Recently, I was out in my backyard filling my bird feeders when I glanced up at our owl box. We put the nesting box up in one of our trees several years ago, and finally, last year we had some wonderful Screech Owls that nested in it. It was so fun to watch the parents fly in and out of the box feeding the babies. We watched them growing up, learning how to fly in our backyard, until finally, they left the safety of the owl box.
I spent so many hours watching the Screech Owls. It was very exciting. I wrote all about the adventure in my blog post called Harry, Hermione, a Backyard Owl Rescue, and Some Really Cute Baby Owls….
We haven’t had any visitors to the nesting box since our first little owl family, but I glance up at the owl box every now and then just to make sure I’m not missing anything. Last week, when I looked up there, it seemed as though the entrance to my owl box was rotting. It looked black and very strange.
Because of my old eyes, I couldn’t tell what was happening, but when I looked at it closer with binoculars, I was shocked at what I saw. The owl box was not rotting.
My owl house was covered with honey bees. Honey Bees! In my owl box? Whoever heard of such a thing. Of course, being a photographer and a nature nerd all in one, the first thing I did was grab my camera to capture some pictures of what was happening.
I took a few photos thinking this might not last and I should get pictures while the bees are still here. They were probably just visiting or taking a rest in the owl box on the way to their bee hive.
As I’m writing this blog post, the bees have been in my owl box for over a week (maybe more since I don’t know exactly when they got here). I’m totally intrigued by the bees and how busy they are. I understand the phrase “busy as a bee” now after watching them.
As the days go on, the hive of bees just keeps growing. What I wouldn’t do to have a camera on the inside of this crazy hive! They just keep moving out farther from the entrance to the owl box. I sure would love to get closer, but I don’t want to upset them and have them turn on me.
So far, they mind their own business and leave us alone. Even when we’re splashing about like crazy people in the pool. They don’t even seem to notice us. I keep waiting to see some yummy honey dripping down the side of the owl box. That would certainly be cool!
I haven’t decided what to do about them. If anything, I guess I’ll call a bee keeper out to remove the owl box and the bees. I’ve read that the best thing to do is have them take the bees in the owl box and let them keep it as their home for the time being.
Or maybe I’ll just leave the owl box where it is and see what happens. Wouldn’t it be fun to see some honey dripping down from my owl box?? They don’t seem to be bothered by anything that’s going on in my yard.
I have lots of birds flying in and out to my bird feeders, and as I said earlier the kids are always making lots of noise in the pool. But those bees are hard at work and don’t seem to be the least bit distracted by all the things going on around them.
I’ve read a lot about this problem on the Internet, and it seems this is quite common. There are conflicting ideas on how to handle this situation too. So, what should I do with the hive I have in my owl box? Hmmm…
Here are the choices I’m Considering:
- Call a service that removes and relocates bee hives. Seems like if this is my plan, it’s better to do it early. Once they start making honey, the owl box can get very heavy. And because my owl box is up pretty high in a tree, it might be a bit more expensive.
- Embrace the swarm of bees and leave them alone to do their thing. I mean, it is pretty cool to watch them throughout the day. And so far, they are not bothering us at all.
- Set out a more attractive space for the bees – similar to the owl box but with a smaller entrance. If I place it low enough, it will be much easier to have it removed without anyone (including the bees) getting hurt.
- I’m not sure I’m interested in having bees in my yard permanently, but I guess I could put out a traditional hive box. They can move to their new home, and then my owl house will be cleared out and ready for an owl family to move back in.
- Continue to monitor what is happening out there in my owl box and take pictures as things change.
At this point, I’m probably going to stick with option #5. It’s kind of fun to go out each morning to see if anything has changed. So far, the mob of bees just seems to get a little bigger. That might not be the case, but I think they are getting crowded out, because more of them seem to be on the outside of the owl box rather than on the inside.
I think it might be smart for me to read up on this whole bee hive in the owl box thing just so I’m not surprised by anything strange or dangerous. I’ll let you know what I find out. For now, I’ll just update this post as things progress.
Do you have any experience with bee hives? If so, let me know! If you have anything exciting that you need photographed, you can find me and my camera over at Paula Mason Photography! I’d be happy to help you out with pictures.
Until next time…