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  1. #1

    Question

    I'd like to capture a swarm that is lodged in the triunk of a hollow silver maple. Problem: the owners do not want to cut down the tree. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    Kathy
    I'd like to capture a swarm that is lodged in the triunk of a hollow silver maple. Problem: the owners do not want to cut down the tree. Any advice?

    Depending upon the hole size for entrance you could either vacume them out and then with a long handle tool cut out the combs and mount the brood combs and melt down the rest, saving the honey.

    Or if hole is too small you could put a cone over the entrance so that bees can leave but not go in with a swarm box rigged besides the hole for the bees to go into.

    Don't know what else to recommend.

    Regards,

    Dee A. Lusby

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Post

    Once the bees are out of the tree via the wire cone or bee escape and snug in the new hive let them settle for a week or two,Allowing brood in the tree to hatch. (You may need to give them a queen.) Then, when you open up the tree the bees will go back in and rob out the honey. I think this is in ABC XYZ of beekeeping.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,213

    Post

    Not to be picky, but it is helpful if we all use the same terminology. A hive in a tree is NOT a swarm. It is a feral hive. A swarm is homeless.

    I have done this many times trying to use the method from ABC XYZ of beekeeping. It does not work as it says, but this does work. This is the method I use if I can't get to the combs because the entrace is too small and the tree is still alive and no one wants to cut it. If you can get to the comb, I use other metods.

    1. Try to find all of the entrances to the hive. Take some wire screen or some 1/8" hardware cloth and cover all of the secondary entrances. Make the cone (as instructed in the method in ABC XYZ of beekeeping, and put this over the main enrance in the middle of a good nectar gathering afternoon.

    2. That evening there will be a huge beard of bees on the cone. Vacumn them up with a shop vac, or, if you have one, a bee vac. (I've never had a bee vac, but they look very nice). Duct tape some screen over the hose, so the bees can't get back out and take them to one of the following: (depending on your intentions to start a new hive, help an old one and if you have existing hives) Either and empty hive with a commercial queen still in the cage, at least two miles or more away from the tree, or a hive body with a frame of brood stolen from one of your existing hives that includes some just hatched eggs (for them to raise a queen) Dump the bees into the hive. Just open the top of the hive and the top of the vacum and rap it sharply (upside down) onto the hive. (note at this point the homeowner is usually freaking out about all the bees that can't get in the hive and is very likely to take a can of raid to the bee beard on the cone. Warning them so they aren't surprised or freaked out is helpful) Also keep checking to make sure the bees haven't found another entrance.

    3. Repeat step two every evening for as long as you feel like it's profitable (meaning you are getting a significant number of bees) and until you feel the hive is very weak.

    4. Now it depends on what the homeowner is willing to let you do, but ideally, you now bring a really strong hive and put it in front of the tree, preferably when there's a dearth. You can, if you want, use sulpher in your smoker to kill the remaining bees in the tree, but if the hive in the tree is sufficiently weak it may not matter. Hopefully now the strong hive will rob out the weak one. Be prepared to check it a lot and put on lots of supers. Some of these hives have 100's of pounds of honey in them and it doesn't take long to MOVE honey compared to making it. If you don't have a hive (except for the one you started with these bees) I'd wait a few weeks before bringing the same bees back to rob it, and you'll have to use the sulpher. The sulpher smoke will kill the bees without poisoning the honey.

    5. When the tree is robbed out take your hive home.

    I have never seen the cone with a hive in front of the tree work. The bees just hang on the cone like a swarm and never move into the hive. Also the queen never leaves the tree no matter how much you steal the field bees.

    If you want to get them out and can get to the combs, I tie (or rubber band) all of the brood combs into frames and steal all of the honey (crush the combs and drain it). Sometimes you can find a queen but I'd have one on hand or plan on letting them raise one from the brood.

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