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Barb North and her husband Steve have the perfect Woodland Hills backyard for entertaining?lush, green, complete with a pool and Jacuzzi. Little did they know they were hosting 8,000 uninvited guests.
Barb North and her husband Steve have the perfect Woodland Hills backyard for entertaining—lush, green, complete with a pool and Jacuzzi.
Little did they know they were hosting 8,000 uninvited guests.
The first clue came three weeks ago when dead bees began piling up around their pool deck. After some sleuthing, along with local beekeeper Keith Roberts, they made a shocking discovery: a massive four-by-two foot, 100-pound hive high in a backyard tree.
"It's very unusual to see a hive like this anywhere," said Roberts, owner of Enterprising Bee Company. "This is a considerable hive."
The bees, identified by Roberts as typical honey bees, were not aggressive but the Norths agreed it was time for the guests to go.
"I couldn't believe it, that there would be that many bees," said Steve North. "You can see all these honeycombs and some bees on it and it was really freaky."
Roberts said the North's tree provided the perfect location—high away from predators, shaded from the sun, and covered with branches and vines for protection. Plus the pool provided water the bees could use to keep their nest cool in the summer.
"This location is probably the best choice ever," Roberts said. "It probably couldn't be more inconvenient for me."
Even though it may have been there for nearly 8 months, the North's say they never noticed their new guests.
"It's really bizarre, because we've had absolutely nothing that led us to believe there were bees on our property," Barb North said.
While the bees are a bit unnerving, the Norths didn't want to exterminate them.
"It's a weird thing," said Barb North. "We don't want to kill bees because bees are supposed to be our friends but they're also like really spooky to me because I don't want to get stung."
On Saturday, Roberts plans to extract the nest, carefully persevering the honeycomb and brood comb where the queen lays her eggs—up to 2,000 in one day during the summer.
The Norths said it will cost about $400 for the nearly 7-hour removal, which they are splitting with their neighbor. Roberts said he plans to take the hive to his orchard in the San Fernando Valley, where they will enjoy wide open spaces.
Barb North said she will be glad to see them go.
"I don't feel like we should be housing 2,000 babies every day," North joked. "That's too Octomomish for me."