot-tall colony of approximately 80,000 honeybees and 100 pounds of honey.
“I have a heat thermal gun and the hive was pretty large,” she explained. “As soon as I started breaking away the tile, I realized how massive this colony was.”
“As soon as I saw where they were, I started breaking away the tile and unveiling this massive seven-foot hive,” she said. “Most of it was honey.” Bixler set down some plastic coverings and got busy.
“There was honey everywhere: walls, floor, on my shoes, doorknobs,” Ms. Bixler said “I had to pull the wall down to the studs to get all of the comb out.”
After she sorted through the bees, she eventually found the queen bee and put her in a protective cage and put her in the box with the other bees.
“That makes all the bees go into the box with her,” Ms. Bixler said. “She wants to be back in her wall. She thinks that’s her home.”
She also used a customized vacuum to catch the some of the bees that escaped from the hive.
Honey bees were brought to North America by European colonists beginning in the 1620s as a source of beeswax and honey. Lore has it they were referred to as “white man’s flies” because the Native Americans noticed the bees before the European settlers.
Ms. Bixler saved some of the honey to fed the bees she rescued and the Grahams kept some of the honey for themselves.
Ms. Bixler said. “I told them they had an option of just biting into that comb, or you can put it into a colander and just squeeze out the honey,”
“I did tell the bees goodbye,” she said, “and that they were getting a new house.”
The job took more than five hours and cost $800 which was not covered by insurance.