We are wanting to relocate bees that live in a rural apartment renovation, they swarm through one empty window pane...
We have been given some feedback about bees, swarms, and hives, and "funnel" designs to safely lead them out-of-doors...
? should I darken the perimeter of the window pane (do bee go towards light?) to help them find their way?
Thank You for any helpful info!
There is not really enough information here to know how to help you. The term "swarm" means homeless bees that are looking for a home and I don't think that's what you have. You say they "swarm through one empty window pane" Do you mean that there are a lot of bees coming in and out? Are there just a lot of them in? Is there an entrance to someplace they appear to be living? You can't lead bees anywhere that I know of, but you can stop up entrances with wire screen or hardware cloth (1/8" or less). And you can put a cone up that they can get out but not back in. In a wall, one of the triangular bee escape boards might even work. But now they can't get back in, but they won't go away. They will just cluster on the escape or the cone in a huge beard.
I'm guessing from your description that this is not a straightforward case of bees in the walls, and that your perception of what the situation is, what can be done and how to do it is probabaly a bit off.
Probably you should not attempt to do anything with them simply because all of the things I'm going to say still require a good understanding of bee behaviour and adjustments based on how the bees are behaving at that moment. Pressures on bees vary by weather, honey flow, etc.
I assume you think you have bees living in a building. Part of the question is where in the buidling? If they are in the walls they are probably living between the studs. I have seen them in the attic and they were going in and out of a hole in the soffit (the overhang of the roof). What to do depends on the access you have to the hive, how much damge you can do to their habitaion and how brave you are. I've seldom taken an entire colony from walls or trees (where I actually take all the comb and honey) and not gotten stung a few times.
Your description that they "swarm through one empty window pane" does not sound like they are simply in the walls.
Usually the position I'm in is that they are in a large tree that is in someones yard that they don't want damaged, or they are in the walls of someone's house that they don't want damaged. If this is the case I do the following:
1. Try to remove as many bees as possible to a hive (or an empty hive with a queen) more than a couple of miles away.
2. Kill the remaining bees in a way that does not poison the honey.
3. Have the bees rob out the honey.
To accomplish the removal of the bees, I close up all the entrances I can find except the main one, and this I cover with the funnel. You'll need some chicken-wire-staples or a little staple gun and some wire screen.
The next problem I often have is the occupants of the house freak out because they have never seen as many bees as are now clustered on their house (or tree). Sometimes they freak out and spray them with raid and the whole thing was a waste of time. I vacum up the bees every afternoon with a shop vac. If you want to speed the process you can remove the cone at night or not even use a cone, just open the entrance up every evening after you sweep up the bees and close it every afternoon after the field force is out. Either way I use a shop vac (or see the bee vac plans) and vacumn them up. I take them to my hive two miles or more away and dump them in there. After a few days of this there will be very few bees left.
Sulfer smoke will kill bees. You do have to be careful not to catch the house on fire though, but you need to smoke them very heavily. Watch what you're doing so you are not blowing flames.
You may have to skip the sulfer smoke if you can't figure out how to do it safely, and it is very difficult and requires practice to do it safely.
Now if the bees are dead or weak enough you put a hive in front of it. Preferably a strong one, but if you have to, you can use the one you started by removing the bees if you wait a few weeks before bringing them back. Hopefuly they will rob out the honey from the house.
When they are done you can remove the hive to wherever you want it.
Obviously none of this works with people who are afraid of having bees around their house because for a while, and certainly from the house occupant's perception there will be many more bees around.
I wish you luck.