Hardypond Saves Thousands of Bees from Extermination

In early July 2016, contractors working for Hardypond Construction discovered a massive beehive at the former Clark Memorial United Methodist Church in Portland during renovation work. The hive was discovered when the contractors noticed a large number of bees flying in and out of an upper-level building window.

The contractors brought the discovery to the attention of Hardypond Construction Site Supervisor, and amateur beekeeper, Andrew Green Jr. After some careful sleuthing, Green established the bees were in fact honeybees, the important crop pollinators whose populations have been declining in recent years. Knowing the environmental value of honeybees, Green began making plans to construct a new hive at his home and preparing the safe transport of the bees to his apiary several weeks later.

 

On Monday, July 26, Green began removing a plaster wall in order to expose where he believed the hive was located. Once all of the plaster was removed, Green was speechless when he saw the immense size of the hive. Realizing he needed assistance, Green called Keith Kettlehut, a seasoned professional known as the “Maine Honeybee Man”. To Green’s surprise, the hive turned out to be the largest that Kettlehut had ever seen.
The two men began removing the honeycomb piece by piece. They approximated the hive contained between 75 and 100 lbs. of honey and nectar. Green was able to salvage two lbs. of honey and brought the comb to his home for melting into beeswax.

Once the bulk of the hive had been removed, Green and Kettlehut began using a special bee vacuum to move the bees into a safe relocation box. At this point, Green and Kettlehut had established they were working with approximately 100,000 Italian Honeybees.

 

The bees have been relocated to Green’s residence on Westbrook Street in Portland where they now live alongside his other two hives.

Large amount of honey comb removed from huge wall cavity bee hive.

Large amount of honey comb removed from huge wall cavity bee hive.

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Hive area is approximately 6′ wide by 8′ high.

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Bees just prior to being captured and relocated to a new home.

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A large amount of honey comb saved for the bees to establish a new home in a safe place.