Massive beehives removed from vacant Memphis buildings

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There are dozens of vacant buildings across the city of Memphis, and one local couple is pulling them apart to find something sweet in the middle.

There were over 100,000 bees just a day ago in one downtown Memphis building, for instance. They burrow into buildings and create massive hives. The biggest hive in that building  was more than 14 feet long.

But this isn’t a rarity — there could be dozens of buildings like this all across the Bluff City.

Roger and Dianne Hunter, a Lakeland couple who got into beekeeping just a few years ago, were contacted take apart this downtown building, saving as many bees, hives and gallons of honey as possible.

"My big rule is, it’s nature, so there are no rules," Roger said while combing through the downtown building. "There could be one to — like in this building —  we’ve got five hives.”

There’s no telling how many of the abandoned buildings across the Mid-South have massive hives like this one, but if they could be safely removed and re-located to a safe place, it could present a boon for the bee-shortage that has struck our country in recent years.

"I’ve said, I’ll take bees from anywhere, any place. Any type of building. All I need is a lift and a way to get to it, and i’ll take the bees,” Roger said.

Roger says he originally got into the bee business because his daughter wanted a bee hive.

"She’s always loved bees since she was a little girl,” he said. “I ended up adopting her bees."

The bees are "fantastic mental therapy," he said. "They’re great for my nerves, they’re great for my attitude. It just helps me deal with life and with people.”

Roger’s wife dianne, who is actually allergic to bees, agrees.

"It is therapeutic," she said. It’s rewarding to think you’re doing something to help the environment when bees are so vital.”

Make no mistake, bees will get agitated if you mess with them.

But whether you’re a commercial owner with a big building to deal with, or a Mid-South native with a hive you don’t want, there’s a peaceful way to these insects.

Memphis Area Bee Keeper Association has a bee removal list on their site, Roger said.

Roger and Dianne said they got gallons of honey from this building, and eventually they’re starting their own locally owned honey business.

Their bee removal business, Mid-South Bee Removal, can be reached at (901)-355-9864. They said their local honey business is expected to go online within the next month.

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