Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 36

Georgians AT WORK By H.M. Cauley
Meet Dale Richter,
bee removal specialist
A
lbany resident Dale Richter's lifelong enthusiasm for bees began
when he was 5 and tended hives alongside his grandfather in
Leesburg. About 11 years ago, he went beyond selling honey and mentoring
new beekeepers when he was called in to contain Georgia's first known
swarm of killer bees.
First responders enlisted help from Richter after the bees killed a
Dougherty County man who disturbed their hive. Since then, Richter, 66,
switched from being a roofing contractor to becoming the answer to " who
ya gonna call? " when something's swarming inside or outside the house.
Armed with a thermal imaging camera, Richter's The Buzz Fuzz bee
removal service can pinpoint where the winged creatures are lurking and
how big the colony is in about 10 seconds. He's found them in walls,
doghouses, kids' playhouses, floors and tractor engines.
" It's crazy the places bees will go, " he says.
" They send out 'Realtor' bees-I call them that
because my wife is a Realtor-and once they
find a cavity or opening, they all move in and
eat out the space. I've found them in 2-by2-foot
areas and once [in a wall] from a ceiling
to the floor and 4 feet across. "
Queen bees lay more than 2,000 eggs per
day, so once a colony gets started, it multiplies
quickly. In houses, Richter will cut open the
space around them and suck the bees out with
a vacuum cleaner redesigned to include a cage
to contain them. He also clears out any honey
and debris and refills the space with insulation.
The honeybees are donated to schools,
research centers and other beekeepers.
" And I guarantee if they come back to that
spot, I'll remove them for free, but I've never
had to go back, " he says.
A former board member of the Georgia
Beekeepers Association, Richter became one of the state's first certified
master beekeepers in 2007 after taking courses at Young Harris College in
Young Harris and the University of Georgia in Athens. In 2021 he helped to
craft a law that requires bee removal crews to be licensed and insured. He
also manages the bees on former President Jimmy Carter's family farm in
Plains, where they're used for research and education.
But clearing them from places they shouldn't be takes up most of
his time.
" Bees can live in a place for several years before people realize
they're there, " says Richter, who notes that honeybees can do considerable
damage to insulation, drywall and siding. " And most people think,
'They're honeybees; they're not hurting anything.' But that's just not
the case! "
H.M. Cauley is a freelance writer from Atlanta.
36 Georgia Magazine March 2023
Top: Dale Richter shows a portion of a honeycomb found
in 2019 while removing bees from a home in Fitzgerald.
Middle: Richter holds a screened box that fi ts into the
specialized vacuum he uses to remove and relocate bees
safely. Bottom: Honeybees naturally nest in the hollow
parts of old-growth trees, but they also will take up residence
in other structures, such as walls. Here, Richter and
his team remove honeybees from a 100-year-old home in
Edison last year. This honey slab weighed 32 pounds.
For more information
The Buzz Fuzz, (229) 886-7663, thebuzzfuzz.org
COURTESY DALE RICHTER
COURTESY DALE RICHTER
COURTESY DALE RICHTER
http://www.thebuzzfuzz.org

Georgia Magazine - March 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - March 2023

Contents
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 4
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 5
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 6
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 7
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 8
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 9
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 10
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 11
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 12
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 13
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 14
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 15
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 16
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 17
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 18
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 19
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 20
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 21
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Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 23
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 24
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 25
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 26
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 27
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Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 33
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 34
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 35
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 36
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 37
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 38
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 39
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 40
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Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - 42
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - March 2023 - Cover4
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