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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Smile

    First off I live in Michigan. I burn fire wood for home heat that I cut from my own woods. That is where this tale of starting to keep bees starts.
    Last fall I cut down a dead ash tree that had been dead 2 years and leaning into another big ash tree. I started blocking up that tree from the bottom, had cut up about 15' of it when some junk started flying off the saw chain as the cut neared the end. When the block fell off low and behold their was honey comb. I had no idea there was bees in that tree or it would still be standing today, as an oak tree is that I do know about.
    The wife and I raise perennial flowers and have a lot of beds and money invested into it, so I didn't want to loose those bees over the winter. I started looking for help on saving them. I was lucky I found a Michigan beekeeper who I call my mentor, named Jim. He helped me (all by e mail) rig a winter shelter for them which did work, and got me excited about keeping bees, getting a colony for a start from those in the woods.
    Jim over winters in Florida, and I have lost his e mail address there.
    Here is what I have going and want some Ideas on please. Since I stopped cutting on that tree when I found the honey comb, there is a guess of 45" of the comb still intact about 4' in the air thanks to a hill. I have built a hive stand 18" wide and 48" long and fastened it to four post placeing it right over the cut off end of the tree which I blocked off other than two 3/4 inch exit holes. I have 2 standard hive boxes on order Which I belive will be here tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest. Should I place frames and foundation in the hive bodies? Should I place the bottom board on the hive stand or just the hive? And should I open the tree up more by removing the cap I placed on the cut off end?
    I can post/send pictures of the mess I have made, if it would help answer my questions?
    Thank Ya'll very much.
    Al




    [This message has been edited by alleyyooper (edited March 30, 2003).]

    [This message has been edited by alleyyooper (edited March 30, 2003).]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lynnville, Ia, USA
    Posts
    165

    Post

    I'm assuming here that the bees have a way in and out of the log you cut off. The easiest way to get the bees into your boxes is to set the hive body on top of the log. Bees have a tendancy to move up. If it's convienient, have the entrance to the log through the hive body, so they have to travel that way. If you only have foundation in your frames, the bees aren't going to want to work them until they get real crowded or have a good flow, or both. If you can buy some drawn combs from a local beekeeper, your task is relaively easy. Once the bees are established in your box, you can set it off onto the ground and get rid of the log

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Smile

    Yes there is an exit, two 3/4 in holes in the plywood I capped the cut off end with. There is also two knot holes higher up they are using. I'd planed to plug those when the hive boxes were ready.
    Unless they run out of room in the tree they will stay in it?
    what is drawn comb? I still have the short block of wood with comb in it. the bees have been salavageing (I think Honey)from it during the last few warm spells.
    Al

    [This message has been edited by alleyyooper (edited March 30, 2003).]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,739

    Post

    There are lots of methods of removing bees. Some more or less successful. It's nice to get the queen from a feral hive like this since she has the genetics to survive at least as long as she has survived. All of the methods depend on specific circumstances.

    One method would be to figure out where the top of the hive is. Cut above it so there is still solid wood, flip the log upright on this end (upside down with the open end up) make a board that will fit over the top (open end) and serve as a bottom board for the hive body. Then you can drum and smoke the bees up into the hive box. Drumming is just tapping on the log or the hive or both. When you think most of them are up in the box, put a queen excluder under the box. Come back in a day or two and see if the queen is in the top. If she is there will be bees there, if not most of them will have returned to the log. You can try again if you want. The brood in the log will eventually hatch; the bees will move everything out eventually too, because the combs are upside down. Of course, when you felled the tree they were sideways and they seemed to survive that. Yes I'd put foundation in for this method.

    A variation of this is to cut both ends open to the hive and put the log on top of the box (but most logs are too big to do this) and use a fume board to drive the bees DOWN into the box and then put on the queen excluder.

    You could try the cone method, but it really only works well if you have some brood comb to put in your box and you don't and you'll lose the queen in this method.

    You can cut the tree apart carefully trying to feel the hollow spots and see the honey when you hit it. Take out sections about a foot in lengh and half of the tree in width. Then cut out all of the brood comb and tie it into empty frames with string or rubber bands and put it in the box. Try to catch the queen while doing this and put her in the box. Shake off all of the combs in front of the box. You can harvest the honey or just let them clean it up. It tends to have a lot of sawdust all over after this kind of process. This is what I would do, but recommending it to a newbie is a bit scary. The bees may do fine or they may get vicious before you are done. You have to figure on getting stung. Experience is so helpful because you have to find that graceful smooth seemingly slow movement that gets things done without going too slow and without moving too suddenly and spooking the bees. You don't use the foundation in this method. I recommend a full bee suit with a zip on veil, rubber bands around the ankels and gloves, at least handy if you need them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Post

    Thanks for the Ideas.
    Al

    [This message has been edited by alleyyooper (edited March 31, 2003).]

    [This message has been edited by alleyyooper (edited April 02, 2003).]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,739

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    Wow! I have no idea how to post pictures. You should share how you do that!

    From the looks of things you have a platform for a box. Do you have an opening between the log and where the box would be? If you sealed it up tight enough you could do as already suggested and wait for the bees to move up into it. They will use it as a super for a while and maybe eventually they might move into it. They may not, but you could still harvest honey.

    Probably they will stay. If the tree used to be upright than the combs are all sideways and they have to rebuild them all. Probably they will stay and if they prosper they will also swarm. I'd be tempted to set a bait hive nearby and see if you can catch some swarms.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lynnville, Ia, USA
    Posts
    165

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    It's not going to be as easy as I thought. the combs apear to be horizontal. I thought they were verticle, as in when the tree was upright. Under the top of the stand you built, I see something white. Is that the cap you put on the cut part? If it is. I would cut about a ten inch hole in it and set your box right there. If you can bait the bees into the box, the whole thing will work better. You will need drawn comb-The stuff the bees store honey and raise brood in. You would have to get this from a beekeepeer. If you could get a frame of brood,which is developing bees in all stages,I can almost guarantee you the bees will move into your box.

    If the above isn't practical, it's possible to trap the bees out of the log using a wire cone over the entrance to the log,but you need to have a couple of brood frames and a queen to hold the bees once you have them in your box.

    If it all sounds like a hassle, do as Mike suggests. Wait for swarms. They have some phermone lure now which makes it much easier to attract swarms.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Cool

    Thank you very much for the ideas, I need all the advice I can get I'm dumber than a box of rocks when it comes to bees. But I want to learn. I have two books i've read most of over the winter, Keeping bees by John Vivian and Bee keeping a Practical Guide by Richard E. Bonney they are both very good books I feel. Richard Bonney I belive leans to the side a beginner should just buy package bees and follow normal practices. John Vivian on the other hand does have a chapter in his book about trapping swarms of wild bees.
    I will have to see if I can find a close by beekeeper to advise me and maybe get some drawn comb.
    Al

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,739

    Post

    Brushy Mt. Bee Farm has a video "free bees for you" that you could watch someone take bees out of a tree.

    The problem, as you say, is that most books are talking about how to raise bees in a hive. There are a lot of other factors involved here. For instance, it looks like your comb is not only possibly sideways, but angled sideways. When the weather warms up some of the comb may collapes and ALL of the comb will have to be rebuilt by the bees.

    Also there are some pictures on here on taking feral combs and putting them in frames. In this case it's the nice hinged ones but I've always just tied them in with string or rubber bands.
    http://www.beesource.com/plans/scf/index.htm


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Post

    Posting pictures here is about as easy as any place. I haven't experminted here to see if I can post off my hard drive. I have pictures stored on the internet web page sony site.
    The address to store your pictures there is www.imagestation.com Uploading the picture steps are posted there. to get your pictures from there to here is in steps.
    1> Open this forum and if you want a thread.
    2> Do a split window so you can get image station up at the same time.
    3> Chose the picture from your album at image station and right click on it, a menu will pop up.
    4> Left click on properities at the bottom of the menu.Another box will pop up which containes the address of your picture.
    5> High light that address then right click again, a menu will pop up again.
    6> Left click on copy, at the bottom the box says ok {I think} left click that.
    7> come here to the thread you have open and type in [img] PICTURE ADDRESS WILL BE HERE AFTER RIGHT CLICKING AND CHOOSEING PASTE [/img]
    You have to paste the address by right clicking between the [img] xxxxx and [/img]
    the picture address before you submit will show up where i just put the xxx's plus and.
    There are other picture storage sites on the web but image station is free and I like it. www.huntingpictures.com is one a friend uses but when he posts a picture it has huntingpictures.com on them.
    Good luck
    Al

    [This message has been edited by alleyyooper (edited March 31, 2003).]

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,739

    Post

    Thanks.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    brown county,indiana,usa
    Posts
    571

    Post

    can you suit up and cut the hive hollow away from the rest of the tree,then you could orient it upwards as it was,and make it possible to sit a box on top.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    Hossierhiver has a good idea there.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi,

    I'd do things the hard way here. I'd cut the gum section to the ground and orient the combs up. Then cut the gum section longways yet parralel with the combs on both sides and split the log open. Smoking the bees regularly. I do this before the population gets to large. Then using swarm ketching frames put the brood and bees in and arrange in hive bodies. Might not be everyones cup of tea though. This is probably the slowest most difficult method.

    Clay

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I have done such things when I had no experience with bees, but it's difficult for me to recommend it to someone else under those circumstances. But I was crazy and... wait he says he is too! Maybe that would be the best. It is a major undertaking and quite intimidating when you've never done it before. I got stung quite a bit the first time and I was wearing a bee suit with a zip on veil. I did not have (and never have had) swarm catching frames, but they look nice. I just tied them in with string and rubber bands. The rubber bands were easier to do when you have bees trying to sting you all over

    I'm much better at it now, but then I was just shooting in the dark. I couldn't find the queen, I didn't know how to get them to move into the new hive. I was totally ignorant and it cost me in bees and stings and stress on me and them.

    A bee vac might also help, but if you can keep calm and keep them calm you may not need it.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi Micheal,

    . I did not have (and never have had) swarm catching frames, but they look nice. I just tied them in with string and rubber bands.

    reply:

    Same here. I just made up a bunch of swarm ketching frames this winter. I used plastic soda pop bottle for hinges work real good and free too. Thinking of trying rubber tire patches also. I think after I spoil myself with these frames I may never tie in again.

    Clay


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I guess I haven't done it often enough to seem worth building them. Now I'm more interested in feral bees so I may be doing it more often. It might be worth making them. For a one time deal though, I don't think I'd bother. On the other hand, a newbie needs all the help they can get when the bees are all flying.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Post

    Ok, general agreement is I should cut the log the rest of the way off and stand it up. I can do that, we still have some days that will be cold enough that the bees will stay put. I know we will have some evenings yet with the temps in the low to mid 30's. Some questions?
    1> should I stand the chunk cut off as it was before I blundered and cut it in the first place?
    2> if i stand it with the old botton tward the botton should i make sure that the comb is showing at the top where I set the hive?
    3> should I place frames and foundation in the hives?
    4> should I also place a division board feeder in place too ( I ordered one of them with the hives and supers.)?
    I also have the dead oak tree in the woods with the bee colony in it. I saw them late last summer as I was looking at it to see how I was going to drop it. We have a very good food supply for bees here. with the start of our tulips and other spring flower blooms and the dandolines in the lawn. then in mid June to the end of Oct. Our perennial flowers beds look like this small one pictured. There is all kinds of golden rod, wild bee baum and asters in the fall months up to mid Nov. in many cases. Again, Thanks For all the help everyone.
    : D Al

    [This message has been edited by alleyyooper (edited April 02, 2003).]

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,739

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    >Ok, general agreement is I should cut the log the rest of the way off and stand it up.

    This is because the bees build the combs "right side up" and they are now sidways in two dimensions. They have an orientation to them. The combs hang straight down, and the cells run downhill at an angle to hold the honey in when they fill them. Yes, I think you need to correct the oreintation of the combs if you want to keep them there. If you want to take them out, you will also have to cut the other end off so you can split it open.

    >I can do that, we still have some days that will be cold enough that the bees will stay put. I know we will have some evenings yet with the temps in the low to mid 30's.

    Believe it or not, it's better to do it when the bees are flying. It may break up the cluster to do it when they are cold and a lot of bees may die because they fall to the bottom and are too cold to climb back up.

    >Some questions?
    >1> should I stand the chunk cut off as it was before I blundered and cut it in the first place?

    Yes. If you want to use your hive boxes as supers.

    >2> if i stand it with the old botton tward the botton should i make sure that the comb is showing at the top where I set the hive?

    Just so long as there are passages leading to the top you ton'd have to have all or any of the comb "showing". But if you can see the comb at the top you know there is a passageway.

    >3> should I place frames and foundation in the hives?

    You could: Split open the log and take out all of the comb, then you don't want foundation in the frames.

    You could: Put the boxes on top of the log and use them for supers (a place to store honey) then yes, put in the foundation. Some day they may even move the brood nest up into the boxes, but I wouldn't count on it.

    You could: Smoke and drum the bees out of the log into the box. If you do this, then yes you should put in the foundation, but you should also put the log upside down. This would mean the comb in the log is no use to the bees because it is the wrong oreintation and you drum (tap on) the log to cause the bees to move up while smoking them rather heavily. (do this on a warm day not a cold day). When you have most of the bees in the box, put a queen excluder under it and come back in a week or so and see if she's in the top box laying. If not, repeat the drumming and smoking.


    4> should I also place a division board feeder in place too ( I ordered one of them with the hives and supers.)?

    You probably don't need to feed them if you use the boxes for a super. Feeding is good if you are moving them into the box and they will be living there instead of the log. They will need sugar to draw foundation.

    >I also have the dead oak tree in the woods with the bee colony in it. I saw them late last summer as I was looking at it to see how I was going to drop it.

    Why not leave them there? I'd just put a bait hive out and try to catch swarms from it. If you really want them out, you don't have to cut the tree unless that's already your plan. There are methods to get them out without cutting down the tree. The cone method being a useful one, but it reauires some brood comb so you'd need to have a hive established first. If you want to cut the tree anyway, you can try to land it softly and cut it apart and tie the comb into frames as mentioned before.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Jameson, MO USA
    Posts
    76
    Hi Alleyooper
    First off, I would suggest that you came to the wrong web site, inasmuch as you admit to only being a bit crazy. To properly fit in with the bee crowd, it helps greatly to be a full-blown looneytoon. That being said, send me an e-mail with your snail mail address, and I will send you a fully drawn brood comb which will serve as bait to get the hive started moving up, along with some ideas on where to get some pheromone baits which will help the process. I am excited for you in your find of a surviving feral colony. This is more important than perhaps you yet realize.
    Cheers

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