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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
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    147

    Default Capturing Feral Bees

    My neighbor knows where there is a "wild" honeybee hive in a log. I've never seen it yet but when he mentioned it the first thing I though was that I'd like to go and get it or at least transplant the queen into one of my boxes.

    I'm over here in Northern Mexico and don't have much access to beekeeping stuff like all you over there in more developed countries have.

    Since I've never seen it I don;t know what to think of it yet. Tomorrow I may go out there and take some pictures to bring back here.

    I guess it would be like a cutout. So are these really hard to do? I only have a veil, gloves and smoke.

    When would be a good time to do it too? Right now there are no flowers so all the bees are a lot less active.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Pigeon Falls, WI
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    2,527

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Treat it like a cut out using a chain saw. Difficulty rating depends on the ability of the person doing it. If you end up not being successfull it will at least be a learning experience for you. Beware they might be really aggresive so smoke them well during the process.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
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    5,125

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Unless the log is in danger of being moved/removed, bees being killed. I would leave them. I would set out swarm traps in the area and catch the swarms from that hive. Especially if the hive has been there for years. (Probably good genetics) You could probably get 2 swarms a year from it. I have one location like this. They live in an old run down barn that ainít going anywhere anytime soon. Caught a swarm from them early this year. Great honey producers, I havenít seen any mites on them, fast builders. Plan on splitting that hive and let them raise there own queen next year, and capturing another swarm or 2 from the main location.
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    OPP, Al USA
    Posts
    415

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Inspect the Bees and the Comb well before bringing it home. The last Bee Tree we did the owner wanted us to cut it down after hec got home at five o'clock. We only had time to cut it down plug the entrance with grass and load it on a trailer. Next morning we opened up the log to find it was occupied by more SHB than Bees.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Hambone View Post
    Unless the log is in danger of being moved/removed, bees being killed. I would leave them. I would set out swarm traps in the area and catch the swarms from that hive. Especially if the hive has been there for years. (Probably good genetics) You could probably get 2 swarms a year from it. I have one location like this. They live in an old run down barn that ainít going anywhere anytime soon. Caught a swarm from them early this year. Great honey producers, I havenít seen any mites on them, fast builders. Plan on splitting that hive and let them raise there own queen next year, and capturing another swarm or 2 from the main location.
    I like this idea better than me going in and destroying it. This way the established colony is preserved.

    Is there any information out there on how to effectively attract swarms?

    I seen a swarm about a month and a half ago that went right over me and my hive so I know there are swarms around but I have no idea how to attract them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Pigeon Falls, WI
    Posts
    2,527

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Search "swarm lure" or "swarm trap"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
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    147

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    I went and looked at this beehive today to see what it would be like.

    They seem to be well mannered bees and they weren't real bothered by me being there. Since I couldn't see into the hive very well I took out my smoker and gave the log a few puffs so that I could hear the rumble.

    Seems there's a fair amount of bees inside and everything is all strong.

    If you'd like to see a picture and read a bit more about it please have a look at my posting here: http://www.beinggreenonline.com/dail...ung-doing-bees (article mentions BeeSource.com as well, thank you people)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
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    147

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Anybody have any advice on how to move these girls?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    1,398

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Lot of white comb with no bees. Is this because you smoked them heavily?
    De Colores,
    Ken

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
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    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by USCBeeMan View Post
    Lot of white comb with no bees. Is this because you smoked them heavily?
    No I never smoked them THAT much. I just blew a little bit in so I could hear more or less how strong the hive is without moving anything. For this time of year it was pretty active too, but I only have my own hive to compare it too.

    The white, empty comb was visible without moving anything. They actually had empty comb on the outside too, just a small piece that I broke off before I took the picture.

    Since it's "winter" here and there is no real bloom right now I'm guessing that they've already consumed anything that was ever put in those combs.

    Based on the location of their entrance I'd think they're occupying a good 2 to 2-1/2 feet of the log but the log isn't all that big either.

    Only will ever know if it's broke open!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
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    5,125

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Cactii View Post
    Anybody have any advice on how to move these girls?
    Like I was talking about earlier. About leaving them. Can you in this case? If so. I would go back with a butcher knife and cut out the comb that is not being used by them, that you can reach easily. It's whiter than I would like to use (Older, darker, the better for swarm traps) I would rubber band that cut comb to some frames and place in a hive setup a 1/2 +/- mile away. Place 4-7 drops of Lemmon Grass Oil (1-2 on the combs, 1-2 at the entrance, 1-2 on top of the frames) Repeat the lemmon grass drops every 4 weeks. During peak swarm season. You probably won't have to repeat the drops.
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    I really wish that I could leave them there but the problem is that they could be destroyed at any time and the whole thing would be a loss.

    I'm in Mexico and they don't have a lot of respect for nature over here.

    A few lots down from this has already been cleared of the type of debris that the hive is made in. I'm afraid that they'll pour gasoline on it or something and then just light it up.

    If it was in a location that wasn't being developed I'd leave them but in this case I'd rather try and save them.

    Thanks for the info and advice though.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
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    141

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Cactii, They seem to be in a position where there is a lot of small and broken timber and your pic does not seem to show a tree as such. Is the colony housed inside a tree or is it outside the tree under a lot of loose timber?

    From the pic it seems to be outside the tree and there is a lot of loose timber covering it. If this is the case I think that I would peel off the loose timber covering the colony until I exposed the outside of it.. ie if I took off anything more I would be opening the hive.

    At this point you should be able to see exactly what you have and I suspect that you would find that you could be able to remove the timber starting from the outside and moving the comb into frames. Once you get to the bees I would start shaking them into a box which has the colony's brood comb now in frames. Then continue until done

    If the hive is actually contained in a tree then you have to remove the part of the tree to your home or where ever you can open up the hive and break down the comb and move it into the frames

    Hope this helps

    Mick

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
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    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    SlickMick,

    Your correct, it is a fallen tree that has been covered by a lot of debris. The bees don't actually live in the debris but in the fallen tree.

    As you stated, I (should) be able to remove all the debris first to get at the fallen tree. Lucky for me wood doesn't last very long over here and I should be able to open it up fairly easily.

    You make it sound easy! Thanks

    What I was hoping for is some information on the best time of day to do this. Right now daytime highs are mid 80's but the lows are down to the high 20's.

    Yesterday around noon, which was the first time I had seen the hive, they were active and a few bees were flying in and out of the hive. There's not much to eat here for them right now so this makes me wonder if I should have some feed set up for them as well. I like to make candy frames and could have one of these ready before I move them.

    Also, I can't move the bees 2 miles and can only move them less than a mile as I have nowhere else to put them. Will that be a problem?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Whilst never having removed a tree with bees in it, I think I would go about it this way.

    I would clear the loose timber from around the colony and would make any cuts necessary to free the tree from where it is. I would get all your lifting gear attached so that you can swing the tree part onto your transport. I would do this during the warmer part of the day when the field bees are out. At dusk when most of the field bees have returned I would seal the entrance/s and swing the tree and its colony onto your transport. If there are lots of bees that aren't housed I would cover it with shade cloth or something similar so that you dont lose bees during transport.

    Take them to their new location. I dont think 1 mile will be a problem. Leave the entrances covered for a while the next day before you release them. They should orient ok. If you are going to hive them I would let them rest for a few days or so before you go through the process of cutting them out of the tree. Just remember to lie the tree in the same orientation as it was under all that debris so that the comb is the right way up.

    I hope that helps and I will be really interested in how you get on with it

    Mick

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    1,398

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    With temp changes from 20 to 80 I would probably try to remove as much of the debris as possible even if it took a couple of days. Just put a tarp over the and leave an entrance.

    You could then decide how big the colony really is at that time. You can be the judge as to how much time it would take to open the tree to get to the bees. Again, you could put a tarp over the for the night, but I wouldn't do it for more than 1 night.

    To me I think it would be best to hive the bees right there as described above. Leave the bees there overnight and then take them home the next night. They will have some orientation to their new hive/home the first night and settle down. Either staple the entrance shut or shove straw or cloth in the entrance before moving them.

    Have the place you plan on putting the new hive already prepared so that when you bring them home that night all you have to do is put them in place. Put some kind of top feeder on them at that time. Put a lot of sticks in front of the entrance before opening it up. The more the better so that the will immediately reorientate them selves. (I used the sticks to successfully move a hive around 20'.)

    Well now you have a lot of options to pick from. BTW, if you have a 2nd beesuit, you should have someone helping you.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    USCBeeMan,

    Thanks for the advice. I like the idea of moving the debris and stuff first. I need to cut some brush back so that I can have good access to the site as well. I'm sure I'm going to want to be as comfortable as can possibly be and have unimpaired movement.

    I didn't know that I'd be able to leave them there like that, so that is good news.

    Right now I'm wishing that I had just one bee suit let alone a helper! I may try and locate a beesuit here and if I can't I have a heavy jacket that I can use with a bunch of duct tape.

    I'm going to try and film it as I think it will be really exciting for people to see. I just hope it's not a movie about a man screaming like a little girl and running all over the place.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Bellville TX
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    I agree Videos of a grown man running around screaming like a little girl is always good entertainment.

    I ordered a beesuit with a kit and it turned out to be no more than a pair of white coveralls. No extremely protective but better than nothing.

    Good Luck on the cut out
    Tony

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Bighorn06 View Post
    I agree Videos of a grown man running around screaming like a little girl is always good entertainment.

    I ordered a beesuit with a kit and it turned out to be no more than a pair of white coveralls. No extremely protective but better than nothing.

    Good Luck on the cut out
    Tony
    I was thinking about getting those white coveralls for painting. I think the object of the beesuit is just to have something loose enough around you that when the bees try to dig their stinger into you the don't reach your skin.

    Like I said, I'm going to try NOT to make it a video about a grown man screaming like a little girl.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    1,398

    Default Re: Capturing Feral Bees

    Looking forward to the videos!!! Keep us informed.
    Wish you the best.
    De Colores,
    Ken

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