Home or hive? Woman lived with hulking bee colony for decades

AUSTIN She s lived with bees her whole life, but one Austin woman has said when it comes to her buzzing roommates, enough is enough.

Lillian Johnson has lived off East Manor Road in a green house with white trim for all 41 years of her life. Unfortunately, so have nearly a quarter million honeybees. Last month, after being stung for the 20th time, she feared for her five-month-old son and decided it was time for the bees to go.

Cost of removal starts at $200, which was too high for Johnson s budget. An extermination crew offered to do the job for $150, but Walter Schumacher with Central Texas Bee Rescue saidhe would take care of Johnson s giant in house hive for a mere $100.

The self-taught bee wrangler uses smokers, saws, and a special bond to relocate bees.

Idon't intend to cause them any pain, Johnson said. Somehow they don't sting me because of that.

Rooftop recon showed a honey factory of epic proportions. Inside, wranglers uncovered a hive housing nearly a quarter million honey bees. Several combs dripping with honey grew nearly eight feet tall and a yard across.

Schumacher gently removed the bee's home. With hives stored, wranglers vacuum the bees and take them to an apiary, or bee farm, in Hays County.


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