Mark and Amy Jones discovered their home in Concord, N.C., had 60,000 clandestine tenants living rent-free — but instead of taking the squatters to court, they found them new accommodations.
Acting on a report from their tenant that the 100-year-old home had honey oozing from a wall in a vacant upstairs bedroom, the couple did a little detective work and discovered a massive honeybee haven 2 feet wide and 6 feet long, nestled into the wall.
“The honey was seeping out of the wall,” Mark Jones told Matt Lauer on TODAY. “I actually tasted it. I heard the buzzing in the wall — it was obvious that it looked like honey, smelled like honey, tasted like honey.”
Mark admitted the renter “was a little nervous about that.” But the Joneses, married for three years, were adamant that the bees weren’t to receive a death sentence. “Bees are pretty important to the environment when it comes to pollination and things like that, so we didn’t feel that we should kill them,” Mark said.
So instead, the Joneses contacted the Mecklenburg County Beekeepers Association, whose members managed to clear the swarming masses out and relocate them into nature. Amy Jones told Lauer: “They came in and vacuumed them out of the wall, they collected them in a bucket and they got beehives so they introduced them into their hives.”
‘A little crack’
Amy explained that the cause of the infestation was a remodeling job on the house. She originally bought the home in 2003, and the couple lived in it for a year as newlyweds before turning it into a rental property.
All it took was “a little crack” of opportunity for the bees to make a home in the Jones place, she said. “We had new siding and windows put in a year back and they didn’t do the best job, so they got in there,” Amy says.
Though many folks might go running from the house like characters in a bad disaster movie, the couple remained calm while taking part in the removal process. Amy even declined to wear a beekeeper’s veil and suit, instead wielding her video camera to capture the bizarre event.
Mark told Lauer: “There was never any problem or any threat to anyone. It was just the fact that honey was coming out of the wall. They could have stayed there.”
He added: “The bees never attacked, never got angry, which I totally thought they would. It was crazy to watch. It took them about an hour and a half to get them all out.”
A taste of honey
While the couple is out the $400 it cost to tear down and repair the wall the bees had made their home behind, they did get to collect the spoils of the process. Needless to say, the Joneses won’t have any shortage of honey in their home in the foreseeable future.
The couple even toted some of the sticky stuff to New York City for their appearance on TODAY, and offered Lauer a taste.
“That’s some pretty good honey,” Lauer said, licking his finger.
Mark Jones added the bees were able to live as rent-free tenants in the home for nearly three years because the bedroom went largely unused during that period.
“It went on for so long because no one was using that bedroom,” he said. “I mean, you couldn’t sleep in that room and not hear the bees buzzing. It was really loud.”