Beekeeper draws crowd removing honey bee hive from downtown Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Downtown Roanoke was a-buzz with activity Monday morning.
Eyes toward the sky, spectators watched as a large bee hive was cut off of the face of a building.

Above the intersection of First and Kirk in downtown Roanoke a colony of honey bees was already hard at work.

But down below, the work was just beginning.

The manager of the building in question, Glenn Gilmer, said. he didn't realize there was a massive hive clinging to the face of his building. It wasn't until a few members of the colony made their way inside the apartment below.

"And we hadn't noticed it because you typically don't look up there when you're walking past the building," he said.

That was nine weeks ago. The hive doubled in size. It took Gilmer some time to work out a solution, but he made some calls and arranged for a beekeeper to safely remove and relocate the nest.

He's familiar with the process because they've been here before.

"I think it was May of 2017, and it was a lot smaller," he said of the former hive. "I think we caught it sooner."

He made some calls to the city and made sure the street below was safe for the removal.

"Better safe than sorry."

He figured some folks would want to stick around and watch the process.

"Yeah I have nothing else to do this morning," said Celeste Delgado-Liberero watching from below. "I mean i have tons tot do but nothing pressing."

Dozens of others joined Delgado-Liberero in intervals across the street.
They watched from below as the beekeeper prepped his tools, donned his gear, and aimed for the hive.

But then, beekeeper Jerry Borger calls out "Is that as high as we go?"

They discovered the lift wasn't high enough to reach the hive!

"Aww!" said Delgado-Liberero, lowering her phone from the spectacle. "Oh bummer!"

Gilmer made some calls while everyone waited patiently.

Eventually, he found a solution.

"Bigger lift is on the way!" he announced to the crowd gathered.

"Yes!" replied Delgado-Liberero.

She took a break and returned home. And after an hour a bigger lift arrived, lifting Borger to the bees and the honey comb he came to rescue. Delicately, he vacuumed the bees into a special box and sliced away at the exposed comb, storing it in special boxes. He said he planned to take bees and comb to a new safe spot in his personal apiary in the New River Valley. Much to the delight of onlookers below the process was mesmerizing.

"This is really different, really special,' said Delgado-Liberero. "And i think it's a great opportunity."