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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Lansing, MI, USA
    Posts
    2

    Question

    I am looking at starting Beekeeping this year. I am building my own hives, from this site. I have a feral hive in a wall of bulding here. I am working on the beevac, to aid in moving the hive. I would like any advice on starting out. The hive is very calm right now.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,213

    Post

    Search the archives on "feral bees" and "removing bees". There have been LENGTHY discussions on this.
    http://www.kohala.net/bees/capture/index.html

    Removal. This is not the easiest way to get bees. It is exciting and fun, but sometimes requires some construction skills and lots of courage. The idea is to remove all of the bees and all of the combs from a tree, a house, or whatever they are living in. It often involves removing sections of walls and repairing them afterwards. It is not usually financially worth it unless you are being paid to remove them or you have a lot of free time.

    Each removal is a separate situation. Sometimes they are in a old abandoned building and the owner doesn’t care if you rip the wallboard off or tear the siding off. Usually it does matter and you can’t go tearing it up, you have to put everything back when you are done. Ignoring, for the moment, the construction issues, if you get to the combs, whether they are in a house or a tree or whatever, you need to cut the brood to fit frames and tie around the frames to hold it in. This does not work for honey because it’s too heavy, so scrap the honey. Throw it in a five gallon bucket with a lid to keep out the bees trying to clean up the spill. Try to put the brood in an empty hive box and keep brushing or shaking the bees off into it. If you see the queen, then catch her and put her in the hive box. If you get some brood and the queen in the hive box the rest of the bees will eventually follow. If you don’t see the queen, then just keep putting bees in the box and brood comb in frames in the box and honey in the bucket until the combs are all gone. Take the bucket and, if you can, leave for a few hours and let the bees figure out where the queen and the other bees are. The will all settle into the new box. At dark they should all be inside and you can close it up and take it home.

    Cone Method This method is used when it’s impractical to tear into a hive and remove the comb or there are so many bees you don’t want to face them all at once. This is a method where a screen wire cone is placed over the main entrance of the current home of the bees. All other entrances are are blocked with screen wire stapled over them. Make the end of the cone so it has some frayed wires so that a bee can push the wires enough to get out (including drones and queens) but can’t get back in. Aim it a bit up and it helps some on keeping them from finding the entrance. Now you put a hive that has just a frame of open brood, a couple of frames of emerging brood and some honey/pollen, right next to the hive. You may need to build a stand or something to get it close to where the returning foragers are clustered on the cone. Sometimes they will move into the box with the brood comb. Sometimes they just hang on the cone. The biggest problem I’ve had is that this causes many more bees to be looking for a way in and circling in the air and the homeowners often get antsy and spray the bees with insecticide because they are afraid of them. If DON’T put the box with the brood here, but rather at your beeyard, hopefully at least 2 miles away, and you vacuum or brush the bees off into a box every night and take them and dump them in the box with the brood, you will eventually depopulate the hive. If you keep it up until no substantial number of bees are in it anymore, you can use some sulfur in a smoker to kill the bees (sufar smoke is fatal but does not leave a poisoness residue) or some bee quick to drive the rest of them out of the tree (or house or whatever). And if you use the beequick you may even get the queen to come out. If you do, catch her with a hair clip queen catcher and put her in a box and let the bees move into the box. Since the cone is still on the entrance they can’t get back in the old hive. I’d leave it like this for a few days and then bring a strong hive and put it close to the old hive. Remove the cone and put some honey on the entrance to entice the bees to rob it. This is most effective during a dearth. Mid summer and late fall being likely dearths. Once they start robbing it, they will rob the entire hive out. This is especially important if removing them from a house, so that the wax doesn’t melt and honey go everywhere or the honey attract mice and other pests. Now you can seal it up as best you can. The expanding polyurethane foam you buy in a can at the hardware store is not too bad for sealing the opening. It will go in and expand and make a fairly good barrier.

    Bee Vacuum. Brushy Mt. Bee Farm makes these, but you can modify a cheap shop vac to do it. The most important issues are these:

    If you have too much vacuum it will kill to many bees. If you are converting a shop vac, cut a hole in the top or use a hole saw and drill a hole. You’ll have to adjust this to fit the way the vac is designed, but if there is room you could just drill a three inch hole. If not you could drill and saw to make a longer hole. The idea is that we will take a piece of wood or plastic and make a damper by putting a screw through it on one corner and pivoting the damper to make a larger or smaller hole. This hole is covered on the inside by hardware cloth or screen wire. I just glue it with epoxy on the inside. Now when you adjust the damper to be more open there is less vacuum. When you close it more, there is more vacuum.

    If the bees hit the bottom of the vacuum too hard they will die or be injured. The solution to that is put a piece of foam rubber on the bottom. Or wad up some newspaper and put it on the bottom. Anything to soften their landing so they don’t hit the hard plastic bottom.

    Bees get torn up hitting the corrugations of the tube. If you get a smooth hose there will be less of this. If you get smaller corrugations there will be less of this.

    Adjust the vacuum carefully. You want just enough vacuum to pick the bees off the comb and no more. To much and you’ll have a canister full of squashed bees.

    This tool can be used for bee removal. Getting bees off of the combs and not in the air is very helpful. Be careful. I have used them with good luck and I have also killed a lot of bees when I didn’t mean to.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

    Cool

    Hey Domamir,
    I've used a bee vac - it's a very handy tool for bee removals. Like MB says, it's easy to kill bees so it's worth investing the minutes needed to test it with a few bees. I vacuum a few (may 20-30 bees), then open the box and let them fly out. I keep doing this until I get it just right.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Lansing, MI, USA
    Posts
    2

    Sad

    I am bummed out. I went to the feral hive today to check it. Found no activey at the main enterance. No buzzing from inside. The hive seams to be empty. I am still going to move the comb to a hive. In hopes of a swarm finding it and moving in.

    Domamir

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,213

    Post

    Maybe the activity was just robbers finishing off a failed hive.

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