MALONE Thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands, of bees are under the siding of the house being painted at 12 Morton St.
Theres close to 2,000 of them in there, said Ryan Holmes of Steves House Painting, who said he looked through one of the holes on the outside of the house.
Its pretty bad, he said. Its nothing Id want to tangle with.
Steve Dustin, owner of Steves House Painting, said he believes there could be 200,000 to 300,000 bees behind the siding.
Jerid Maes, another Steves 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 havent 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 didnt seem aggressive. If you bother them, then theyll 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 werent 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. Its 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, its 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, its 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. Id rather not kill the bees, because theyre endangered.