August 21, 2019

Honey Bee Removal: A Step-by-Step Guide by Cindy Bee and Bill Owens

Honey Bee Removal: A Step-by-Step Guide by Cindy Bee and Bill Owens

Honey Bee Removal: A Step-by-Step Guide by Cindy Bee and Bill Owens

Review by Geoff MacLean

Last year, I safely removed honey bee colonies  from five homes around Greater Portland,  but sure wish I’d had the opportunity  to read a great book on the subject first!

Let’s take a look at what I believe is  the first comprehensive guide to honey  bee colony removals, written by Cindy  Bee and Bill Owens, masters at the  craft of honey bee colony removal:  Honey Bee Removal: A Step By Step Guide,  hot off the presses in January 2011.

You may remember Cindy Bee from  her presentation at the (first) MSBA  Annual meeting last spring in Augusta.  She and Bill have done a masterful job  of compiling all one needs to know  about removing honey bee colonies in a short but packed 79 pages of details,  checklists and real-life experiences.

The rise of inexperienced suburban beekeepers,  mother nature’s eternal desire to  have strong colonies swarm (possibly into  a neighbor’s house!) and the public’s desire  to preserve the honey bee have created  the need for beekeepers to also become  experienced in honey bee colony removals.

I read this book in an evening and came  away with great insight into how I can  improve my colony removal techniques.  If you read this book, have any skill working  with saws and tools, and have some  real beekeeping experience, you are already  on your way to becoming very capable  of removing a honey bee colony safely.

The text walks you through everything—  from effectively communicating with your  customer to gathering all the tools and  equipment you’ll need (including how to  make your own very effective bee vacuum).  The text then moves into an overview  of building construction so that you know  what to expect behind siding and sheetrock,  or under the roof. Always nice to  stay away from the wiring and plumbing!

There are also chapters on how to find  the nest in the first place—the specifics  of working from inside the structure,  from outside the structure, and other  special situations like columns, apartments  and trees.

How about more detail on how to  relocate the removed colony into your  own equipment? What to do with the  new hives? What to do with all your  new wax and honey? What about liability, litigation, and what to charge  for your services? It’s all here.

The great photos, lists, and years  of real-life lessons shared are invaluable.  The plans for Cindy’s bee vacuum  alone make this book a bargain.

If we are going to keep bees around our  neighbors and Mother Nature is going  to inspire them to swarm, we must become  capable as a beekeeping community  of removing them safely from structures  in our neighborhoods. All this so that  we may maintain the public’s confidence  that we are capable of safely managing bee  colonies and the swarms they throw off.

I not only strongly recommend reading  this book yourself, but also welcome your  referrals for honey bee colony removals.


Geoff can be contacted through

Editor’s Note: Honey Bee Removal will  be available on the web soon ( Until then, you can purchase  the book by mailing a check for $19.95 to:

Dawn Feagan
Bee Culture  A. I. Root
PO Box 706
Medina, Ohio 44258
[Questions? Call 800.289.7668, x3220]
Include a note to Dawn indicating  the name of the book, as well as your  mailing address.

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