By Jennifer Brice

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – A homeowner in Boulder noticed some bees outside her window. Then she discovered thousands more were living inside her walls.

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It takes only a small space for a swarm of bees to make their way into a home during bee season.

(credit; CBS)

(credit; CBS)

“It was a swarm of bees,” said Ericka Mansfield.

That’s what she saw outside her living room window. She discovered it was a tiny, un-caulked crack of 3/8th of an inch that allowed the bees inside and behind the drywall.

Mansfield’s first call was to an exterminator.

(credit; CBS)

(credit; CBS)

“They said, ‘We don’t deal with bees, they’re protected,'” she said. “‘You have to call a beekeeper, we’re (exterminators) are not allowed to come out and get rid of bees.'”

“Spring is swarm season,“ said beekeeper Don Studiniski of Honeybee Keep.

(credit; CBS)

(credit; CBS)

Beekeepers say each year, nationwide, 30 to 40 percent of bees critical to the environment are lost. Keeping the colonies are how more are made. They recommend homeowners call a beekeeper to remove a problem from a home.

Studiniski went into Mansfield’s home with a thermal camera to pinpoint the bees behind the drywall. He then opened up the walls and found thousands of bees and combs.

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(credit; CBS)

(credit; CBS)

“There was probably eight combs the size of a dinner plate, and 30,000 to 40,000 bees,” he said.

Studiniski says it’s important to remove bees the right way with the combs otherwise the smell of honey and wax will attract more bees and other insects, creating an ongoing problem.

(credit; CBS)

(credit; CBS)

Mansfield also learned insurance won’t pick up the tab to the tune of several thousand dollars.

“They don’t cover animals and insects,” she said.

The best advice for homeowners is to survey their home before springtime and see what areas may need caulking.

LINK: Honeybee Keep

Additional Information

Residents who would like a swarm removed can call the Swarm Removal Hotline at (844) SPY-BEES or (844) 779-2337. A beekeeper will come safely remove the bees for free and help them set up a new hive.

Here’s a good site to educate yourself on how to take care and prevent bee infestations: coloradobeekeepers.org

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Jennifer Brice is a reporter with CBS4 focusing on crime and courts. Follow her on Facebook or on Twitter @CBS4Jenn.