This is the first year that I have offered and advertised removing unwanted honey bees from houses, trees, ect. On two different ocaisions I've been called out to hives that were just hanging from a tree or overhang of a house. Both had made cone and were in full brood production. No they wern't fresh swarms.
My question is, wether this is a common thing or not? Until this year I've never see hives like this, although I have seen pics of some. It was my understanding that this didn't happon very often. Am I wrong?
The reason for all of this is, with the v. mite and findings that screned bottom boards help with mite fall off. I was wandering if this a trate of the bees that have made it through all of this without treatment? Hives or swarms that prefer overhangs or open tree limbs to closed up hives inside tree trunks or walls of a house.
That is a very good observation. I have also heard of people being called for swarms that where outside and had built comb already. It does make sense that maybe they figured if they are high enough from the floor the mites can not crawl back up.
I haven't actually seen one, but I've seen pictures for the 30 years or more I've been keeping bees. I always figured that the poor nurse bees who swarmed didn't really know where to go and because of some change in the weather they were abandoned by the field bees who were scouts and then didn't know what to do. But maybe there is something to it. The mites were starting back then.
Yeh, but...I think there is more to be said for the fact that bees have ALWAYS hived up in hollow trees and that beekeepers used to this tendancy to keep bees in hollow logs, or in sections of "bee trees" cut out and placed on stands. That they chose to build comb on a tree branch may be just a accident of nature that indeed the scout bees may have gotten lost or killed before they could make it back to the swarm.
i think another factor may be that,there aren't as many hollow trees anymore(at least here),logging has seen to that.
It happens. Our survey crews at work found a nice large one several years back on a trunk of a large tree under a large limb.
And just this year I had a swarm from one of my apiaries settle high up on a tree. It was too high for me to retrieve (30-40 feet) so I let it go. To my surprise they stayed there. It's been about 6 weeks now and you can now see comb beyond the limits of the cluster.
I hope you keep us posted on how it does. I'll be surprised (but pleased) if it makes it through winter.
Not being too knowledgeable on the subject of mites and such, but it DOES make sense from an evolutionary standpoint of natural selection, that if free hanging hives do limit a mite infection by virtue of mites dropping into the void. And if some strains of bees have a greater tendency to build freely hanging hives than others, that their survival rate MIGHT be higher than the other strains (depending on other factors of survival, such as less protection from the elements and predation and such).
So it may very will be that freely hanging hives MIGHT be more frequent in the foreseeable future. Maybe not, but its IS a real possibility if all the above is accurate conjecture.
Scot Mc Pherson
"Linux is a Journey, not a Guided Tour" ~ Me
Hi I got a call from a friend the week prior to thanksgiving last fall. The leaves stayed late on the trees last season. When the leaves finely dropped she saw a hive hanging in a suac plant. It was about 6' off the ground and weighed about 20 lbs. I cut it down and stood it up in two deep boxes and put a hive top feeder on it . No happy ending here as it did not survive the cold N.Y. winter. Thanks Dan
I also had a call to remove one about six weeks ago.
It was just after a strong storm came through that blew most of it out of the tree it was in.
It was about eight foot up a Maple tree, just above the upper limit of the water sprinkler. He did not want to pay to have it removed and called back a few days later and said it had left.
My guess is that it was a clipped queen and could not fly. The swarm was there long enough to build enough comb to cover about six dinner plates.
They probably superceded the queen and then left with her.
I notice that the majority of unprotected hives are in the sub-tropics, (thats ya'all, south of hera), I doubt that they could withstand a real Kansas winter.
Smack dab in the middle of the country.