Summer "Buzz" at Dewitt Place Off-Campus Housing

Summer in Ithaca is typically peaceful, but we’ve had quite the “buzz” around our collegetown apartments this year.

In June, our staff discovered that there were lots of bees flying in and out of the siding at 109 Dewitt Place. After many calls trying to find an expert on bees, we were able to get in touch with Jason Hamilton, a professor at Ithaca College. Once he took a look, it was clear to Jason that honey bees were creating a hive in the walls.

After further investigation, Jason discovered that we in fact had two separate hives about 30 feet apart from one another. At our recommendation to remove them, Jason came up with a strategy to safely extract the bees from the house. He explained that when extracting the hives, it is essential to get the queen bee out in order for the rest of the bees to leave the hive.

On the day of extraction, Jason came back with a team of students from Ithaca College, fully equipped with bee suits and gear, to help us remove the hives from the house. To get to the hives, we had to cut holes in the walls and ceilings of the apartments. A special vacuum was used so that the bees could be safely removed and relocated to another hive elsewhere. To preserve all of the honey, Jason carefully placed the good parts of the comb that contained the honey into a bucket.

Once the hives were fully extracted, our staff worked hard to repair all of the holes that were made from removing the hives. In the past, we have had to do normal cleaning and maintenance between changeovers, but we’ve never had to sponge honey off the walls and floors!

We were extremely fortunate to work with Jason and the Ithaca College students in order to handle this rare circumstance in one of our Ithaca rentals. Our extremely accommodating tenants were quite intrigued by the extraction. We took several videos and photos of the process and are excited to share them.

Jason is sending us some honey that we plan to share with the tenants. PJ Apartments would like to thank our tenants and everyone involved with this extraordinary situation. This could “bee” one of our most intriguing stories thus far.

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