The colony’s size astounded even Elisha Bixler, the professional beekeeper whom the couple, Stefanie and Dan Graham of St. Petersburg, Florida, had enlisted to get them out of the sticky situation.
“There was honey everywhere: walls, floor, on my shoes, doorknobs,” Bixler recounted in an interview Wednesday. “I had to pull the wall down to the studs to get all of the comb out.”
She estimated there were about 80,000 bees and 100 pounds of honey when she removed the 7-foot-tall hive in early November after prying away the bathroom tiles. The discovery was reported earlier by the Tampa Bay television station FOX 13.
Bixler, 38, the owner of How’s Your Day Honey, said she had to put down plastic coverings to try to contain the mess.
Knowing something was amiss, the Grahams contacted Bixler in October. It was not the family’s first bee episode at their three-story wood-frame beach house, which sits on stilts.
Two to three years ago, Stefanie Graham said on Wednesday, her husband ripped open the wall in the same bathroom and removed a giant hive. Since then, they had work done on their roof, which Graham said left some holes — an entranceway for the bees to return.
The couple, their two children and two Great Danes had learned to coexist with their houseguests, despite occasional bee stings.