Bee Removal in Dallas Texas by Bullseye Pest
“Every Bee Removal job is unique”, said Steve Moseley, Owner / Operator and Certified Applicator of Bullseye Pest Management. We were in his service truck driving out to Dallas Texas, where a very nice home in the Highland Park area had developed a bee hive in their gazebo. “I’ve pulled bees out from under the plywood of patio ceilings, between wall voids, in church steeples, in the void space between poured concrete and huge water intake pipes. You just never know where bees are going to get in their heads, ‘Oh, this looks like a great place to build a hive’. And the next thing you know, you’re pulling 70 pounds of honeycomb out of an ATM cabinet.”
“In cases where the honeycomb, the hive, is in between wall voids, or built into a home or structure, we don’t have any choice- we have to kill the bees. We do so with a hot repellent first, and then a quick knock-down with no residual, because we want to chase off as many bees as we can, we want to kill as few bees as possible, and we don’t want high residuals in the pesticide to be carried off to other beehives. So even when we know we have to kill bees, we kill as few as possible and contain the damage.” Steve talks evenly and with measured breaths as he labors to put on the bee suit. “But in this case, we’ve got an old owl’s house that bees have taken over and made their home, and this owl’s house is just a wooden box sitting on a brick and wired to the back of the wrought iron forming the gazebo.” Steve stands for a moment checking his suit for any small access holes that a bee could find to enter the suit. He checks zippers for full closure, pressing their Velcro-lined protective flaps flat. Then he stands for a while, checking both sides of the owl box, with long, quite, consideration. “I think we can save these bees”, he says quietly.
Relocating the bees, it turns out, requires considerable resources, none the least of which is an area to which to relocate them. With over a decade’s experience in Pest Management, Steve Moseley has developed a considerable client list of farmers and bee keepers. With just a few phone calls and a route laid out on his smart phone, Steve’s assistant gives him the high sign that the details have been worked out and he can proceed with a plan that involves getting all of those bees down in one mass, as opposed to just gassing them to death.
Things rarely go completely trouble-free. A third wire securing the owl’s house was unseen in the prior observations, but is now making its presence known as Steve attempts to get the containment sack around the box as gently as possible without alarming the bees. For the most part everything is peaceful. But a few brushed off bees are beginning to sound the alarm, and Steve now has to spend time he didn’t count on clipping a third wire.
Steve works at the third wire while holding steady an owl’s house full of bees, a containment bag half in place, all while wearing a bee suit in the full hot of mid-day Dallas and teetering on the end of a ladder. His movements are slow and steady and deliberate. It seems like time has given up and come to a full stop as we stare at him and wait for any signs of good luck. Suddenly it comes and the bag continues to climb, sliding slowly up the sides and then over the top as Steve works slowly to close it off without sending the bees into frenzy.
It is another long wait as Steve comes slowly down the ladder with the large wooden box full of dense, heavy honeycomb and many hundreds of bees. Even from my safe distance, some 60 yards back, the storm of angry buzzing emanating from the containment sack sounds very loud and effectively frightening. I look around my immediate head-space for circling bees, hearing an occasional fly-by. As I check my surroundings, I notice Steve’s assistant motioning me to move farther back and away from the path. Steve is headed my way with the box. The box of angry, angry bees.
From this point things move quickly. Steve’s assistant prepares paperwork for the client while Steve applies a repellent to the gazebo to ward off bees returning home and to prevent future nesting. Everything moves efficiently and without pause, with one over-riding objective; get the contained bees to safety.
Driving towards the chosen farm land, Steve’s assistant confirms the location over the phone and gives Steve directions from his GPS. Steve is driving in his bee suit with his hood unzipped and pulled back, and he’s still quite a sight with his large yellow gloves and blaring white suit.
Without the easily recognized bee-screened hat, he could readily be mistaken for a haz-mat worker. The similarities between these two jobs are not lost on me.
The chosen spot turned out to be an isolated cluster of trees in the middle of a plowed field, far down a dirt road, miles from the nearest paved road. The bees would be released in a place where they were sure to not bother anyone, with fresh fields all along the North and South and a large aquifer of water less than a quarter mile to the East. Considering the certain death they would have faced at the hands of any other exterminator this could easily be portrayed as bee heaven. I wonder how well the bees will adapt being moved over dozens of miles away. I wonder if the bees could have any concept of a large benevolent life form, who, given the easier alternative of exterminating them and going home, chose instead to spend another 2 hours in time and dozens of miles in gas seeing to their relocation. As if to answer my silent musings, and to remind me that no good deed goes unpunished, Steve is stung on the right hand on the webbing of flesh between the third and fourth finger. An unseen bee caught in the fold of his large, sleeved gloves flew out as Steve removed his suit and stung him instantly on his hand. He rubs it, and shakes his hand as if to try to flick off the pain, and laughs at his own bad luck.
“Every bee removal job is unique,” he muses as we begin the long drive back into Arlington. “Sometimes you have to tear out walls, sometimes you have to cut down trees, and sometimes you get stung.”
Yes. But today, we got to save the bees.
WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MATT G.