Kalamazoo College was "buzzing" Wednesday morning, as local beekeepers had to remove a massive hive from under the roof of an older building. The home, one of the college's "Grove Houses" for honors students, was built in the 1930s and originally used for faculty housing.
It is estimated that 40,000 bees occupied the hive, which has been in the building about 10 years.
They used a smoker to calm the bees and to mask the pheromones released by the dying guard bees. Once that wave of bees had been calmed or vacuumed up, live, into a container, the remaining bees were docile as the honey combs were carefully lifted out of the section of roof that had been cut away for access.
"We've got genetics here that have survived a couple of horrendous winters. We'll use them to breed with other bees."
The college's decision to call save the bees was praised. Bees have been dying at alarming rates from a variety of causes, including parasites, exposure to chemicals, poor nutrition and harsh weather.
"Bees are so threatened everywhere, the best thing to do is hire someone who can come out and move bees and put them in business somewhere else.
Although the bees had been a nuisance to students living in the house, the grounds people will be sorry to see them go, because there are many pollinator and vegetable gardens that have been served by the bees.
Kalamazoo College mascot Buzz the hornet was not present Wednesday.
For information on safely moving bees, contact EHS Pest Control in Norwood.