BENTON COUNTY, Miss. --How do you remove thousands of honey bees living in the walls of a historic cabin in North Mississippi?
Very carefully, of course!
The owners of the cabin discovered the buzzing tenants and wanted them safely removed.
That's one for the professionals and it took them several hours to do just that.
As we found out the job is not for the faint of heart.
"You never know what you're dealing with. So it's best not to try this yourself."
Words to live by from bee removal specialist Mike Harris.
Harris and his crew from Apex Wildlife Control suited up Thursday morning ready to remove a hive of honey bees from a historic cabin in Benton County, Mississippi.
"These are European honey bees. They're not Africanized bees although you couldn't tell the difference," said Mike Harris, Apex Wildlife Control.
The bees had already made their way into the walls of the cabin built in 1835.
Owner Ben Cowan noticed them and believes they may have been in the cabin for more than five years.
"The buildup of the hive, the wax and the honey will eventually rot the wood. and so that's not good for the house," said Ben Cowan,
Workers had to carefully cut away some of the exterior siding.
And of course, these bees weren't going to sit still for that.
"We know we're going to get a few stings. But they'll probably settle down after a while," said Mike Harris.
Settle down or not, Harris has a job to do. So he starts gently vacuuming the bees from the honey comb and into a screened box
"We want to make sure we don't touch the bee with the hose. If we do we'll crush it. It'll still run and move but it will be badly bruised and won't survive," said Harris.
Finding the Queen bee is crucial.
"Maybe we'll find her, maybe she'll come out. She's probably hidden right behind that hive that piece of comb," he said.
Harris knows from experience there's a sense of emergency within the hive and that's when bees normally gorge themselves with honey and start leaving home.
"If they were to successfully leave with the Queen, then they could land in a tree, find a hollow tree, and they'll use that honey to start another hive," Harris said.
But there is a sweet side to this job.
During the process, there's always a chance to taste what these tiny creatures worked so hard to produce.
And that's exactly what Courtney Harris did.
"Oh my goodness. Oh, my goodness."
We've learned that Mike Harris and his crew found the Queen Bee.
The recovered bees will be released into an area where they can be used for pollination.