Northern New York Newspapers
NNY Business
NNY Living
Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
In print daily. Online always.
Related Stories

Bees infest home in Malone


MALONE — Thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands, of bees are under the siding of the house being painted at 12 Morton St.

“There’s close to 2,000 of them in there,” said Ryan Holmes of Steve’s House Painting, who said he looked through one of the holes on the outside of the house.

“It’s pretty bad,” he said. “It’s nothing I’d want to tangle with.”

Steve Dustin, owner of Steve’s House Painting, said he believes there could be 200,000 to 300,000 bees behind the siding.

Jerid Maes, another Steve’s House Painting worker, said the bees were coming from a corner of a dormer of the house, and Mr. Holmes said they also were coming from the top and corner of a door frame.

Mr. Maes said the bees haven’t hindered the painters’ work. “My boss had to wear a bee suit to paint the corner” of the dormer, he said, adding that the bees didn’t seem aggressive. “If you bother them, then they’ll bother you,” he said.

Mr. Dustin said he had to purchase the $69 bee suit for the job.

This is the first time the house has had a bee problem, said Lisa Minnich, whose father, David, has lived in the house for more than 40 years.

One day last month, “there were a bunch that were in the house,” she said.

“That was our first clue we had a problem.”

Ms. Minnich said the 20 to 25 bees that came inside that day weren’t aggressive. “They were just exploring,” she said.

Beekeeper Whitney B. McDermut, Bombay, said it is normal for bees to find new areas to create hives. “They do it periodically,” he said. “It’s the natural way of producing new hives.”

He said they also do it when the current hive gets too crowded. The bees swarm when they get ready to find a new hive location.

“They send out scouts and the scouts report with what they find,” Mr. McDermut said. “All it takes is a small hole.”

Mr. McDermut said the Morton Street hive is not far from the old hive. “They decided that the hole (in the siding) provided exactly what they needed,” he said.

Because honeybees are a protected species, a professional has to come in and remove them, Ms. Minnich said.

Mr. McDermut said that while there is no law against killing the bees, it’s better to have them taken away by a beekeeper. Though he is a beekeeper himself, he said he usually gets rid of hives that are in trees, not in homes.

Mr. McDermut said honeybees are protected because there is a parasite, the Varroa mite, that has been killing them. The mites are a serious problem, he said.

Though the honeybee has not yet built up a tolerance to this mite as it has with the tracheal mite, Mr. McDermut said, it’s only a matter of time.

“Sooner or later, the host can tolerate the parasite,” he said.

Mr. McDermut said he is trying to find someone who can help Mr. Dustin, but has been unsuccessful.

Mr. Dustin said he also is looking for a beekeeper, but would consider removing the bees himself if no one else will. He said he has worked with bees and studied them for 37 years.

“I just hope someone can help,” Ms. Minnich said. “I’d rather not kill the bees, because they’re endangered.”

Commenting rules:
  1. Stick to the topic of the article/letter/editorial.
  2. When responding to issues raised by other commenters, do not engage in personal attacks or name-calling.
  3. Comments that include profanity/obscenities or are libelous in nature will be removed without warning.
Violators' commenting privileges may be revoked indefinitely. By commenting you agree to our full Terms of Use.
Syracuse Football Tickets Giveaway
Connect with Us
WDT News FeedsWDT on FacebookWDT on TwitterWDT on InstagramWDT for iOS: iPad, iPhone, and iPod touchWDT for Android
Showcase of Homes
Showcase of Homes