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Thread: Harvesting bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    I do work for a large commerercial bee outfit.

    Every fall they gas thousands of "stray" bees after their hives have been shipped out.

    I have been told that I can have all I want.

    My thought is that it would be too late in the year to use them to start a new hive. However they should be great to add to weak hives (with plenty of stores) to strengthen them.

    That said........

    Any suggestions on how to lure them into a cluster for harvesting?

    Can I queen them and start a new hive? Adding plenty of stores of course.

    My objective this year and the next couple, is to increase hive numbers with honey a secondary issue. My goal is 350 colonies.

    Thanks

    Bruce

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    If they gas these bees, then they have to be concentrated enough to gas.

    You could simply place active hives in the location that the hives were removed from and the strays would find their way into the active hives.

    You could place a "nuc" strength hive with a queen, brood, and bees as a bait hive for them to come into.

    A key factor is these bees are older of foraging age and hence, will die before spring and maybe before the end of the fall.

    But, depending on when they move these bees out, how long it is till winter sets in, when these bees die, and if young brood can be raised, will greatly effect what will make it through winter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    New York City
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    In a word, pheromones.

    Take a few hive bodies, put in some comb, slap
    on a feeder, and insert a "queen pheromone" lure.

    Set up the hive in the center of the space
    occupied by the removed hives, and you should
    get the bulk of the orphaned bees to fly into
    your "baited hive". After a day or two, screen
    the entrance, and take the hive away.

    When collecting swarms or removing colonies
    from structures, I leave a small cardboard
    box with a lure to gather up the "stray" bees,
    as most home owners would not want the strays
    wandering about after they paid to have the
    bees removed.

    You never get 100% of the strays, but you
    certainly get the bulk of them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I'm with Jim. Buy some QMP from Mann Lake or whoever, and put a strip in a box.

    If you just have a queen it might do almost as well, and if you just gather a hive's worth of stores during the flow to put them in you could have an extra hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
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    They ship the hives out and THEN gas the strays?

    Where are the strays at the time? If they're in a building, getting them together would be a cinch.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Most of the bees are inside one of the buildings where they store empty supers. Thousands of stacked supers.

    The company moves the hives out in September sometime to other areas. They are located out of Texas and California as well as here in North Dakota.

    Sure be nice to lasso those bees rather than see them destroyed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Seems like you could set aside enough boxes full of honey to get them through the winter and take a small nuc and put with all those bees and have a nice hive to overwinter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    They gas the whole building Michael...... for moths I guess.

    I was there last fall doing overhead door work for them when the exterminator was there taping all the buildings doors before gassing.

    Kinda wild being 20 feet off the ground working off a extension ladder with thousands of bees around me. It was then I knew I really had no real fear of them. I have been stung about a half a dozen times over the last couple of years there with no reaction...

    Any reclaimation would have to be done prior to this of course.

    I hope I can figure something out......

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Kiel WI, USA
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    Any chance of letting a little sunlight in?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I had a link, which unfortunately is now dead, that shows using QMP pheromone (which you can buy several places including Mann Lake where I bought some) in a hive box in a honey house to get the bees to congregate in one place where they could simply be removed when they were done. That's what I'd do. A strip of "Bee Boost" in a hive box with a bottom stapled on for convienince and a lid and either some empty frames or some combs of honey for them to gather on. But even without the combs they will gather for the QMP.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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