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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Posts
    86

    Default 500 year old tree trap outs

    I have an interesting trap-out coming up and could use some input. The tree is the oldest (over 500 yrs) tallest (120+ ft) and fourth widest (19 8) Live Oak in the state. It contains three hives. The homeowner (actually she says she bought the tree and it came with a house) has had bees in it on and off for 17 years. She has done extensive planting for the girls and has put in a small flowing pond as a water source. She was stung for the first time last month and it put her in the hospital for three days. Not only is she allergic to bee stings, but Epinephrine as well. Not a good combo. The hive the homeowner is most concerned about is about 12 feet up and about 10 feet from her back door. The second hive is at about the same height on the opposite side of the tree, and faces the garage. The third is out of reach and will have to stay, about 60 feet up in a branch out over the roof. Since I cannot do anything that might damage the tree (staples are about the limit), I plan on building a hive stand slightly taller then the second hive and anchoring it with guy wires, for the bait hive. I am only going to tackle one hive at a time, then moving the trap to the other side and replacing the bait hive. This will let the bees rob out the first hive and I hope, load up my bait hive. My biggest issue is figuring out how to get screen down over the bark, which has ridges about half an inch deep. Im thinking a gasket of some kind. All I have come up with so far is wool yarn loosely braided into a rope and staple screen over it with a one way exit in the middle of the screen. Any other ideas out there?
    I'm like the weatherman- right about half of the time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,709

    Default Re: 500 year old tree trap outs

    When I was setting swarm traps, I built a hive platform that the hive sat on. Braces underneath, and a 1x4 that extended above and below the platform. Then I used cargo straps, the kind you can ratchet tight, to hold the platform to the tree. Worked great for me. I did not have a 20" diameter tree though. Still think it will work for you. Sine you are doing one at a time, you will only need to build one.
    Good luck. Sounds like fun

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Beaverton, MI, USA
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: 500 year old tree trap outs

    Trapping will not get the Queen or the brood, they will rebound before you can trap out the other side. Trees are the worst if you can't hurt the tree, I like to drill a 3/4" hole on about a 45 degree angle down to the top of the hive, then force the Queen out by pouring in smoke and then water into the lower main entrance. The Queen will not leave the brood, she will almost die first, but once the brood is covered with water she will exit the 3/4" hole at the top of the hive. But if you can not drill an exit hole there is no way to get the Queen, she will not be willing to follow here young out with just smoke alone. I hook my bee vac to the exit hole. I wish I lived closer, I would love to see this tree! It can be hard sometimes to figure out where the top of the hive is, so some guessing might be needed to place the exit hole in just the right spot, if you leave too much hive above the exit hole the Queen might go there and not come out. There is also a product to get bees to leave the hive but I have never seen it work on the Queen, maybe others here have had better luck with it. If it were me, I would spend some time trying to get permission to drill the 3/4" exit hole, explain that you can not get the Queen without it. The other option is to trap, trap, trap, and then poision the Queen

    60' is doable, but would require a lift and someone comfertable 60' up on one

    Good luck, wish I was there!

    Wayne

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,014

    Default Re: 500 year old tree trap outs

    Since the tree that you're referring to is the oldest, and tallest Live Oak in your state, you most certainly should consult with the local Arbor Society before you do anything.

    In my opinion, you should walk away from this one. The homeowner has a serious problem, not you. I don't think that you want to involve yourself because of some very serious liability issues.

  5. #5

    Default Re: 500 year old tree trap outs

    First off, this time of season if you are going to trap out two hives you better start on both of them from the get go right now. It takes at least 8 weeks and if you want them both built up for winter you should get them both started soon. After about 6 weeks you'll think you got them all out give it another 2 weeks. The queen and any left over bees will have done starved to death. Secondly, once you trap the bees out of the hive open your entrance back up, smear a little honey around the entrance of the hive and let your new hive rob the daylights out of the old hive. This will be around Septemeber 1st and you should be in a dearth. Feed, Feed, Feed the new hive through september and mid october and your ready for winter. As far as the "gasket" for the cone. I take and drill a 3 inch hole in a 1 x 6, shove my cone through that hole, fold and staple cone screen to the back of the 1x6, then take and wad aluminum foil up in a long roll to make a gasket around the 3 inch hole. Roll it loosely and it will conform to any bark ridges that you have. Aluminum foil is about the best thing to use on trap outs because the bees cant chew through it. I don't know how you would attach the cone to the tree without using some screws though. Good luck!

    -Dan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    862

    Default Re: 500 year old tree trap outs

    I've had good luck using clear silicone for the gasket in the past. When you're done you can get as much as possible off the tree and it will not show too bad. I've done the same on houses with uneven siding. To build a good gasket and let the silicone cure, you'll have to mount a piece of wood with a hole in it then once the silicone is hard, mount your screen to it.

    If you leave your screen cone in place the queen inside will eventually die or leave.

    Thinking end game, what are you going to do to the tree once you've got the bees out. Leaving your screen there will keep a new hive from moving in until it rots off. The old hole will attract another swarm next year if you don't take action. Find a way to fill the cavity without making it unsightly or you'll be back again next year.

    Swarm traps might be a way to lure bees away from the tree in future years.
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: 500 year old tree trap outs

    If you leave your screen cone in place the queen inside will eventually die or leave.

    [COLOR="yellow"]Thinking end game, what are you going to do to the tree once you've got the bees out. Leaving your screen there will keep a new hive from moving in until it rots off. The old hole will attract another swarm next year if you don't take action. Find a way to fill the cavity without making it unsightly or you'll be back again next year.[/COLOR]

    I plan on the queen not making it, not much way around it in this case. The homeowner sounded shocked when I told her I was charging her to do this. She seemed to think I could make good money off her bees. I told her, no queen and they are just a bunch of bugs. They will be joining my hive along with any hive beatles and mites.
    After I'm done, I plan on stuffing the holes (one is almost eight inches) with fiberglass screen to keep the critters out.
    I'm like the weatherman- right about half of the time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tulsa OK. USA
    Posts
    846

    Default Re: 500 year old tree trap outs

    Seems to me the queen and the last small bunch of bees will leave the hive for greener pastures rather than die, after all why would they stay and starve? Honey won't hold bees brood dose and she quite laying when the food stopped coming into the hive. If she stays and starves why is it everyone doing trapouts talk about removing the cone and allowing the bees to rob the old hive? if there is anything to rob she won't starve. Jim
    Stop and smell the flowers, 50,000 ladies can't be wrong
    Bsweetapiary@aol.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,709

    Default Re: 500 year old tree trap outs

    How bout spray foam insulation?

    Bsweet,
    If they would do that, then she and her court could be saved. It is attrition. She will not, except under extreme circumstances, leave. Her court will perish, she can not feed herself. I appreciate what you are saying. Nobody doing these trap outs wants to leave the queen. She is the prize we seek. If there was an easy way, given these circumstances, believe me, he would do it. In all likely hood, he will only be able to save the hive bees. Most of us do not need bees, we want special queens. It is unfortunate circumstances, but it seems to me he is making the best of the situation. Hopefully, an arborist will allow/suggest the technique mentioned to capture the queen. Let's hope that happens.
    IMHO, a 3/4 inch hole is no big deal to a tree especially of that size. They harvest maple syrup sap like that all the time.

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