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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    36

    Post

    Hello all, my first post. Been lurking heavily for a few weeks. Thanks for all the great info.. I've got some questions about starting up my Kenyan TBH, along with some basic bee questions that I'll ask here on this forum (seems the top bar guys know more about bees anyway )
    A feral swarm built a hive about 4 weeks ago in an underground cavity, and I plan on taking those to transfer to my KTBH Saturday. What I want to know is, does the following sound like a good plan-
    Around sunset, vaccuum out as many bees as I can get. Smoke the rest, open the hive and vaccuum the remaining bees. Remove comb and wire into "swarm ketching frames" and place in center of KTBH (positions 3 + 4). Any scrap comb- place in bottom of KTBH, along with a shallow dish of honey water. Follower board limits hive to (6) 1 1/4" bars and (3) 1 1/2" bars (in rear of hive). Reduce entrance (exit) by 75%. Place vaccuum box on top of KTBH so that bees can move down into new home. Pray.
    Any suggestions on the above? Anything I might be missing as a newbee? Thank you,
    Randy Davis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
    Posts
    405

    Post

    >(seems the top bar guys know more about bees anyway [Wink] )

    Bet you say that to all the beeks

    Welcome and enjoy.

    I'm low on experience but i'll share my opinions but you must remember the first part. Here goes-

    >A feral swarm built a hive about 4 weeks ago in an underground cavity

    From what i've heard, that's quite common for AHB. Not to discourage, but watch for the signs like VERY defensive reactions to invasion of their home and long follows after the same. Do not attempt without a good, full beesuit and duct tape for the ankles and wrists. I've recently taken to wearing the rubber gloves used for housework. They are more nimble and i get fewer stings than with leather gloves. Expect stings.

    >vaccuum out as many bees as I can get.

    I tried the vacuum on some AHB once and it did not go over well with them. I think that the motor really set them off. I would take the vacuum but use it if you think it would be of value, not as the first line of attack. It was the first and only time i used it.

    >Around sunset

    It may take longer than you think. You don't want to be working in the dark. You don't want to feel pressured for time. You want to be able to really enjoy this experience.

    >Remove comb and wire into "swarm ketching frames" and place in center of KTBH (positions 3 + 4). Any scrap comb- place in bottom of KTBH,

    and get bees in there to cover the brood.

    > Follower board limits hive to (6) 1 1/4" bars and (3) 1 1/2" bars (in rear of hive).

    I've used follower boards and they have worked well for me.

    >a shallow dish of honey water.

    This i don't know about. I would use sugar water syrup, 1 to 1, in a zip-lock bag in the bottom where they can get to it and slice a few slits with a sharp razor so they can get to the syrup.

    >Reduce entrance (exit) by 75%.

    Depends on how big your entrance is, and how hot it is. The fresh (4 weeks) comb will be very fragile and tender, and will get to be real soft in the heat.

    In just four weeks, they may not have built alot of comb. Watch for brood, capped and uncapped, and eggs, this is what you are after. Brood will help anchor the colony into their new home. Be as careful with it as you can. The queen will really help anchor them, but you would be truely blessed if you were to spot her. The bees will migrate to where she is, so you want to watch for that sign to tell you you've got her in where you want her.

    After just four weeks they should not be too nasty if they are AHB, but be prepared for that just in case, expect the worst- hope for the best.

    If you can take your TBH to the site , do the removal and leave it until after dark. If you've gotten the queen, they will all be inside. You can then screen all entrances/exits and move it to it's permanent location and de-screen it. They will be mad- they don't like the move, but they will be there.

    If you can't, or don't want to take the whole TBH(maybe too big/bulky/unstable) and you've got the time, make a TBH nuc of about 5 bars worth and start them in there. 1 1/4" bars are all you need at this point. You might need a screen top unless you use the kind with the dowels into the bar. I've not used these, but they sound like a good idea. Then you can take that to your hive and just move them in.

    I'm sure i've missed some important points, but that's all i got for now. Take your time, look at what you are doing and see as much as you can. Listen and smell. Should be really cool and rewarding.

    Let us know how it goes.

    -j

    [size="1"][ July 01, 2006, 03:12 AM: Message edited by: jim b ][/size]
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    36

    Post

    Thanks Jim-
    I do have a full suit with nice gloves from Dadant. Can they really sting through those gloves?? Good to know. As to whether they are AHB, not sure, not enough experience to say. I have however popped the top panel off the irrigation access hole (where they are currently) on two occasions. The first time was without smoke. I got about a dozen head butts and the
    rest were pretty irritated, but it didn't seem abnormal to me considering I lifted their entire home up 8 inches. Lasted about 20 seconds and then put them back.
    Second time was with smoke, much better behaved, most huudled around the combs (There are about 4 hand sized combs now) A few returning bees buzzed around me, again tho, didn't SEEM to be anything unusual to me. Lasted about 40 seconds then put them back.
    I hear you on the vaccuum, but if I don't use it, what should I do to make the transfer to the TBH?

    >You want to be able to really enjoy this experience.
    Funny yes.

    I have several vent holes, so I hope reducing the entrance won't make too much of a heat issue. The main entrance is about 1/2" by maybe 8".
    The TBH is located about 20 feet away from the where the bees are now. Transporting should be OK. I'll go with the sugar syrup then.

    >You might need a screen top unless you use the kind with the dowels into the bar. I've not used these, but they sound like a good idea.

    Sorry, lost me on this.

    Still a little unclear (and nervous) about getting the BEES from point A to point B, especially if I don't vaccumm them out. Any help on this?
    Thanks Jim for the lengthy reply.
    Randy Davis

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
    Posts
    405

    Post

    Randy-

    Sounds like you've got things well in hand.

    These sound like really nice bees. If they are AHB, you may not notice til later on after they are well established.

    I dont know about your gloves, you probably wont get stings, but dont be surprised if you do. You are really tearing up their world and they are not going to like it.

    > (There are about 4 hand sized combs now)

    This probably wont take too long, you sound like you really pretty much know what you're doing.

    >most huudled around the combs

    This is how you can get bees from point A to point B. Once you get combs and the queen into the hive, they should begin fanning their nasonov pheromone and the fliers will find them. Twenty feet should not be any problem for them. If there are still lots of bees in the original location, try brushing bees off a comb into the hive and placing it back to where more can climb on. Repeat as neccessary. I made a bee brush by gluing some feathers onto the end on a stick. You may be able to find a nice seagull feather to use instead,. That would be better. Flick gently, if that's possible.

    >I have several vent holes

    So do i and it works well for me so far.


    >You might need a screen top unless you use the kind with the dowels into the bar. I've not used these, but they sound like a good idea.

    This comes from some previous posts here where someone had the idea to drill and fasten dowels into a topbar, even at an angle to match the slope of the hive, and use these as support to tie the combs onto. Check back awile on a post started by TX Ashurst on TBH swarm catching frames.

    >>You might need a screen

    Disregard.

    >Still a little unclear (and nervous)

    Dont be, You'll do great.

    Gotta go. I'll check back later for an update. Take you time to really enjoy, it'l be so cool!
    -j
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Central Oklahoma
    Posts
    26

    Post

    Randy, you sound like you are exactly where I was about 4 weeks ago. See my thread: That was SO COOL!!!!

    It even sounds like your bees are in a similar hive and have about the same amount of comb, etc.
    I hope reading my experience gives you an idea of what it will (might be) like. We did end up going back and putting some of the comb in swarm catching frames, so if you have something rigged up then you are already ahead of the game.
    Good luck and have fun!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,120

    Post

    >A feral swarm built a hive about 4 weeks ago in an underground cavity...

    I've never seen a feral swarm of honey bees in an underground cavity. I would have my doubts about them being honey bees. Then, if they are honey bees, I'd have my doubts about them being EHB instead of AHB.

    Flying insects that live in a colony underground, here, are usually either yellow jackets or bumble bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    36

    Cool

    Well that was awesome!!
    Thanks to everyone for your inputs, made things go alot smoother I'm sure. Special thanks to M. Bush who runs a great forum, and who took the time to personally answer my emails. I ended up doing the transfer tonight (Monday) instead of Sat. Decided against using the vaccuum, instead smoked them, then moved the lid which had most of the comb attached to it over to the KTBH. Pulled the combs out one at a time and placed them in the ketching frames I had built. If I had to do that part over again, at least as a first timer, I would definately go with the hinged variety. Having to wire up one side of those frames in the feild, real-world, is NOT so fun. It went OK, but wiring those things up in practice runs in my garage does not compare to how it goes when doing it for real with gloves on etc. etc.
    (Does comb orientation matter? I put some in sideways and didn't think about it until I was finished. I remember someone saying that upside down is bad. Also, what about "flipped-over"?)
    Anyway, moved the loaded frames into the hive. Problem was, the lid (old hive) had many deep convolutions, and that made getting the remaining bees out an issue. Smacking the lid on the top didn't really work.
    Plus there was still about 20% of the combs still in the hole which could not be removed. So I had 3 groups of bees- those in the new hive, those still in/on the lid (old hive), and those on the remaining comb in the ground cavity (old hive). AND I had no idea where the queen was. And just when I was asking myself- Self, what am I going to do about this, I saw her right in front of me. Wow was all I could think. She was in one of the partitions of the lid, and she was beautiful. I reached in carefully with curved end of the hive tool and lifted her out, carefully moved her to the KTBH and placed her on the floor. Awesome. I vaccuumed out the remaining bees from the cavity (many more feild bees had returned by now) so there were at least a couple thousand to suck up. Moved the vaccuum box over to the KTBH and opened the lid so they could move in.
    I tried to be careful, but still managed to get a bit of honey everywhere. From what I've read about robbing on this forum, I would think a tranfer operation like this would be best done AWAY from the beeyard and other hives- it's messy breaking those combs off.
    I'll admit I was quite nervous going in to this, and pretty much nervous throughout, but when it was all finished I found myself sitting next to the hive watching all the activity and goings-on. Truly awesome- and will be more so if I did things well enough that they decide to stay.
    No stings either
    Thanks for letting me ramble,
    Randy Davis

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,120

    Post

    >Special thanks to M. Bush who runs a great forum

    Barry runs the forum. I'm not even the moderator on the TBH forum. But I'm glad I could help.

    >I ended up doing the transfer tonight (Monday) instead of Sat. Decided against using the vaccuum, instead smoked them

    That would be my choice. I've killed too many with a vacuum.

    > then moved the lid which had most of the comb attached to it over to the KTBH. Pulled the combs out one at a time and placed them in the ketching frames I had built. If I had to do that part over again, at least as a first timer, I would definately go with the hinged variety.

    They make like a lot easier.

    > Having to wire up one side of those frames in the feild, real-world, is NOT so fun.

    Exactly. But it works.

    > It went OK, but wiring those things up in practice runs in my garage does not compare to how it goes when doing it for real with gloves on etc. etc.

    And bees on the combs, and honey dripping everywhere...

    >(Does comb orientation matter? I put some in sideways and didn't think about it until I was finished. I remember someone saying that upside down is bad. Also, what about "flipped-over"?)

    Right side up is best. They will just attach that and use it. upside down or sideways may get filled with honey but the queen probably won't like them to lay in becuase they aren't sloped right.

    >Plus there was still about 20% of the combs still in the hole which could not be removed.

    That's a problem. It's difficult to get them to abonadon the old hive if there are combs there.

    >I saw her right in front of me. Wow was all I could think.

    It's tricky to keep in the back of your mind that you want to see the queen while doing all of the rest of this, but sometimes, if you can keep it in mind, you do. Often you don't, and that shouldn't stop you. But it's a rush when you do.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    If you got brood comb in the tbh, then they'll stay if you leave them alone for a few days. Don't do any "hive surgery" this year since its really too late in the season for them to recover twice. Next spring you can start working on making the nest easier to work. And you can make a split or two from this hive when you do clean it up.
    Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org\" target=\"_blank\">http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org</a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/\" target=\"_blank\">http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/</a>

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