My parents have just discovered a very large feral hive next to a house they are moving into. I would like to construct a hive for them and move them to a safer location. I have about 2 weeks to acomplish this so I don't have the time between work and other current obligations to read up as much as I like to when starting something new. Once I get them to a safer location, I will have the time to read more. I have downloaded plans for the Langstroth hive and plan to construct this hive.
However what I really need to know is how to move this hive from it's current location to inside the new hive box. What things I need to look out for (like killer bees though I am not to afraid of this) do I need to capture the queen bee and any info that you can give advice on.
Brushy Mt. has an excellent video called "Free bees for you". They have good instructions on how to use the wire cone method.
A lot of how to get a feral hive depends on how difficult it is to get to the combs. If you have to tear off a wall, or if you are ALLOWED to tear off a wall, if it's a old tree you can cut down or cut into or not.
The wire cone method is basically a one way entrance made from screen wire formed into a cone and stapled onto the entrance. Any other entrances have to be blocked to stop bees from getting back in. The success of this depends on how many other entrances there are, and what you want to do with the bees that can no longer get back in. If you have a colony near the entrace of the existing one then the cluster of bees returning may go in there since they can't get back into the tree. But you probably don't have a colony of bees. I have done this buy buying a queen bee and a hive and setting it up at least two miles from the feral colony and every night brush all the bees that are hanging on the cone into a box and take them to the hive with the queen in it. They will adopt the queen because they don't know how to get home. In theory after you have decimated the population of bees in the tree (or whereever) during a dearth you can move a strong colony near the feral colony, take the cone off, bait the entrance by smearing with honey and get your colony to rob the tree. The problem is that your colony is from there and some may return if you bring it back.
If you can get to the combs, then I would start with the cone method to depopulate the feral hive a lot and then cut the combs out and tie them in frames and put them in a hive. Forget the honey, just the brood.
I believe the hive is in some old tires and such that is close to the house. You said to forget the honey and go for the brood. How do you tell the difference between the honey (this one I think I know) the pollen and the brood combs.
You recognize it without us telling you, but anyway.
Brood Comb is Dark, I mean DARK.
Honey Comb can be dark, but is usually much lighter in color.
If the combs are not capped, then you can see inside the combs to see what it is. If you see water. Then you are actually looking at honey, if you see little white dots or small white worms, then you are looking at brood.
If the comb is capped, honey comb often looks like whitish, creamy colored rough wax cappings.
Brood comb looks leathery brown, but the caps are domed, like the front ends of bullets. Drone comb, which is the Male counter part of the hive, look distinctly like a rack of bullets.
If you see protrusions that look like peanuts or funny shaped almonds, then these "might" be queen cells, I say might, because a first-timer doesn't always recognize queen cells for what they are.
In either case, I would try to get the queen. If the bees are true feral bees, you may have yourself a treasure. If you cannot secure the queen, then you might need to procure a queen from a queen breeder / supplier.
It is very easy to kill the queen in a feral hive extraction, if you can get some eggs or young larvae brood (which I would concentrate of getting more of in whole pieces), then they could raise their own queen, but don't count on that as certain. Do yourself a favor and prepare to order a queen within a week if you do not see the bees preparing queen cells.
Scot Mc Pherson
"Linux is a Journey, not a Guided Tour" ~ Me
"Do or not do, there is no try" ~ Master Yoda
Try to find a local Beekeeper to help you. Maybe there is a local club locally. Dale
Of course if you can get experienced help, do that. I meant not to tie the honey comb in the frames. It's too heavy, won't stay and isn't that important. The brood is important and is light and easy to keep in the frame with some string or a rubber band. I would put the honey in a five gallon bucket as I go (with a lid to keep the bees from accumulating in it) and salvage it to eat later.
The cappings on honey are almost transparent. You can see the honey inside. The cappings on brood are opaque, not as shiny as the honey, and much lighter in weight than the honey.
You will get some honey when cutting them to fit the frames. You will also waste some brood when cutting to fit the frames. But you salvage what you can.
Ok in starting to form a plan (am having parents take pictures to post for everyone to look at) I have been reviewing post and reading archived post on the matter. The question I seem to still have is how to get the bees from the wild hive into my hive?
the video from Brushy Mt "Free bees for you "
As M Bush has mentioned is a very good video for teaching what you are trying to do .
My criteria to form a plan:
How long do I have to accomplish the transfer?
What is the physical situation of the bees? In other words could the structure where the bees are be easily disassembled to provide access to the combs? Can you easily close off the entrance with a cone? Can you easily set a hive on top to get them to move up naturally? Can you drum and smoke them up into a hive? Are they up high where I will be working from a ladder?
If you close off the exit with a cone etc. and there are a lot of bees in the air (confused not angry bees) will the local humans freak out?
How agressive are the bees?
How large is the poulation of the bees?
Based on the answers to these questions I would form a plan.
The slow way is the least difficult for you and the bees. If it's possible to put the new empty equipment on top of the existing hive and especially if you can force them to exit through it, then you can do the triangular bee escape kind of thing or maybe a cone.
Part of the problem with this kind of thing is for a while the confused bees circle a lot and people not familar with bees assume they are angry. They are not. They are confused. But I've had people freak and spray them with raid and that was the end of the bees.
Sometimes, based on people, access etc. it seems best to just physically take the combs and put them in a hive. If you do this the bees will move into the box with the combs. If there is nothing for them in the old location and the hive is full of bees giving off Nasonov pheromone, (which they will do) then they will all regroup in the new eqiupment. You don't have to move the bees, just the combs and the bees will take care of themselves. You do need to watch. If they cluster back at the old location, then the queen is probably there. Get the queen in the new hive and they will all move there for sure.
Thanks for the advice. I will wait for my parents to send me pictures of the wild hive and then post here for feed back. Proably be sometime this weekend before they can get pictures. I am headed down there to capture them on the 12th of March and will be down there a week. At that time I will get a personal up close view of the hive. I will spend the next day or so building the hive as my workshop is down there as well. So somewhere around the 15th of March is when I will be attempting this feet.
You know that Texas is like a whole nother country?
And given that there are more than one planting zone there as well, we will be able to give better specific information if you were to tell us where the bees actuly are. I say that because the weather is very different in Brownsville as oposed to Wichita Falls, and what we will tell you could be dependant on location.
Go back to your profile and put the city where your bees are in the 'from' area.
The bees are located close to Victoria Texas. We recently just had a week of 70-degree weather from the normal 50's we had been having as a norm. It has dropped down to the 40's again for the last couple of days and will again be back into the 70's and probably stay at least in the 60's for now on though more days will be in the 70Â’s. I know temperature has a lot to do with when the bees start to become active and start producing brood. Another weather tidbit is that is has been raining quite often down here so everything is pretty damp.
Flowers are still fairly rare except for the occasional weeds. However in another week or so flowers will probably start to grow and start flowering by the time I am able to go down there. The Bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes will be in full bloom by the end of March early April. These will cover huge fields around the area the bees are in as well as Buttercups.
ok, this is how you hive the bees.
Go out on a cold night and carry a really loud radio with you. Wear sun glasses so you don't get stung in the eyes, but shorts and sandles is about all the protective gear you will need. If your really worried about getting stung you can spray your exposed skin with sugar water.
Bang on the tires with a big shovel to "get the bees ready to be moved". Then take the shovel and scoop out the hive and cram as much as you can into a shoe box (a boot box may work better). Tape the lid on with duct tape and cut a small hole in one side for an entrance.
There you have it.
I don't know why I have to be such a smart *** , but you have to admit, its pretty funny.
Try to find someone in your area, it will be a much better experience for you.