I have actually convinced my parents to not just destroy the feral beehive that is on their property. I will be allowed to capture it and move it to the corner of their 2-acre place. My wife is not too happy about me taking on another project at this time but I figure it's for a good cause.
I have found out a little more about the hive. The hive is located in two old very large truck tires on the ground. My brother told me it has probably been there for at least two years or so, which means it is a very well established colony.
I was looking over the web site a little more and am considering making the bee vacuum to help get all the bees and reduce my chances of getting stung. I figure I will need at least two deeps to save as much of the old hive as possible. I plan on spraying them with sugar water before attempting to vacuum them off. Any other hints at collecting them appreciated.
On the note of getting stung, I figure I will be getting stung at least a few times but I would like to reduce that to as small amount as possible. So what cloths are the best to wear that will not allow them to sting me through?
YOu will get a lot of great input here with that question. I don't own a "beesuit". I just wear my high boots, regular clothes and longsleeve shirt. A veil can be made with just veil material and my dad uses a brimmed straw hat. He uses long rubber gloves with leather gloves over them and rubber bands to seal the joints of everything.
I would strongly encourage you to use the swarm-trap frames described on the build it link of BeeSource. make enough to fill at least one deep. Durning the warm afternoon of your local nectar flow, many bees will be out foraging, and returning bees will be loaded to the gills, so this is a good time to work bees. I wouldn't worry about vacuming really if this is the only one you are going to fool with right off. But it depends on the situation, that i cannot see. Definatly cut out as much of the brood comb and put in the frames keeping the top of the comb pointed up. cut as big a peice as you can, and save those babies! Make sure you get some eggs too, in case you loose the queen, they might make a replacement. If you already have frames, you can just wrap string or rubber bands around the frames to hold the comb in.
Smoke is a must. The bees will be comfused and you should be able to get a lot of comb into the frames. By leaving the super there, the returning bees, finding their home destroyed should move into your box. Collect all the honeycomb and wax that cannot fit in the super, shake the bees of, and get it out of there, you could toss it in a lided storage container or cooler.
Look for the queen if you can. and make sure you put her inside.
Back to the clothes, the only warning I have about what I wear is that when I get sweaty, my thin cottons shirt sticks to me.. and dad. I would recommend a couple of layers for what you will be doing, coveralls or something. I had a hive fall over once and ended up with 15-20 stings. At the time, it wasn't a problem as my imunity was up, I would hate for it to be my first experience of the season.... ouch!
Probably one of the BEST things you could do is contact your local bee club, someone might (probably) would help you. As you can see we like to help one another. I sure would!! You might find someone who will come out and walk you through it.
Here is an interesting thread about my first ferral colony removal from a barn floor. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000766-2.html
>I was looking over the web site a little more and am considering making the bee vacuum to help get all the bees and reduce my chances of getting stung.
It can be very useful, however if you are not going to have but one colony of bees, or only going to use it one time, it is not worth the expense.
> I figure I will need at least two deeps to save as much of the old hive as possible.
You only need to save the brood comb. Cut it into pieces that will fit into a frame and rubberband it in. It is helpful to have a slat nailed on one side the lenght of the frame. Also drive about four one inch nails through the slat to skewer the comb and help hold it in place. The honey you remove should be fed back to the bees, it is not necessary to place it in frames unless you just want to mess with it.
> I plan on spraying them with sugar water before attempting to vacuum them off.
Don't get the bees too wet, they will sufficate. The combination of wet and vacuume and wet will kill most of the bees.
> Any other hints at collecting them appreciated.
Lots, read the thread and a few other searches. My best advise is to expect and prepare for the worst, use plenty of smoke. sometimes they will be very docile, and sometimes they will try to kill you. Armor up good, it's best to have on too much rather than not enough.
Buy a real veil, if you are going to keep bees, get all the stuff you need before starting this project.
Find some local help.
And hope they are not AHB...
Would a rain suit be of any help in the protection department. I have several of these availiable and was wondering if they can sting through that?
The problem with bees isn't what they sting through, they usually won't sting through a pair of jeans unless it's stretched tight over your skin, it's where they will crawl. They will crawl into every opening that they will fit through and that is anything 1/5 of an inch or bigger, once you have them irate. You will get them irate. You're not doing a hive inspection, you're destroying their home.
Personally *I* would buy a full bee suit with a zip on veil. Rubber band the ankles. Wear the gauntlets. Have a bucket for honey comb with a lid to keep the bees out. Have a bucket for scrap.
I've killed more bees than I've saved with vacumms, so I'd skip that, myself. The swarm catching frames look nice, I've never used any, but I've never had trouble using regular frames and rubber bands or string. The slat, like Bill said, would probably help some. Practice putting the rubber bands on the frames with gloves on before you have to do it with bees.
If you want to spend more time in preparation, the swarm catching frames are pretty neat. You can make the hinges out of anything from aluminum cans or plastic from a two liter bottle.
Be prepared to try to find a happy medium. You will squish some bees and drown some bees. The idea is to minimize it as much as is pratical. When handling the combs there will be bees getting between your gloved hand and the comb. Try to be gentle. Even if they are getting pinched, if you're gentle many won't get killed. If you try to not squeeze any, you'll never get done.
It's still a HUGE help to have an experienced hand there. I'd try to find someone who knows what they are doing, if you can.
How are the tires laying?
If they are laying flat on the ground(they should have settled into the dirt) and they are directly over each other, I would place a board or boards over the top(which is where the bees are coming and going to the hive). The board/s would only have a small hole. If you have(or will have) purchased a hive with inner cover, once the bees have drawn some comb in the hive place the inner cover under the hive body with a bee escape put in so that the bees leave the tires can not go back in. The next afternoon I would set the hive body about the same height off the ground in the direction the bees normally fly so returning bees will go straight in. I was 7 when my father removed a hive from a tractor tire this way. He used a piece of plywood to cover the 3 foot hole of the tire with about 6 inch square hole. He left them with the board with no hive body for a couple of days so they got used to going in and out thru the hole(using the light to tell them where the hole was). I think he left the hive body on for a week or 2 before placing the bee escape under it to trap the field force. It makes removing a feral colony much easier if the field force is in a box and not in your way.
He's got a point.
An awful lot of what I would do depends on things like that. Where are the tires, how are they laying? A wire cone can work well. A triangular bee escape could work well. If the tires are such that you can lay a sheet of plywood flat and put a triangular bee escape on you could just put a hive on top of the escape with a notched inner cover on top for the entrance, or even an upside down bottom baord for a big entrance and the bees will have nowhere else to go. (hopfully). Of course if there is a bee sized hole anywhere, they will find it and you will need to plug it.
It's even possible the queen may give up and come out when most all the bees have left the hive. If not you can buy a queen and put her in the hive body.
Maybe you could take some pictures and post them and we could give better advice.