Somewhere in the small city of Germantown, Tennessee, an unruly commotion could be heard emanating from within the walls of a woman’s home. The noise was unmistakable and alarming, too, so the homeowner knew that she would need the help of a professional. However, what this expert went on to uncover was unlike anything he’d come across before.
Old houses are, of course, prone to emitting ominous noises. Creaky floorboards, clanky radiators, squeaky door hinges – a variety of objects can create an unsettling soundtrack that might leave a home’s inhabitants on edge. But the sound from this particular property in Germantown had another source entirely.
Recognizing the nature of the din, the homeowner turned to a specialist she knew could handle the situation. Based in Bartlett, Tennessee, the expert’s name is David Glover. And he also goes by the name “The Bartlett Bee Whisperer.”
The homeowner had determined that the intense noise was, in fact, the sound of bees buzzing. So who better to call on to help deal with the problem than a self-professed bee whisperer? Glover’s jurisdiction at the time covered Tennessee and Mississippi, and hence he made his way to Germantown.
Glover is somewhat distinctive in his work in that he does not simply exterminate the bees he encounters. Instead, he attempts to relocate the insects, removing them from a person’s home but allowing them to live elsewhere. This is because Glover recognizes the importance of bees to our own survival.
According to the British Beekeepers Association, around a third of our food is dependent in some way on bees acting as pollinators. Pollination is important for producing foods that humans consume, such as apples and broccoli. And it’s also central to producing the food we give to the animals that we in turn then eat.
Pollination doesn’t occur exclusively as a result of the work of bees, though. The process also takes place with the help of other insects – as well as mammals, birds and even the wind. None of those agents, however, pollinate to the same degree as bees do. And yet these essential insects are under threat all over the world.
So, given the threat to bees, Glover works to protect the species rather than harm it. And in that spirit, he became the Bartlett Bee Whisperer, gaining years of experience in safely relocating bees and so enabling them to survive. Even with all his experience, though, what Glover saw in Germantown was still a surprise.
After reaching his destination, Glover examined the side of the house using infrared technology. The purpose of this procedure was to allow him to identify where within the wall the insects were situated. But even this scan couldn’t reveal the true size of the hive.
Then, though he was reluctant to follow the course of action, Glover realized that he would have to expose the hive in order to do his job. “I prefer to be minimally invasive when removing honey bees from buildings,” he wrote on Facebook in September 2018. “I don’t like taking out bricks.”
But with no other options left to his mind, Glover got to work. Carefully, one by one, he took away individual blocks from the wall. And after roughly 12 lines of them had been removed, the full scale of the hive was revealed.
Measuring a whopping approximately 3 feet by 5 feet, the newly exposed hive was estimated to be home to around 30,000 bees. In fact, Glover suspected that the natural structure had been there for a couple of years at least. Drawing on his knowledge, he based this timeframe on the color of the honeycomb.
“The white comb is the new comb, while the darker stuff is older,” Glover explained to Fox News in October 2018. “Thousands of tiny feet walking across it makes it darker.” Glover reckoned that the bees had managed to get into the wall by way of a weep hole – a gap between the bricks to allow for water drainage.
And in light of the dead bees littered around the hive, the “bee whisperer” suspected that an exterminator had previously attempted to eliminate the insects. Those efforts had apparently failed, however, because the chemicals employed hadn’t passed through the whole structure.
In any case, back in the present moment there was work to do. So, having investigated the beehive, Glover next set about removing it. Bit by bit, he carefully extracted the hive in sections from the wall. And although it took him in excess of four hours, eventually Glover finished the job.
It was work well done. “As much as I dreaded removing the bricks, the final view of the hive was awesome!” Glover wrote on Facebook. “The homeowner was more than pleased that we were able to remove and relocate the bees and their hive.”
Luckily, too, the beehive hadn’t been secured to the bricks all that firmly. This in turn meant that when it came to extracting the honeycomb, the operation didn’t take as long as Glover might have anticipated. But even so, it was still one of the largest hives that he’d ever dealt with.
With the bees and their hive now removed from the Germantown house, the question that remained, then, was what to do with them. After all, until a fixed location could be found for the insects, they would have to go somewhere. Thankfully, though, the Bartlett Bee Whisperer lived up to his reputation.
Glover in fact took the bees to his own garden, where they’ll remain until a proper new home can be identified for them. “[It] could be a farmer who needs them for pollination,” Glover explained to WMC. Or, perhaps, a honey producer who’s in need of the insects.
Yet whatever happens, Glover may well have saved the bees from possible elimination at the hands of an exterminator. And this turn of events is good news for everyone, as the more of these threatened insects there are in our world, the better. It seems, then, that we all perhaps owe a debt to the Bartlett Bee Whisperer.