A friend called to ask if I could take a look at "a whole mess of bees" in a tree on her property. I stopped by this morning to investigate, and found a very nice colony behind a tennis-ball sized hole in a large cherry tree. The entrance is about six feet from the ground - take a look:
Does anybody know of any technique that might work to extract this colony? (Cutting down the tree isn't an option). Wire coning will only extract the workers, so I don't know what good that would do us.
I'm really hoping to save this colony from destruction -- any advice would be appreciated.
One I haven't tried is filling the hollow space with water to drive the bees out. If it's full and they all cluster outside to abscond you might get the queen. But if it doesn't work you'll devastate the hive pretty badly, at least this time of year. Probably they'd come out of that pretty well if it was spring with a flow on and a year to recover.
Has anyone tried the water trick Michael suggests?
Here's a better shot of the hive entrance:
How about using a bee vac and some Bee-Go dumped in the hive hole? That'd get the whole hive of bees on the run wouldn't it?
If you could get the queen out then screen it off with a queen excluder and escape for the drones all feeding into a replacement hive right at the entrance. Let the workers back to tend the brood and when all the brood has emerged move the hive away so they will raid it and bring the honey back to the new hive.
Of course, this depends on getting the queen out.
Could you draw the queen out with the pheromone of another queen? Or the simulated piping of an emerging queen to trick the colony into swarming?
>Could you draw the queen out with the pheromone of another queen? Or the simulated piping of an emerging queen to trick the colony into swarming?
Doubtful. I think finding some way to fill the space with Bee-Quick vapor would be a good bet, but how to do it is the trick. You need some way to vaporize it and get the vapor to fill the space in the tree. Rags don't look like they will fit. I wouldn't trust Butyric Acid (bee go). It will contaminate everything.
"wire cone will only get the workers"
But that is the whole Idea of the wire cone. Set a hive with a frame of eggs and attendants in the new bait hive on a ladder in front of the cone. The worker bees will come out and when they cannot return to the tree they join the bait hive. In three weeks there are no more bees in the tree as the queen quits laying when the workers fail to return with nectar. By the end of the three weeks you have a new queen in the bait hive and you allow that hive then to rob out the tree.
If it is too late to raise a queen and you cannot buy one, take your weakest hive and use it as the bait. If even your weakest is more than you want to put there for bait divide its brood among other hives that need help and allow the cherry tree to replenish the bait hive.
If you cannot raise or find a queen then just wait 'til spring and do it. I have nucs I could use as baits, but lacking those I would wait until spring here because I cannot raise more queens this late.