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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Buda, Texas
    Posts
    922

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    I am doing bee removals at an old farmhouse soon - removals (plural) because there are 3 separate colonies in the eaves of the roof. One of the colonies is pretty defensive - there were still a good 20 bees trying to get at me and stinging my gloves a good 20 minutes after I leaned my ladder up against the roof to get a closer look.
    I was just wondering if anyone has any suggestions on dealing with these bees. Basically, I just plan on suiting up and getting down to teh business of removing combs and vacuuming up the bees, but if anyone has any ideas on how to make the job go easier, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks,

    Jeffrey
    "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. " John 10:11

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

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    smoke???
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

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    sounds like an assistant (minimizes your movement up and down the ladder) and lots of smoke (have an spare going) might help. rubberize stingless gloves are really handy if you have a set and an extra step ladder is nice since the top of the latter gets pretty crowded and you inevitably need somewhere just to set the extra stuff down. the last situation I encounter where multiple hives were strung along a resident such as you describe were significantly africanized. I would suggest you collect samples from each before starting and send the samples to the bee lab here at TAMU especially if you are attempting to capture the hives. wish you luck brother and bee safe as you can.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    948

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    Isaac has the answer: smoke.
    Make sure that the first thing that happens is smoke administered to the colony. Not the banging and clanging of a ladder or the probing of the beekeeper's hands.
    If the entrance is somewhat high you can buy PVC conduit in 1 1/2" or 2" in 10' lengths and puff smoke from your smoker from the ground before you even place the ladder. The smoke will flow right up the conduit to the colonies' entrance.
    Smoke is the answer, but it must reach the agressive colonies BEFORE they become alarmed, not after.
    Make it a cool white heavy smoke.
    You should do fine.

    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Buda, Texas
    Posts
    922

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    Excellent advice with the smoke. When I looked at the bees the first time, I had gently placed the ladder, climbed up, moved aside a small branch, then smoked them at the entrance - but the smoker was not putting out all that much at that time. So the idea of plenty of smoke introduced before I get close sounds good.
    My old edition of Kelley's beekeeping book mentions using ammonium nitrate in the smoker to create nitrous oxide - a possibly risky move to the beekeeper as well (or maybe it would make the job that much more enjoyable [img]smile.gif[/img] ) Maybe I will just stick with damp burlap.
    tecumseh, I am glad you mentioned sending a sample to TAMU; I will definitely do that and bee curious as to the results. As aggressive/defensive as these bees appear to be, I think I am just going to vacuum them up instead of trying to save them - a pity, but sure do not want them at my home yard.
    "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. " John 10:11

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

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    well you are on that bit of transitional geography where the humidity is dropping off to zero and the probablilities of encountering africans and highly hybridized european is approaching 1. so first off bee careful.

    since the comb you encounter is bound to be natural you could also do a bit of measurement and draw you own rough conclusion(s), especially since you seem to plan to not save the hives.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,365

    Post

    The bee vacuum will usually demoralize them in short order. I had one recently where I vacuumed bees for over an hour before I felt like crawling under the trailer with them. I really dislike cutouts that I have to work from underneath.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Auburn and Tri-Cities Washington
    Posts
    334

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    You donÂ’t have to kill them with the vacuum. I made a bee vac with a five gallon bucket and some pvc pipe. There is an article here on beesouce that shows a picture of the one I modeled mine after. I put some duct tape over the outlet of the vacuum to reduce the flow so that as they land in the bucket without killing them. I suck up as many as possible if they are mean before I start pulling things apart. If the entrance is small and a vacuum can cover most of it then feel free to stuff the vacuum in, turn it on, and then aggravate them a little. This gets them flying out and you just suck them up. Like Ross said this seems to demoralize them and they are much gentler after that. You could probably do this the day before the removal or even repeat it several days before the removal to get as many as possible. If you don't want the keep them as a hive then just add them to your other hives or hive them and give them a new queen. In a month they will be much tamer and you will have a new hive. Also my bees that have been gentle all summer have been much more defensive the last couple of weeks due to a dearth in my area and I'm guessing you have been in a dearth for much longer. Good luck.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,906

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    I like to use the cone method to depopulate the hive before I tear into it. I just brush off the acculated field bees into a box and haul them back to my place. Then I can work with the remainder in peace.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    san antonio.texas USA
    Posts
    488

    Post

    Make sure your insurance is up to date. Make sure no animals in the area.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Buda, Texas
    Posts
    922

    Post

    Once again, thanks to everyone for the excellent advice.
    I learned a something that should have been pretty obvious: you use a LOT more smoke doing a removal than you do with your own bees. Not just a fair bit more (which I had been doing) but a whole lot more. I did that, and had very little trouble. The bees were relatively calm, and became completely dispirited once I really started dismantling their home (poor bees!)
    Anyway, thanks again for all the good advice.
    (I decided it would be pointless to send the bees to the bee lab for a test after seeing how well the copious smoking defused the situation; but I have the form and address ready for the future)
    "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. " John 10:11

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    East TENNESSEE
    Posts
    100

    Post

    An old timer told me if you want to get a bees attention with smoke, use some homemade tobacco in a smoker. It works for me.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    East TENNESSEE
    Posts
    100

    Post

    An old timer told me if you want to get a bees attention with smoke, use some homemade tobacco in a smoker. It works for me.

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