About 6,000 bees – for sure – removed from Omaha home | Home & Garden

Thomas and Marylu Gouttierre planted bee-friendly flowers on their Midtown property to attract and feed important pollinators.

They just didn’t expect that they would move into their house, too.

“If you put your ears against the wall, you could hear the buzz,” said Thomas Gouttierre, dean of international studies and programs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha from 1974 to 2015. He was also director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies.

Taking advantage of the Gouttierre house’s unusual exterior, bees entered through a hole in the mortar. Part of the house is covered with clinker bricks, which were fired in kilns and have become rare. This type of brick makes it harder to spot repairs that may be needed.

The bees had only just begun to make a new home for themselves between the exterior and the plaster and batten walls of a second-story bedroom in the 100-year-old house.

There were an estimated 6,000 bees in the wall.


The Gouttierres only realized it when they saw a large cluster of bees flying outside their kitchen window and the one in the bedroom above. Further investigation revealed about 30 bees in the second floor room, likely coming in through an old heat register.

People also read…

The pair never freaked out. They just closed the bedroom door and considered their next move.

“Our first thought was, should we call an exterminator,” Gouttierre said. “But we’ve read and there’s a lot of great shows on PBS ‘Nature’ about how important bees are to pollinating the world we live in.”

So instead they contacted Gilly’s Gold’s Ryan Gilligan and Countryside Acres Aviary’s Larry Cottle to remove the bees and move them to a better place. Both are members of the Omaha Bee Club.

Gouttierre said it only took them a few hours to drill a hole in the wall and carefully suck the bees into a box for transport.

“Lo and behold, there were three perfectly formed crests, maybe about 2 inches thick and maybe about 9 inches in diameter,” Gouttierre said. “If you’ve ever seen these, it’s remarkable. Every little space in the ridge is made up of perfectly engineered hexagonal shapes.”

The couple even got to taste some of the honey.

Bee Story6.jpg

Some of the combs found in the walls of the Gouttierre house.


Gilligan said there were about 6,000 bees in the wall. The last house he had had 15,000. He has been removing them from houses, apartments, barns and trees for the past seven years.

“Larry sawed off the square. He’s really good with the multi-tool to make the cuts,” Gilligan said. “I’ll go in and do the removal of the bees.”

Cottle brought the bees home to his acreage. The two men charged $600 for the procedure, which Gilligan says went smoothly.

Gouttierre said it was a fascinating adventure and a story that he was happy to share with friends and family.

“I think in the long run we’ve come to appreciate the value of bees all the more,” he said, “and their importance in the pollination process and all the things insects can do to help us eat.”

marjie.ducey@owh.com, 402-444-1034, twitter.com/mduceyowh


Leave a Comment