ABITA SPRINGS, LA (WVUE) - A North Shore Vietnam veteran made a bizarre discovery as he prepared to sell his home. He found thousands of live bees between his first and second floors and didn't know where to go for help.
"There right below that window under the floor," said Ken Morse, pointing to some bees entering his home through a crack.
Morse said he's trying to fix up the house to sell, and an internet search led to Jeff Horchoff, a retired mailman who now has a new vocation - bees.
"You always dreamed that when you retire you'll be active. Well, trust me," said Horchoff.
He goes in where few others would, armed with a portable beehive and bee sensor.
"All right let's do some wrangling," said Horchoff.
He exposes the wood floor, install's handles and cuts out a 2-foot section of floor joist. With a little muscle, a beehive containing more than 10,000 bees is discovered in the upstairs floor of Morse's Abita Springs home.
"See how the bees are gathering over there? I think the queen is over there already," said Horchoff.
Horchoff carefully vacuums the bees into the makeshift hive he brought. After 45 minutes, he still must deal with a few stragglers, but he's got a secret weapon. He has captured the queen in a small plastic vessel and allows her to do the rest of the work.
"That's what I call some aggressive bees," Horchoff said.
From Abita Springs, the bees are brought to a location near Bush to replenish a population on the decline. For Horchoff, it's all in a day's work
"He's got 300 acres here and he always just wants to have bees on it," said Horchoff.
Now Morse can get on with the business of selling his home.
"I'm happy they been cleaned out unharmed and going to a place where they can live their lives happily," he said.
Horchoff said he conducts 30 of these types of operations every year. Though he says local bee populations have declined, he said with efforts like these they are being restored at St. Joseph's Abbey, where he runs the bee program with the help of Julien Lane Jr. and the River Region Bee club.