You see, when we bought the house it had two active honeybee hives in it. The first was under the juliet balcony, and the second was in one of the hollow brick columns that supports the second floor balcony. I'll give you one guess which hive we were able to save. The head of the urban apiary here in Pittsburgh was able to come out to take care of both hives, charging us only what it cost him to buy a new hive setup. Sadly, there was no way to get into the second hive, so those bees couldn't be saved. What most people don't realize when they go out to kill bees is that A. it's frowned upon unless there's no other option, and B. killing the bees won't solve the problem long term. The honey that remains in the hive, in addition to rotting and ruining any woodwork that may be near by, also attracts other insects, and even years later, continues to attract other honeybees. Despite caulking the gap (the previous owner used foam, which held water and rotted the wood, not to mention bees will chew through it), both years we've had multiple swarms try to recolonize the hive. Today's was the biggest by far, the noise it generates is intense - despite this, we've never been stung any of the times we've had to deal with it.
We couldn't get a hold of anyone quickly enough today, so I made the executive decision to get rid of the swarm with the soapy water treatment (recommended by the beekeeper we worked with) - lots of dish soap mixed with hot water dumped on the swarm, kills instantly. There are still lots of strays milling about, but not enough to be a long term issue. Still, it has not been a good couple of days for the wildlife on our little half acre, a pet finch, a groundhog, a vole and 30,000 bees. And here I thought I was an animal lover . . .