You could walk right past and never know they were there. And they’d prefer it that way: That’s why some 50,000 bees built a hive inside an Avondale garage wall and lived there for years before the homeowner discovered them and contacted The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Now, thanks to a team of bee advocates who make it their jobs to give honeybees a fighting chance, they occupy a hive at the zoo, surrounded by a buffet of flora, beyond the reach of exterminators. Dirk and Lori Morgan, of Morgan’s Canoe Livery, handled the removal, gently suctioning up the adult bees and then literally cutting out the comb containing the brood (eggs, larvae, and young) from the wall.
Zoo Horticulturist Adam Martinez (pictured) is a full-time beekeeper, overseeing this colony as well as more than a dozen others on and off zoo grounds. Thanks to this very public effort, one 79-year-old Eden Park resident is next up on Morgan’s list for hive removal after she saw him on the news with the Avondale brood. She has co-existed with thousands of bees in her home’s wall for about 10 years—“I’ve never been stung except once,” she says—and now hopes that they’ll also find a permanent home at the zoo, because she doesn’t want to see the hive destroyed. “Do you like flowers?” she asks. “Or vegetables? Then we need those bees!”