Huge attic bee hive falls through bathroom ceiling

Redditor Underdog106 found a huge beehive in his attic and called for a beekeeper to help him with it. Before the keeper arrived, the hive actually fell through the attic into his bathroom below -- the previous owners had used 1/4" sheetrock for the bathroom ceiling -- and split open. The accompanying photoset documents the sad and weird business of trying to save the colony and get it packed for shipping, amid a great ooze of honey and comb spread all over the bathroom.

Jerry the bee keeper was supposed to come today at 5pm. It was a very warm day in Columbia. The bee hive was heavy and the structure detached and fell through the ceiling. It turns out the old owners of the house used 1/4 inch sheet rock for the ceiling in the bathroom. Which is absurd and ridiculous. Jerry came as soon as he could, and he drove an entire hour to get here. The hive fell 3 hours before he was supposed to come today. What are the odds? Seriously. What are the F%^$KING ODDS. But all is well.

Most of the hive fell. As you can see. But we were still able to save around 12,000 out of the estimated 30,000 bee hive.

I have been noticing bees in my apartment for a few weeks now. Finally decided to check the attic. And yes. That is a full on colony. It was a huge adrenaline rush when I recognized what I was looking at. [UPDATE] And seriously, you will not believe this. (


  1. Holy nightmare. “Enjoy your new house-sized beehive” I would say, to the bees, over my shoulder, while running through an absurdly thin wall to another country altogether.

    1. I was in the Target garden center a couple of years ago when this middle-aged man ran down the aisle, shrieking at the top of his lungs. He saw a bee. He wasn’t stung. There was no swarm. He just saw a bee.

      I stick my face right into a cloud of bees every day when I water my Vitex. They never pay me the slightest attention.

      1. They rarely sting me either, so I used to tell everybody that it was their own behavior that was getting them stung.

        Then a couple years ago a papermaker wasp came zooming down out of a clear blue sky and stung my daughter a couple millimeters from her eye, which is just about the worst place to get stung.  My entomologist spouse watched it happen, absolutely no provocation at all and the wasp flew at least 30 feet before it hit her.

        Now I am no longer considered credible on the subject of stinging insects.

        1. We have paper wasps here which land in pools to get water for their construction projects. They never bother anyone, but new people usually freak out about wasps landing on the water all around them when they’re swimming.

  2. locate the queen!  put her and some comb into a box (a hive if handy (if not, with a smallish gap)) then wait a bit; honeybees’ll sort themselves out.   oh, and figure out how they were getting in from the outside, and close it up, because it’ll happen again once the squirrels sell the information.

  3. Ohmygod…bee swarm flashback.

    Let’s just say it involved a twelve-year old me, the wild growth of rural Crystal River, Florida, and the sudden urge to poop.

    Oh, and a beehive.

    1. “”Never get out of the boat.” Absolutely goddamn right! Unless you were goin’ all the way…”

  4. Yay for hive rescue and not just getting a big can of Raid and freaking out! Honeybees need all the help and care we can give them until we get this nebulous CCD under control. 

    1.  Agreed–it was a good deed for the homeowner to call a beekeeper rather than an exterminator. I’m an amateur beekeeper myself and have moved hives out of buildings for friends and family. It’s a lot more work than the can of raid. And keeping feral hives such as this one is one possible solution to the CCD question. Feral colonies may have better genetics.

  5. I just had my roof replaced, and was a little annoyed that there were some rotten beams that had to be taken out and replaced. I’m going to stop complaining now.

    In fact I’ll take this as a perfect excuse to go back and re-read the short story “Critical Mass” by Arthur C. Clarke. 

    1.  I’m rebuilding my bathroom, and I’ve found the remains of a honeybee infestation at least ten feet long under the floor.  The beams and planks have these thick hexagonal wax formations all over them, it’s really quite interesting (especially since the bees have been gone for decades).

  6. Yikes!!!!!!!!!!
    Well, now we know where all the bees went. Everybody, check your attics.

    Also, someone here better have the mother of all unicorn chasers after that. Just sayin’.

  7. Terrifying to be living under such a large hive, but thankfully everyone is alright. And good on the people for taking the steps to save the bee hive, i thought that was very kind.

  8. “1/4 inch sheet rock for the ceiling in the bathroom. Which is absurd and ridiculous.” Why so? Sure there are much better materials for humid rooms, but a minimal thickness of plasterboard and a light skim seems entirely normal.

    1.  Well, if you have teenagers, you know that they can break stuff easily without even trying.  I can easily see a scenario where someone is singing into a curling iron, starts twirling it by the cord as if it’s a mic, and hits the ceiling poking a hole in it.  There’s already too much disposable stuff in this country that having a disposable ceiling is really not needed.

    2.  It’s perfectly normal, actually. Most bathroom ceilings and walls are built the same as the rest of the house. It would be absurd and ridiculous if there wasn’t any joists in addition to the drywall.

      1. It’s not the fact that it’s drywall, it’s the fact that it’s only 1/4 inch drywall.  1/2 inch is standard, and quality builders us 5/8ths for ceilings. 1/4 inch drywall is meant as a quick cover for slightly damaged walls or for use on curved walls.  It’s very flimsy stuff, designed to be literally flexible.

        1. Not a pro here, but have done plenty of drywall in my time…I couldn’t imagine using 1/4″ drywall for a ceiling…I was in fact unaware there was even such a thing.

      2. It depends on where the house is I suppose. I have an uncle who worked as a construction foreman for decades. Started out in New York then moved down to the Carolinas  He was shocked to see how they were building houses down there.  A four inch thick pad of Styrofoam block for insulation with 1/4 inch drywall for the interior and aluminum siding attached directly to the frame on the exterior. No tar paper or ply wood to seal up the house. Prefab aluminum framing sections replaced 2x4s for anything that wasn’t load bearing. He often commented that he could cut his way into any house with just a putty knife. Up in New York that wouldn’t have passed code for even a temp structure, and noone down south was building anything differently. 

    3. Why so?

      Because gyp board is fireproofing, and codes for thickness vary based on probable fire scenarios.  For example, garages require thicker gyp board because they’re built to contain flammable liquids and batteries.

    1. Off the bathroom floor?

      The bees are gone but he is going to have an ant problem.

  9. I’m just picturing sitting there, playing Angry Birds, and having that come down in my lap.  Man…  You thought *you* had a bad day…

    1. My thoughts as well – “wow, this guys is lucky that he found out about this *before* it fell through and had enough sense to stay out of that room”.  I couldn’t even imagine finding out about this the other way, I’d be scarred (possibly literally) for life.

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