I "started" removing a nest of bees yesterday afternoon that was between the somewhat exposed floor joists on a carport that has a second floor above it. In other words, the bees were about 10 feet in the air under a second story apartment.
When I got there, there was a basketball size clump of bees hanging from the bottom of the 2 X 12,s. I sucked them up with the bee vac and found the comb and started cutting. It was all capped honey so with each successive comb, I cut a little higher. Turns out the comb was not just hanging below the boards, they went at least 11 more inches up to the base of the floor above. I cut 18 combs of mostly white, newly capped honey. I filled up two 5-gallon buckets with honey and comb and had to squish it down to close the lids on the buckets. I have not finished the honey comb and have not reached the brood nest yet!
That took almost two hours. Most of the time the honey was dripping all over me and chunks of comb were falling on my hat and running down my veil. With the 96 degree weather and darkness headed my way, I opted to quit for the evening. I felt like I had not yet disturbed the brood nest that apparently is extended under (above) a piece of plywood that is still in place. Boy, I'd sure like to get this queen!!!
I have probably the equivalent of a six- to eight-pound package in my vac. The vac is mounted over a super filled with drawn comb and I have ventilated and fed the bees some of their own honey-filled comb so they should be ok at least for today. They are inside a cool dark room.
I won't be able to get back to finish the job for three more days due to doctor’s appointments but I can do some simple things this afternoon late.
Question: Should I just leave the "package" of bees and feed them like a package until I can (hopefully) get the queen or at least some brood? Should I combine them with a weaker hive that I have right now? Should I pull some eggs from my best hive and let them make their own queen?
Ironically, there is another hive almost as big as what I described that is less than a foot away on another floor joist. This one is under other plywood and chicken-wire that is holding up a lot of old insulation and will be a lot more work. Sounds like a full day's work to complete the job.
Lesson learned: (as has been discussed many times here) DON'T quote a specific price for a job without seeing it. Since this is an older gentleman, I quoted a small set fee. Now I'm stuck with several trips plus an additional day. I am going to stick to my word for the fee and then comment on the amount of time and travel expense and I think he will make it worth my while. At least quote a per/hour rate!!!
I have a question about the use of the honey, but I will post that on another thread.
I wouldn't feel bad about leaving the bees for a few days. If you can give them some comb to cluster on they'll be fine. Give them some brood and they'll be ecstatic.