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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Grifton, NC
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    I picked up a squirrel-house colony the other night. It's like a big plywood birdhouse, but made for squirrels with about a 2" entrance hole and 1/4 drain-holes around the edges of the bottom. The bees took up there about 1 year ago according to the homeowner. It is about an 18" cube. There aren't a lot of bees in there...I think they must have recently swarmed. The box is nailed together so it sholdn't be hard to remove the top. I assume I'll have to cut the combs from inside and tie them into frames in a deep with string. What would be the easiest and most effective way to do this? Do I let the bees go crazy while I transfer the combs? Should I try to shake the bees off first. The bees have about covered over the entrance with propolis and they have combs right up to the hole and they too are propolized with small individual entrance tunnels into the box.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    4,792

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    Cut a large hole on the top. PLace a brood chamber on top. Smoke and drum the bees up into the brood chamber. Slap a queen excluder under it. Give a small top entrance to the brood chamber. Check in a few days to make sure the queen got drummed up. A month later cleanout the now broodless squirrel box.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    5,159

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    Turn it upside down, cut a hole in the bottom and set a nuc box on it.

    The queen will not use the old comb as it is slanting down and will go up into the nuc to lay brood. Once she starts laying in the nuc and the brood is hatched out in the old box bust up the squirrel box and let them all move into the new home. Leave the old comb out in the yard for them to rob out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,282

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    All three of these plans will work. If you intend to cut out the combs, smoke them heavily, wait a few minutes and do it one more time and just do it.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    536

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    I have used odfranks's method to move bees out of a gum before, worked nicely. BB's upside down trick sounds like a good variation. I would try one of these methods first because I'm lazy, and it's much easier than cutting and transferring combs in a cloud of angry bees.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
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    3,536

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    I have moved them out of a gum and a whisky barrell, I just cut a hole in a piece of plywood ( big hole ) and set a hivebody on top and let them move up.

    ikeepbees=lazy=my kind of guy!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Grifton, NC
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    Thanks for the ideas,guys. I want to keep this hive intact as a part of my bee demo when I start doing presentations as I work toward my Master Beekeeper certification several years hence.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
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    1,914

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    I think you got some good advice already, but if you do decide to remove the top, one way to accomplish this (after pulling the nails) is to pull a tight wire under the roof to slice the combs free so you can pull the roof off without tearing comb.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Porter, Ok USA
    Posts
    491

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    I vote with odFrank and IKeepbees. I've done all of this, and cutting up old wild comb to put in frames is a thankless task, even if you wait until all the bees have hatched and moved up into a new box. When you get done all you have is some old, crooked, wild comb tied into frames.

    If you let the bees move up into a new box with either foundation or drawn comb you have a new working hive almost immediately. If you have drawn comb the queen will fill it almost at once and the bees from below will make it a strong hive while at the same time emptying the old comb to feed the new young brood.

    Years ago I built and filled a 1 x 12 "gum" as the old-timers did, crossed sticks and all. It took little time for me to tell that this was an antique I did not want to show off. Took about a week to convert it to a good hive of bees and as soon as all the brood hatched I broke it up for the wax in the comb.

    Quite a contrast between the modern TBH and the old gum.
    Oxankle

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Grifton, NC
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    1,302

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    Well I inverted the squirrel house, tore the bottom out, cut a hole in a piece of plywood, put it on top of the inverted squirrel house, placed a deep with some drawn comb over the hole. I smoked the bees through the entrance hole to the squirrel house, taped over it with duct tape. I put a shim with entrance hole below the deep. Then, when I figured out the bees were ignoring the deep, I put the shim on top, below the telescoping cover. they have about a 3/4" x 4" entrance hole and now they must crawl over the frames and comb to get down below. I cehck in the AM to see if they have started habitating the deep.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    5,159

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    Be patient, they have no choice and it will take them a while to give up their old home.

    The queen will not lay anymore eggs in the old comb as it is now upside down. They will move up in time.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,282

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    They probably will, but they may also rework all the comb in the box. Do you have other hives? If you smoke them all up into the standard box and find the queen and put an excluder on the bottom of the hive so she can't leave and a frame of brood and a frame of honey/pollen, I'll bet she'll stay up top with some attendants who stay for the brood.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Grifton, NC
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    Thanks Michael. I have to go to Boston for a few days. When I get back, if they haven't moved up into the deep box, I'll see if I can find the queen and isolate her in the top with a frame of brood.

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