WE found a approx 6 foot X 3 foot X 1 foot hive comb this weekend in our backyard attached to plywood/fence. the comb is attached to the plywood easily moved. i want to remove and place in a hive. I am in deep south texas ,and am concerned about africanized bees ,they seemed very calm. Do I just place combs in racks. and dump in the bees? any help would be appricated this is my 1st time and am excited at getting started
This is about as good a situation as you get, but it's not simple by any means to move a feral hive into a movable comb hive. You will NEED a smoker and a bee suit with a viel. You will probably get stung multiple times by the time you are done and you need to be willing to accept that. Once they get really angry (and they will) it would be hard to tell the difference between africanized and not, but the clincer is when you leave the area of the hive and they keep following you for hundreds of yards. Normal bees will mostly leave you alone once you get away from the hive.
I can't say if this is a good time of year to do it there. It is NOT a good time of year to do it here.
My method, if they were outside like this, is to work my way through the comb. It takes practice to do things as gently as is practical without wasting too much time. The idea, of course, is to injure as few bees as possible, but accept that you will injure some. Just be aware and careful.
To take off a comb I would smoke it fairly heavily to try to run some of the bees off then I'd brush it off. This puts a lot of bees in the air. If you want to have something under them when you brush it, a 5 gallon bucket will do. They dump out of the bucket nicely. Now that there are less bees on the comb, cut it at the top where it's attached. Look at it carefully if there is almost all honey and no brood, I throw it in a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. If it has brood I cut it to fit an empty frame and put it with the same side up as before in the frame and put enough rubber bands on to hold it. Then I put that frame of brood in my hive. I continue like this until there are no more frames. Dump the 5 gallon bucket you were brushing bees into, in the new hive. By now all the bees are either clustered on the the brood in the new hive or they are clustered on the attachments where the combs were or they are in the air buzzing or they are on the ground crawling around. I'd back off and let them settle in to probably two clusters. One on the old hive and one in the new one. You can brush the bees off of the old hive when they have settled, into the 5 gal bucket and dump it into the new hive. Now wait for them to settle again and probably they will all settle into the new hive in a matter of minutes or hours. You have to move the new hive gently because the combs are not attached, just hanging in the frames. If you can leave it there for a week or so it might be better, but if not, wait for dark and move it carefully.
This all sounds simple. In reality it is chaos. Bees everywhere. And in the midst of it you have to stay calm and serene and keep working. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif
Another useful tool is a bee vac. I hesitate to suggest it because it can kill a lot of bees if not adjusted perfectly. Instructions on how to make and use one are in the plans section on this site. You can also purchase one from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm.
I at all possible, try to find someone who knows bees to help. They can be most reassuring. I did undertake these kinds of things when I didn't know anything, but it is pretty scary.