Some years ago, I noticed swarms of bees around the back corner of our house every morning when I opened the window blinds. We watched them for a few weeks, and upon closer inspection, we discovered that the bees were going under the siding on our house, where it overlapped the brick. They left every morning in a great exodus and they returned throughout the day in a steady stream, and then returned in a swarm about dusk. About the same time, I discovered a discoloration in the corner of the ceiling in my guest bedroom downstairs. At first, I thought it was a water leak, but it was darker and seemed sticky. It took a few weeks for the realization to set in; we were infested with bees.
The pest control people wanted to kill all the bees, but we couldn't let that happen, so we located a bee keeper, who would remove the bees and take them to a hive far away.
He came with his "bee vacuum", his gloves and hat veil, and his smoker. First, he had to expose the bees. It had been determined that they were located in the space between the upstairs master bedroom floor and the ceiling of the guest bedroom below. He moved the furniture, peeled back the carpet, removed 2 layers of subfloor and lo and behold, there was honey as far as the eye could see, and the hum of the bees was so loud you could hear it 15 feet away! The joists were 7-8" deep and the bees had built between the sections of joists about 5 feet square in all.
The smoker makes the bees sort of sleepy, and they won't attack. After he "smokes" them sufficiently, he uses his specially altered vacuum cleaner to suck up the bees into a vented box, which he uses to transport the bees to their new hives. He knows approximately how many bees he is able to get, because the box is supposed to hold 90,000 bees. Believe it or not, when he finished with our house, he had over 300,000 bees, in 3 boxes.
Then came honey removal. This honey was very dark - almost mahogany colored - and very bitter. The bee man said it was because of the types of pollen they gathered. He removed five, 5 gallon buckets of honey, and sad to say, none of it could be eaten. The honey was so heavy; it is a wonder that the ceiling downstairs didn't cave in with the weight of it.
He replaced the subfloor and the carpet, and he caulked the opening outside along the siding where the bees had first gained entry. We thought that would be the last of the bees. Boy, were we wrong.
Four or five years later, it became obvious that bees had once again found an opening into the subfloor. The bee man explained that once the honey had penetrated the surfaces, no matter how well it was removed and cleaned, a residue of honey would always remain for bees to smell. This time there were many fewer bees and much less honey to deal with, since we had noticed them early on in the process. We had to go through the removal process again, and though it was easier this time, it was still a hassle, not to mention the expense. The newest point of entry was located, and it was behind a downspout. That was an area that the bee man had not been able to get the caulking into the first time, due to the awkward position. But this time, he forced it in. So far, we have not been infested again - but from time to time - I see bees investigating the area. We sure do hope they don't find their way into the house again.
Note: my husband says I made an error. The bee boxes each hold 25,000 bees and we had 4 boxes, for a total of about 100k.