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Thread: Feral Bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Rosedale, IN
    Posts
    501

    Default Feral Bees

    I have been trying to capture some feral bees on a friend's property for a couple of years. They are in a hollow tree. Yesterday, they told me there were beekeepers there 30 years ago. Is it possible these bees are from that long ago??

    I sure would like some of those bees! Today I am going back and putting out another trap. Wish me luck.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Posts
    798

    Default

    I did a cutout on Wednesday that the home owner said has been in the house for 15 years. While this is possible, it is also possible that it was not always the same colony year after year (swarms moving into dead outs). The colony was between two adjacent pair of wall studs and went from seal plate to top plate (3 ft x 8 ft). The bees are mostly jet black (about 25% do show some yellow). I am not sure if I got the queen- the bee vac killed a lot of bees due to its also picking up honey (lesson learned). I did get a lot of young brood so they should be able to raise a new queen if I missed her. One surprise was the high number of drones we saw.

    There are a few photos of this extraction at http://www.hamiltonapiary.com/photo.htm
    I will try to get some close ups of the bees in their new home.
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Waxhaw, NC
    Posts
    65

    Default

    The average feral colony lasts about 3.5 years. In that time it builds up and swarms. When the site dies out, it becomes a possible site for a swarm to move into in the future. Look at the wax. The darker it is the older it usually is. The thinner it is, the older in could be. Wax can get so foul that it is to the bees advantage to leave and let the mice and wax moths clean out the site, and then later another swarm will come along.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Cumberland, co.Tennessee
    Posts
    129

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBeeMan View Post
    I did a cutout on Wednesday that the home owner said has been in the house for 15 years. While this is possible, it is also possible that it was not always the same colony year after year (swarms moving into dead outs). The colony was between two adjacent pair of wall studs and went from seal plate to top plate (3 ft x 8 ft). The bees are mostly jet black (about 25% do show some yellow). I am not sure if I got the queen- the bee vac killed a lot of bees due to its also picking up honey (lesson learned). I did get a lot of young brood so they should be able to raise a new queen if I missed her. One surprise was the high number of drones we saw.

    There are a few photos of this extraction at http://www.hamiltonapiary.com/photo.htm
    I will try to get some close ups of the bees in their new home.

    What happend with the bee vac?? i dont know much about them. i tried to make one that i saw plans for and it didnt work good, it seamed the bees were getting killed bouncing down the hose getting to the screen box. thanks
    Donít be to optimistic the light at the end of the tunnel may be a TRAIN !!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oxford, Kansas
    Posts
    1,988

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by poor man View Post
    What happend with the bee vac?? i dont know much about them. i tried to make one that i saw plans for and it didnt work good, it seamed the bees were getting killed bouncing down the hose getting to the screen box. thanks

    the problem may have been to much suction. You only need enough suction that the bees cant fly away from the inside of the hose. What kind of hose did you use. The hose needs to be smooth. not the spiral hose that come with the cleaner.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Posts
    798

    Default

    I had the vac set at too high a speed (too big of hurry). I have used the vac under other situations and had very low kill ratio.

    I have an eight ft intake hose that is a smooth plastic for pools. The box is about 30% larger than a package cage. I insert cages that fit against the intake hose end and cage has a matching hole in wood . Air difuses through screen and once cage is loaded with 3-4 lb of bees I pop it out, cover the intake hole with duct tape and insert a new cage. The shop vac connects to back side with a 25 ft regular pool vac hose. I copied the basic design from a BetterBee vac box but added blocks to hold the cage rigidly inplace. I also added handles on each end so that s strap can be added for carring up ladder and hanging while collecting bees.
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,071

    Default Expiration Date

    Quote Originally Posted by beepowers View Post
    The average feral colony lasts about 3.5 years.
    This has been the speculation floating around in the circle of beekeepers. But to my knowledge, there has never been any good research pertaining to the life of the average feral colony. Thus, we really can’t make a claim with any sort of confidence as to the ’expiration date’ of a feral colony.

    I suspect the speculation evolved from antidotal evidence that beekeepers seeing their domestic colonies, which tended to succumb in approximately 3 years if not treated, and perhaps extended the assumption to what would be occuring in feral colonies.

    Best Wishes,
    Joe
    feralbeeproject.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Cumberland, co.Tennessee
    Posts
    129

    Default riverrat,,,,,,,johnbeman

    sorry took so long to reply... i used a reg vac hose im glad i did i was just testing the vac out on them ahb that i had because i was getting ready to put them in the freezer anyway.. now i know what kind of hose i need my box worked good there was just enough suction that i had to be within a inch of a bee to suck it up but that bumpy ride down the pipe they didnt like......thanks for the replys
    Donít be to optimistic the light at the end of the tunnel may be a TRAIN !!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    North Hills, CA USA
    Posts
    458

    Default Bee Vacuum

    Keep the pickup hose as short as possible. 6 ' is good. Smooth as possible inside.
    I have never used a hose smaller than 2.25" dia. I use an upholstery tool for the pickup end. Do not let honey be sucked inside of hose. Stop and wash if a lot does get in. Keep vacuum pressure as low as possible. Tap vac hose to dislodge stuck bees inside hose from time to time and keep hose as stright as possible from tool to pick up box.
    Use some type of soft material to slow impact of bee when it leaves hose inside of vacuum receving chamber.
    If you have experienced a large loss of bees try placing a plexaglass cover over box to see what is going on after bees are picked up.
    Open vacuum chamber that is screened (large, large hole) to outside air quickly when vacuum is turned off.
    Walt

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,763

    Default

    Putting your bait hive a quarter mile or so away will be an advantage over putting it too close.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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