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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    west monroe LA USA
    Posts
    60

    Post

    I have a tree here in northeastern Louisiana and the guy wants me to take it down for him. I just built a hive and I think that this could be a good opportunity to try beekeeping. I was wondering if anyone has ever cut out a peice of tree and was able to cut it open and get the queen and start a hive. I was going to cut away all of the main branches then, leave a bigger trunk to use a snatch block to rig on the peice with the bees. After that, I was going to cut and slowly lower the section of tree with the hive in it slowly to the ground. The hive is probably very strong because it has been there for at least four years. What do I do if I get this far? Has anyone ever robbed a gum? How wil I cut the tree open to get into the combs so that I might find the queen? I didnt plan on robbing it until the springtime so that maybe it would help me out because they will have new blooms to start feeding on. Does anyone have a tip for me? I want some bees real bad and didnt get them for christmas. Lol

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Post

    >I have a tree here in northeastern Louisiana and the guy wants me to take it down for him. I just built a hive and I think that this could be a good opportunity to try beekeeping.

    I assume there are bees in the tree.

    >I was wondering if anyone has ever cut out a peice of tree and was able to cut it open and get the queen and start a hive.

    Sometimes. Mostly, though, if you can get some open brood the bees will raise a new queen if you can't find the old one.

    >I was going to cut away all of the main branches then, leave a bigger trunk to use a snatch block to rig on the peice with the bees. After that, I was going to cut and slowly lower the section of tree with the hive in it slowly to the ground. The hive is probably very strong because it has been there for at least four years.

    If it survived four years, I'd keep the queen, unless they are particularly mean, which you won't know until they've settled in. Sounds like good genetics.

    > What do I do if I get this far? Has anyone ever robbed a gum?

    Yes.

    >How wil I cut the tree open to get into the combs so that I might find the queen?

    Every tree is different. I try to cut the tree above and below where the bees are. Once the tree is on the ground I try to tap and figure out where the hallow portion starts at each end and cut where the hollow part just starts. Then make a lenghtwise cut just deep enough to get through the wood and split the portion of the tree with the bees in half length ways. Then cut the combs out and tie them in empty frames, or make swarm catching frames to put them in. I do it with two buckets with lids. One I put honey in. One I put old comb in. Sometimes you have so much honey you need another bucket or two. Any comb with brood I try to save the brood comb and put it in the frames.

    >I didnt plan on robbing it until the springtime so that maybe it would help me out because they will have new blooms to start feeding on. Does anyone have a tip for me? I want some bees real bad and didnt get them for christmas. Lol

    I'd do it early in the spring. Around here I'd shoot for April. In the South you could probably start much sooner.

    Brushy Mt. Bee Farm has a videw called "Free bees for you" that shows some old men cutting down a bee tree and removing the bees, queen and all, without so much as a veil. I'd wear a full suit with a zip on veil and rubber bands on the ankles and wrists. http://www.beeequipment.com/search.asp
    put in item number 943 for the "by product code" search and click on the "go" button next to that box.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    536

    Post

    I have done this once - it was a lot of work and took a lot of time. But I must admit it was fun. I cut the top of the tree down close to where I guessed the cavity was. I then drilled a 1" hole straight down until I hit the cavity. I placed a homemade bottom board with a 1" hole in it that was flat on the bottom (no rails on the sides) over the hole, using rags as "gaskets" to make sure the bees could only exit the log through the hole in the bottom board. The bottom board did not provide an entrance as a standard one does. I put a deep of comb on the bottom board, and made a top entrance by just wedging a stick under the cover of the deep. Once it was dark I came back and covered the old entrance in the log with window screen so the bees had to go through the deep to get out.

    After that I just kept coming back about once a week to see if the queen was in the deep. Once I found her in the deep, I put an excluder under the deep and waited three weeks for all the brood in the log to emerge. I then sealed the hole betweeen the two, opened the old entrance in the log, and let the bees rob the log out.

    This worked great - but I don't know if I just got lucky or if it would work again! I feel compelled to remind everybody that cutting down trees can be very dangerous. A good friend of mine was killed two years ago when a tree he was working on fell on him. Please be careful!

    ------------------
    Rob Koss

  4. #4
    jfischer Guest

    Post

    One wants to bore a "test" hole at the points
    above and below the colony cavity before
    one starts cutting, just to verify that one
    will be cutting through solid wood, rather
    than cutting into the hive itself.

    Cutting with a chainsaw INTO a colony when
    up on a ladder or standing on a branch is
    a recipe for disaster. The bees don't
    like it one little bit.

    Regardless, suiting up in a bee suit, veil,
    and gloves is a very good idea. The brushy
    mountain bee farm video has a bunch of old
    guys doing exactly this, but without the
    "high wire work". Not a one of them is
    wearing any protective gear, not even a pair
    of industrial "eye protectors", something
    that I would put on UNDER my veil.

    Q: What do you call a guy who climbs up in
    a bee tree with a chainsaw without dressing
    for the worst case scenario?

    A: "Lefty"!



    [This message has been edited by jfischer (edited December 31, 2004).]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Post

    I'll admit, working with bees, especially an established hive, as opposed to a normally more docile swarm, high on a ladder is a bad idea. Like driving while talking on a cell phone. It requires that you keep careful focus on what is most important. No matter how many bees are trying to sting you, gravity is the enemy you must remember to focus on. When the bees find their way in, which they will, you still have to calmly climb down the ladder befire you run like a maniac.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    North Hills, CA USA
    Posts
    455

    Post

    Piroqueman: Follow the instructions as posted above. You will learn quite a bit by the experince, being a new beekeeper.
    I have have done both types of tranfers several times. I would recomend to explore
    the size of cavity in the trunk as stated prior to cuting. If the cavity is small then fall the tree as planed, then cut open the trunk and transfer comb and bees on site. If cavity is large and trunk is transportable move trunk at night with screen to contain bees to the new site, bore hole in top cut and place hive box on top as explaned above. This will be a slower transfer but will be the easiest on you and the bees. In ether case the operation should be rewarding for both you and the bees.
    Walt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    san antonio.texas USA
    Posts
    488

    Post

    You might want to try to find and recruit an experienced beekeeper in your area to give you a hand. Perhaps there may be a local beekeeping club near you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    west monroe LA USA
    Posts
    60

    Post

    I will not bee working off a ladder. I have already took down all of the tree except the hollow with the bees in it. I am going to cut it and let it down with a chainfall gently on the ground. Then i will try to find the queen or at least start getting some honey and the combs out. How do you wire the brood combs into a frame? Do you have to use the special wire or can u use tie wire? Thanks for all the info so far.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Post

    http://www.beesource.com/plans/scf/index.htm http://www.beesource.com/plans/swarmfrm.pdf http://www.kohala.net/bees/capture/index.html http://www.kohala.net/bees/capture/tying.html

    I have tied them in with heavy cotton string or held them in with rubber bands or even (with medium frames) hair ties. The hair ties are easy to work with gloves on, but the really fat rubber bands aren't too bad either. I have also used bailing wire that was stapled at one end and wrapped by hand around the frame to hold in the comb. All of these methods work fine. They are all about the same amount of work somewhere with the advatage of the "swarm catching frames" being that the work is done more ahead of time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
    Posts
    469

    Post

    Piroqueman,
    As a treeman(30 yrs) and a beekeeper(25 yrs) I have a few thoughts on your plan.

    If you don't have tree removal skills and the proper climbing equipment,don't do it!Too many knowledgable treeworkers are killed or injured each year.

    If you do have the skills and equipment,don't do it for free!
    Bees are cheap.I can get a 5 frame nuc for about 60$but there are very few tree jobs I'd do for less than 100$

    Just because the guy says that the bees have been there for 4 yrs doesn"t mean its the same bees.Swarms are atracted to the same cavities ,year after year,only to die out from various reasons.Old wax atracts bees.

    The company I work for does over 1000 removals a year(residential,not logging or land clearing)I have found only 2 bee trees in the last 5 years.Both were found in the late fall.Both were picked with a crane,loaded gently in a truck, unloaded with a crane at our shop and the openings faced the same way as they were found.Both were small swarms and were dead in the spring.On the plus side,I did get to teach bees to my crew when we disected the log.

    Would I do it again?In a heartbeat.But I get paid well for it.

    If you still are eager to do it,this is how I'd go about it.Go back on a warm day in early spring and make sure the swarm is still alive and thriving.If it is,come back early some cool morning before the bees are flying and screen the opening well with window screen.Drop the tree with the branches on so it lands gently.If you can't drop the whole tree,top it out and dump the bee log on some brush to cushion the fall.Make sure you leave enough wood so you you don't cut into the cavity.Clear all the brush away so you can easily work on the log.Come back early the next day and the bees will have calmed down.If you can get most of the brood and the queen into a hive,leave it overnight and the rest of the bees will should enterthe hive.

    Oh,and Jim Fischer: The answer to your question is wrong.All chain saws are right handed.After the leg area ,the 2nd most injured area is the left hand http://www.elvex.com/facts08.htm. You could call him righty but I would call him a dumb-***.Stick to what you do best and hire a professional!

    Jack

    Having trouble with the link.If you get the Elvex home page,click on contents and then chain saw injury statistics

    [This message has been edited by Jack Grimshaw (edited January 01, 2005).]

    [This message has been edited by Jack Grimshaw (edited January 01, 2005).]

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    west monroe LA USA
    Posts
    60

    Post

    I have already got the tree almost down. The bees are bringing in pollen right now. The trunk is about 14 feet offf the ground. I am going to chainhoist it down from the other trunk beside it. Yes, I am good at tree cutting. I just needed to know how to get into the tree and how to handle the combs. Thank you for all the information. I will burn all the wood this year so I am benefiting from everything and so is the man that owns the tree.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    west monroe LA USA
    Posts
    60

    Angry

    And I am no dumass also. I have forgotten more than u ever knew. Sorry if you wasnt referring to me as that. But, that sure is what it seemed to me

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    west monroe LA USA
    Posts
    60

    Big Grin

    I have cut more trees down than you have drove by.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
    Posts
    469

    Post

    Piroqueman,
    I apologize for my confusing post.That part of the post was NOT directed at you but to Jims question about an unprepared beekeeper in a tree with a chainsaw.
    I am very aware of the injury statistics for my industry.Unfortunatly,every Harry Homeowner who gets injured on the weekend skews the stats.and affects my insurance rates and brings OSHA breathing down my neck.The last ANSI Standard,Z-133,states that anyone operating a chainsaw in a tree shall wear protective equipment and shall be tied in in two places.These are the laws a comercial outfit has to abide by.
    Again,I apologize for the confusion.I am not making any judgements here on anyones abilities.You sound like you know what you are doing so go for it.Just be careful!!No swarm is worth an injury.
    Jack

    PS. I hope you name isn't Harry

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    west monroe LA USA
    Posts
    60

    Post

    Thanks Jack I quess I had a bad day. The tree isnt any problem. I have it down to about 14 feet tall now. I am going to use a beevac on them. The entrace hole is only about 4 feet off the ground. Have a nice day. Wayne M. in Louisiana

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