In late February 2020, when the weather started to warm up, Mr Montgomery went out to mow the lawn and had to duck from all the bees swarming.
“I was like, ‘okay, it’s time to get this taken care of,’” he said.
He called Georgia Bee Removal, which services much of the region and got on the waitlist.
Last week, Bobby Chaisson, one of three people who works at the company, came out to finally free Mr Montgomery’s bees.
It cost Mr Montgomery less than US$1000 (A$1531), which gave him a more positive outlook on the situation.
Mr Chaisson got to his house around 9am and was gone shortly after noon.
With a thermal camera, Mr Chaisson was able to find the bees with a heat map before ripping open the ceiling.
Using a custom-built bee vacuum, Mr Chaisson safely sucked up what he estimated to be about 100,000 bees. He said a normal colony, for comparison, has only about 10,000 to 80,000 bees.
The bee vacuum sucks the bees into a special chamber with a modified shop-vac. Each chamber holds about 30,000 to 40,000 bees, and Mr Chaisson filled three of them with the bees from Mr Montgomery’s ceiling.
After removing the hive, Mr Chaisson said there was evidence that there had been another hive in that exact spot that had been removed years ago.
Then, Mr Chaisson removed nearly 60 pounds of honeycomb, which was melted down into wax and donated to a local craftsperson.
The bees are settled into a new hive in North Georgia, joining more than 100 other colonies on Mr Chaisson’s property. Additionally, Mr Chaisson’s neighbour has close to 300 colonies.
“The honey did not go to a local distributor,” Mr Montgomery said.
“The guy who usually takes it just got a load a few days ago and wasn’t in a position to process more.”
Mr Chaisson said this happens all the time, but the honey wouldn’t go to waste.
He poured it into his yard, creating a golden buffet for the hundreds of thousands of bees near the property.
Mr Montgomery is happy to be bee free — and even got to keep some of the ceiling honey for himself.
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