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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Crown Point , (NW) Indiana
    Posts
    529
    I have read the various forum posts addressing ferrel bee hives found in hollow cavities in both dead and live trees. I have a live tree that has opening scarely large enough to fit one's four fingers that has housed a small quantity of bees. I notice very little traffic (one to maybe three bees every 10-15 minutes). The chest high opening only reveals that the oak tree is nearly entirely hollow, but the trunk is a good two feet in diameter. The tree is located too close to other viable trees and neighboring property to cut it down. I intended to used a well sharpened chainsaw to quickly cut a "doorway" around the opening that could be opened and closed as future ferrel swarms might be found. In the next few days I intend to "quickly" drill a few holes above and below the opening in an attempt to establish the size of the cavity in the tree (probably with the aid of a little smoke). I intend to use a bee vac that built and have tested on some field bees to retreive the swarm if its viable.
    My questions are:
    1. With such few bees, can the workers be robbing a dead hive?
    2. How do you determin robbing vs. returning bees?
    3. Anyone have any better advice to gain access to the bees other than my "drill" and "doorway" method?
    4. When is too few bees truely too few?

    Consider:
    I have 4 years beekeeping experience about 10 years ago.
    I currently have clean equipment with no established brood or honey stores/comb.
    There is always more than one way to skin a cat, that's of course if you're into eating cats.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    sounds like its not worth it, letm live and maybe they'll send out some swarms next year if they survive. I'd buy some bees instead.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
    Posts
    3,540

    Post

    I have a "Gum" that I brought home in November last year and it survived and gave me a swarm about a month ago so now I have the orginal queen and the hive is still thriveing so I am hopeing for a swarm next year + it is nice to set and watch them fly in and out.

    I sent you a PM wondering where you are in NW In.
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    >1. With such few bees, can the workers be robbing a dead hive?

    The tree may be the dead hive. I take it that's what you mean. Sure it can.

    >2. How do you determin robbing vs. returning bees?

    Some returning bees are carrying pollen as they enter. Robbers do not.

    >3. Anyone have any better advice to gain access to the bees other than my "drill" and "doorway" method?

    Run a hose in and flood the hollow part to get them to exit the hive. This WON'T work if there is comb above the opening.

    >4. When is too few bees truely too few?

    A three pound package goes for about $60 here. How many hours work is that worth?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Milton, Vermont
    Posts
    307

    Post

    Have you checked tosee if there are any more openings possibly higher in the tree with more exit and entry activity? Are the few bees you see coming and going possibly scouts for a swarm?
    It is what it is.

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