Honeybees in Walls Cost $12K to Remove

It took a week to extract the enormous number of bees — 450,000! — and fix the damage to the home.

A newly purchased Pennsylvania home came with one major, expensive surprise for new homeowners Sara Weaver and her husband: an estimated 450,000 honeybees living behind the home’s walls, according to CNN. It reportedly cost close to $12,000 to relocate the bees from the 1872 farmhouse in Skippack, Pennsylvania, to a honey farm and fix the damage to the walls.

The house is currently being rented, and the tenants noticed a few bees in spring, according to CNN. The homeowners told CNN they did not do a home inspection before purchasing the property — something many homeowners nationwide are foregoing in a hot housing market.

Weaver told CNN the seller’s disclosure noted only “bees in walls” and she didn’t inquire further about it.

“I think because one, we didn’t see them and two, we were just so floored that we actually found land in the (school) district that was within our price range that I didn’t really ask any questions about those bees,” Weaver told CNN. “I didn’t think it would be that big of an issue. It didn’t even cross my mind but when spring arrived that’s when we started to see them.”

According to CNN, the Weavers hired a nearby professional general contractor who is also a beekeeper to make the repairs. It took a week to remove every tile in the areas the bees were found.

It’s believed the bees have been in the walls for 35 years, and contractor said he’s familiar with the problem. He told CNN the previous homeowner contacted him four years ago but couldn’t afford to remove the bees. She chose to sell the home instead.

Did you know some old homes have a beehive built into a wall? Up until recently, beehives were a part of the architecture of mountain homes in the Himalaya Mountains of Northwest India, built into the thick outside walls. The practice is called “wall beekeeping.”

“Traditionally wild colonies of bees found the hive themselves, or farmers brought a log with a hive in it from the surrounding forest so the inhabitants could set up shop in the village and produce honey for their human caretakers,” Christina Selby told Vox.

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Alex Shoemaker
Alex is an avid DIYer but had little experience before purchasing his first home in 2019. A Family Handyman subscription was one of his first purchases after becoming a homeowner, and he's been hooked ever since. When he’s not working, he can be found fixing up his 1940s Florida home or relaxing on the beach with his family.