TOPEKA, Kansas (WIBW) -- At its peak, 50,000 bees can inhabit a single colony. One Oakland residence is sharing their front yard with one.
Bees buzzing around the house can be annoying and scary, but beekeepers say grabbing a can of bug killer spray is not the best option.
Folks driving down Chandler Street in Oakland may have to yield - for something totally different. -- bees. Lots of bees.
Jose Tetuan lives at 526 NE Chandler and said Monday at 4 p.m. he saw a swarm of thousands of bees in the front yard. He described it as a little dark tornado.
"We couldn't even come out here in the front because it was so many bees!" Jose told us.
The Tetuans thought all the bees had left, but this morning discovered they had made their home inside the tree.
After talking to Mrs. Tetuan, the bees are a huge inconvenience to her family, because it's her grandkids' favorite tree to climb.
So 13 News made a call to local beekeeper Danny Meredith, who helped the Tetuans with their concerns, which was mostly avoiding a sting.
Meredith assured us all that bees don't sting unless they are bothered.
Jose said with the Fiesta Mexicana in Oakland coming up, he's worried the bees will be a problem because he has lots of family coming by and increased foot traffic.
So Danny got to work, donning his bee mask (and no gloves by the way) and his smoking equipment.
He usually removes bees if they are swarming onto something, like a tree branch, or a car or the side of a house. That's easy, but when a colony makes a home inside somewhere, that makes removal much harder.
"With the queen already being inside, they won't come out unless they bring the queen out," Meredith said. "If the queen is laying eggs, it's going to be really hard to get it out."
Meredith said the worker and drone bees' lives revolve entirely around their queen. He said he can easily suck many bees out with a vacuum, or smoke them out, but two times that many bees are still inside the tree. And if you remove those bees from the colony without the queen, they'll die.
The best option is "convincing" them all to move to a boxed hive.
"If I get it all smoked up nice they'll figure out the box is the better place to go."
Meredith said bees don't fly in the rain or the evening hours. He said either let nature run its course, and the bees will move to another location when the colony becomes too large, or --
"Call a beekeeper," Meredith said. "They will come out and they'll take care of them. Otherwise a lot will cal people that do exterminating and they'll kill them. That's not what we want. The beekeepers want to maintain the population of honeybees. It's that bad right now. These bees are very, very important to the ecological system to help regenerate plants."
Meredith said in recent years, colony counts are decreasing. This year the decrease was due to a harsh winter.
If you have a bee problem, an option is to call a local beekeeper.
Topeka Animal Control gave us a list of local beekeepers:
Danny Meredith - 785.862-1641
Stuart and Nita Deitz - 785.969.6110, 785.304.5905
Richard and Dorothy Marsh - 785.582.4232
Ed Smith - 785.887.6162
Geiber - 785.267.0320
Harland McGee - 785.234.6534
Mark Fitzgerald (Meriden, KS) - 785.383.4183
Paul Ramirez - 785.354.8936
Steve Tipton - 785.484.3710
Tim Weinbeck - 785.478.9431
Mike Butler - 785.806.4397
Alex Pantos - 785.640.0002
Andrew Hare - 913.231.9671