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Thread: Trap-Out method

  1. #1

    Arrow Trap-Out method

    I am a newbie to beekeeping, have only been keeping hives again for a few years. I just began catching swarms with the hope of building up my small apiary. I've found there is a lot I don't know and a lot to learn.

    The local agricultural center is, as well as pest control companies, giving out names of people on their lists who remove swarms. Like other beekeeps in the area, I'm getting calls about swarms moving into or becoming established in houses. I've never tried to remove a swarm from a house and I did not realize until talking with Iddee that there was another way (the trap-out method) of successfully removing bees from a home, other than getting a carpenter and actually going into the structure and removing them and the comb, which is costly to the homeowner and which I have no experience doing. Many people can't afford to do this.

    The other alternatives seemed to be to either live with the honeybees, which most people, don't want to do, find a way to make them leave, or kill them. If they are killed or made to leave, the honey still remains in the walls and will cause a problem, draw more bees or other insects. So I was for awhile at a loss on what to advise people to do.

    I read about putting steel wool in the entrance where they were coming and going from, advised folks that called as best I could when they indicated they could not afford to have construction done or when they chose to kill the bees instead of having them removed. This resulted, apparently, in a few colonies being killed. Though I was trying to help people who had these insects invade their homes, I wish I'd never advised them. If people choose to kill honeybees then that's their choice but it's not mine.

    Other beekeepers in the area also are advising that they can't remove the bees from houses and for folks to call the exterminators. I got a call this afternoon from a woman who had bees going into her brick foundation and had gotten into the insulation and in the house. The ag center had given her several references for folks to call to remove them. It was later in the afternoon before I received her message and could explain to her about the trap-out method and that the bees could have been removed without being killed. She had contacted other beekeeps who told her nothing could be done and it was best to exterminate them. By the time I spoke with her she had called a pest control company and had them exterminated.

    These beekeeps didn't know they could be removed with the trap-out method.
    Few beekeps who remove bees seem to use this method, many like me did not know about it, even the bee person at the Forsyth Agricultural Center hadn't heard of it and had trouble understanding how it worked. I did too at first until I saw Iddee use it.

    The Forsyth County Beekeepers Association has a website and a section on honeybee removal. They state that " Trapping is sometimes done, but it is rarely practical because it takes several weeks and doesn't remove 100% of the bees. If you do decide to exterminate them, any large quantities of honey left behind should be removed to avoid staining and destruction of inside walls or ceilings. The honey and nest debris may also attract other bees, insect pests and rodents."

    Yet Iddee says the Trap Out method he uses works, and that the bees will go in and remove the honey. Wouldn't it be more practical and certainly beneficial to use this method? In it, apparently, the bees exit via a cone that they cannot enter back in through. The trap-out is left in place until the bees have left the house and made their home in a nearby hive that has brood comb in it. Once the colony is established the trap out (cone over the entrance) is taken down, the bees go in and remove the honey but return to the hive, their new home, rather than remain in the house. Then, the entrance to the house closed up so other bees can't get in. It’s not inexpensive, but certainly it is not as expensive as tearing into a home or office building, or paying someone to go in and take out the bees comb but leave the resulting repairs needed the burden of the homeowner. And as bees are needed it seems most prudent and practical.

    And given that more bees are needed, and more beekeepers, couldn’t some sort of grant be developed to help homeowners with the costs of this kind of removal? Maybe beekeepers that do these removals could be paid through these funds, offsetting their expenses and the resulting expense to the homeowners, encouraging apiculture?
    Last edited by gingerbee; 05-13-2008 at 07:08 PM.
    Try to learn something new every day and give thanks for all your blessings.

  2. #2
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    Bees may remove the honey, but they won't remove the rest of the organic matter(residual honey, dead bees and larvae, wax, pollen, etc. that will attract vermin. The queen will seldom leave and there will always be a few bees that won't leave either.

    The homeowner should be willing to pay. I don't see how a grant(from what source?)could work. I think homeowner's insurance should pay.Whether it does or not, I have no idea.
    Banjos and bees... how sweet it is!

  3. #3

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    Hi Beegee

    Even so, it would save most of the colony and if brood was provided they could make their own queen.

    Some folks simply can't afford the cost of going in and removing the bees and comb. Some don't care, bees and beekeeping isn't their concern (a lack of food might change their perspective).

    Homeowner's is an idea worth suggesting but I don't even know if our own would cover removal.

    A grant from where? USDA maybe could develop one? It just seems a lot of colonies could be saved.
    Try to learn something new every day and give thanks for all your blessings.

  4. #4
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    >>>>The queen will seldom leave and there will always be a few bees that won't leave either. <<<<

    I challenge you to open a hive I have trapped out and prove this statement. In my opinion, it is false. The queen will come out and every adult, live bee in the cavity will come out with her. Once a cavity is robbed out, there is very little left, and nothing to run and damage the dwelling. Old wax, dried and brittle, can be found in many buildings. It does no harm.

    Too many statements are made after an incomplete or improper trapout is made.

  5. #5
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    Iddee:

    Can you give us a step by step instruction on how to do a trap out. What is involved, what steps are needed, common mistakes and things to look out for.

    Thank you in advance! (p.s by the way, another round of packets are going out this week and yours is included.)
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  6. #6
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    I have a friend who removed 2 55-gallon drums of debris from a wall hive. Roaches, dead mice,ants, etc. I don't think I'd like to leave that in my walls. A couple of us did a removal from an old barn last year. The combs were 8' long and there was 1-2' of crap in the bottom of the wall cavity.

    I have another friend who routinely traps bees out of buildings and he tells me that he seldom gets the queen. Even if he does, he requeens that colony.

    I'm fixin' to trap some bees from an oak tree with one entrance hole 3' off the ground. Should be easy. I don't know how you'd know if the queen comes out, because by the time she does, they will have made a new one. I'll give them as long as they need to get every single live bee out. I figure 6-8 weeks.

    Your mileage may vary.

    I have no argument against trap-outs. But, sometimes it's not worth doing several hundreds of $$ worth of labor for $60 worth of bees of questionable health and origin.

    Grants...If we can't get the gummint(taxpayers)to allocate more than $4 million for CCD research nationwide, how do you suppose you'll get them to pony up enough money to pay all bee wranglers to remove all the swarms that are in houses and other cavities across the country? What about liability? Will the grant cover a botched removal or injury to the beekeeper and his helpers or the homeowner and neighbors or onlookers and damage to his property? Would the grant provider or referring agency become an accessory defendant in a lawsuit? How would labor rates be pro-rated for each job, based on whose estimates? I'm just asking....
    Banjos and bees... how sweet it is!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by beegee View Post

    I have no argument against trap-outs. But, sometimes it's not worth doing several hundreds of $$ worth of labor for $60 worth of bees of questionable health and origin.

    agreed. For some reason, people expect me to spend many (and a trap out means MANY ) hours of my time, plus vehicle expense and significant liability, for little or no compensation. Oh,and this after they've shot wasp-freeze, kerosene, Lindane, arsenic or who-knows-what into the colony. Right...

    It's a cost of home ownership, like anything else. If one can't afford home repair & maint. expense, one should rent.
    Richard Martyniak, M.S. Entomologist - http://AllFloridaBeeRemoval.com

  8. #8
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    My problems with trap outs are:

    Many trips (as mentioned).

    Homeowners often panic from the many confused bees in the air, and many hanging on the cone and spray the bees (has happened in the majority of cases for me).

    They often do not work well as there always seems to be more entrances somewhere that have to be found an closed off.

    I've never gotten the queen to come out.


    But if you can get a cooperative home owner and the drive isn't too far it can work.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
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    I have done a number of trap outs, and have watched others also do trap outs. I would be very interested in Iddee's methods to ensure a queen comes out every-time. I have seen a queen come out, but this is the exception and most times what you have left if the queen, the stores honey, and frames of rotting brood.

    If one could improve the odds of the queen coming out, and even ensure the honey is robbed, you would still have the brood and comb.

    I personally do not do trap outs. If I can not open the wall, I don't do the job. Its way to many hours. And unless iddee's method involves getting all the bees, all the honey, and completing the job in one day, I would find it much more productive of my time to do other things.

    So lets see this method iddee. Can you please explain what system or method you use to ensure that the queen, all bees, and honey are removed.

    I think that trap outs by most beekeepers are of little advantage to the beekeeper, leaves the homeowner with future problems, and is like solving or taking care of part of the problem. If there is some foolproof way of doing this as you say, I'm all ears.

  10. #10
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    >>>>If there is some foolproof way of doing this as you say, I'm all ears.<<<<

    I doubt it.

    With all the skepticism, I think I'll just sit back and collect bees, make money, and make home owners happy.

    I have two traps going now. The home owners call me every other day and tell me what is happening. IE: no new entrances, no clogged funnels, bees still emerging, how wide the bees are covering by looking in the entrance. No time, no travel. I have had newly arrived swarms to come out within 3 days, with queens. Most time I have ever had was seven weeks. That one netted me 4 hives and a nuc. You keep thinking your way and I'll keep thinking mine.

  11. #11
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    iddee,
    You challenged anyone to open one of your hives and almost from what it sounds, stated having a guaranteed method.

    My last post was not filled with skepticism. I posted my own thoughts, and very nicely asked you to expand on your information.

    Now you are back-peddling, and sounding somewhat questionable after all you spoke of previously. Now, perhaps some will view your post with skepticism or perhaps even worse with having a touch of smelly stuff attached.

    I honestly wanted to know your methods. If its worthy of my time, is productive, and does justice to the homeowner without leaving a potential future problem, then lets get too it! I would be grateful and would be open to any improvement over the conventional methods of trapping out bees, which I find as less than ideal.

    Nobody said anything towards your post with skepticism. Most are posting thier experience, nothing more. Nobody said you were full of it, or at this point even questioned your so-called methods. Here is your chance to shine in a conversation you willingly participated in. Step up to the plate. 5,000 members are waiting for your response.

  12. #12
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    Bjorn, I asked about trapping on this board about 3 years ago. I got many fine responses that made me try it, along with some of the dangers involved. I made a successful trapout from that thread. Since that time, I have studied trapping, done many traps, had a few failures, and many successes. I'm sorry, but I can't put 3 years of studies in type in one thread. Anyone who is genuinely interested, I will give you "or them" my phone number, or even call on my nickel to discuss it. It is like anything, there are situations where it works, and some where it isn't feasible. I do removals where they are best, trapouts where they are best, and walk away from a few, too. I overwintered 1 hive this year, sold 25 plus nucs and hives this spring, have about 15 now. I think something is working.

  13. #13
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    Oh Crap! First its the secret pollen patties. Now its some secretive trapping methods. I honestly do not know why some even come here to post. Its like some want to boast or brag, tell part of a story, mention some amount of time and effort that makes it not worthy to divulge the rest of the story, then in the end, sounds like a bunch of bull. And yes, you can call that scepticism....with a whole lot of truth thrown in.

    Not sure what the whole nuc number thing is. I did double all that just last weekend, if anyone cares.

  14. #14
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    >>>>sounds like a bunch of bull<<<<

    Yes, it does, coming from your end.

    All I said was, It's lengthy and I'm not a journalist. I'll be glad to discuss it with anyone and not keep any of it secret. Why don't you call and get all the details, write a book about it, and post it on here.

  15. #15

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    Whoa! It's not a fight, it's a discussion.

    Bojrn, you are really becoming antagonistic here. It doesn't add to the discussion. Iddee has a method that he feels works. It saves homeowners a lot of money, some folks can't afford other methods. It's not perfect but I know of little that is. If I can help someone get bees out of their home without them poisioning the colony, adding chemicals to their and our environment and expand knowledge of bees and their value, I will.

    You make statements, Iddee becomes entrenched and then the fight starts. Or is it that Iddee makes statements, you become entrenched and then it begins?

    Whatever. You have your ideas, he has his. I'm interested in helping people and saving bees, building colonies. And I have equipment that needs fixing, a bee inspector coming to examine possibly diseased comb from used equipment I just bought and a schedule that has more than I can do today.

    So I'm just going to say thanks to those who contributed
    Try to learn something new every day and give thanks for all your blessings.

  16. #16
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    I'm with bjornBee on this one.......in principle, not necessarily attitude.
    Banjos and bees... how sweet it is!

  17. #17
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    Well, I guess I'll concede and admit that If something doesn't work for one person, that means it can't be done. No one else should even try the impossible, even if others are doing it successfully.

    Good luck in your removals, guys. I think I'll continue to do both.

  18. #18
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    iddee thanks for the pm you send back.. and my first trap out is going better then expected. so far 1 deep full of bees and I thinking I will get 2 more deeps full of bees.

  19. #19
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    iddee, please email me your phone # I'm interested in your method. whiteflyer@juno.com thank you wm

  20. #20
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    tbb39....Thanks, glad I could help

    whiteflyer, Done

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