Hello! I recently noticed a swarm of honey bees have made a home in an old tree behind my house. I'm to scared to go poking around close to it, but I've seen them coming and going. My question is, can I get the honey out of that tree? And, if so, how would I do that (without getting killed, ha!). I don't want to kill them or make them leave, just curious about getting the sweet stuff. Thanks for any info.
This is your big chance to be a beekeeper. How about it?
Most beekeepers would love to find such a bee tree. I don't know your beekeeping experience? If you have none. I'd find a local beekeeper who is willing to collect the bees. In exchange for some of the honey. Harvesting honey from bees in a bee tree is usually very hard work and often destroys the tree and the bees. Also they may not have enough honey to winter on if honey is taken. But if you wish to take up beekeeping leave them alone till spring. Learn as much as possible about bees till then. Then get them into a hive. I don't mean to discourage you, but you may not realize the work involved in such an endeavor. But should you wish to start beekeeping feel free to ask about hiving the bees? This is your big chance and it don't happen every day.
How long have the bees been there for?
I don't have any experience with bees, well, other than getting stung now and then. I started noticing them in June. My father says to leave them alone until it gets cold and then try to get the honey out, but he's never done this before, either. I haven't found anyone yet that is a professional at this, so I quess I'll just have to study up. The tree is already dead, but I don't want to wind up killing the bees. Should I try to get them to move out of the tree and into one of those boxes, sorry I don't know what they're called. Maybe it's to late for that?
I would like to get started with them as a hobby. Do you have to dedicate alot of time to it? I'm a very patient person, so I don't mind waiting till next year if thats what it takes.
My father and I just did this last weekend. First, wait until next spring to do it. The bees won't survive the winter if you put them in a hive now. What we did was to go out a night and cover the entrance(s). This is only necessary if you plan to move them to your "bee yard". Next cut the top out of the tree and cut it remaining tree down a slice at a time until you run into comb. Now cut the tree down at ground level, but make sure not to let the tree fall over because that could dislodge the comb and kill the bees. Once you have the log on the ground cut a groove along the length following the entrance and another on the backside 180 degrees from this point. At 12 and 6 o'clock when looking at the end. The split the log with a wedge and hammer. Once you have the log split in half you will need to remove each comb and try to keep it intact. Lay it off to the side preferrably on a white sheet. As you're doing this you must locate the queen. Once you find the queen amongst the thousands of bees, put her into the hive body. Next wire in some of the old comb into the frames and put them into the hive body. Lastly scoop up as many of the bees and bee clusters that you can and pour them onto and into the hive and put the top on. The bees should congregate into the hive. There will be bees everywhere and it can be overwhelming. If you can't find the queen try seperating the comb and watch to see if the bees cluster around one. The queen should be there. The bottom line is don't try it alone and don't do it without a seasoned beekeeper. We've used this method for years (I'm fourth generation beekeeper) and it has worked every time.