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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,999

    Default Bees in a cedar tree..wait till spring to work with them?

    A friend of mine whose family operates the local funeral home came by today. He noticed some of my mentor's honey sitting on the counter and started talking about some honey bees in a cedar tree at a nearby cemetery. He doesn't like bees at all and wants them gone. They are kind of close to a couple of grave sites.

    I went and checked them out this afternoon. They're going into a knot in the tree at about the 4-5 foot level. The tree is about 20-24 inches in diameter. Small and dark yellow striped bees. Looked like a steady stream of bees...not an overwhelming amount of bees but steady. I noted several bees bringing in pollen.

    Disregarding the time of the year here in south Alabama, it's pretty much a fact that if I did a trap out I won't get the queen...and being as I presently don't have any hives that I'm working with I don't need a bunch of workers to combine with a hive. If I can talk my buddy into being patient, would it be better for me to set up a swarm trap in the spring and try to catch the swarm and the queen and then do a trap-out of the remaining bees? I figure doing it that way (if it works) I'll get the survivor/feral genes.

    I really enjoyed watching these bees this afternoon. I was within a couple of feet of the hive entrance and they scarcely paid me any attention.

    Ed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,477

    Default Re: Bees in a cedar tree..wait till spring to work with them?

    It doesn't sound like the bees are aggressive so I would try to talk him into waiting for spring using a swarm lure. Who knows if it will work. The tree cavity maybe what they prefer or they might throw a reproductive swarm and you could get lucky.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,999

    Default Re: Bees in a cedar tree..wait till spring to work with them?

    Yelp, a reproductive swarm was what I was hoping for. Then do a trap out and maybe combine the trap out with the swarm....if it all comes together. I'll talk with him about it....he is definitely a person who fears bees.

    The knot where the bees were entering was still embedded in the tree and seemed pretty sturdy. The bees were entering by a fairly small entrance. Being feral and our location being in a breeding ground region for SHB would you think any beetles would be see around the outside of the hive? The 5 minutes or so I was there I didn't see any...but there's no way to see more than an inch into the cavity.

    Thanks for the feedback, Charlie.
    Ed

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,477

    Default Re: Bees in a cedar tree..wait till spring to work with them?

    It's hard to say just looking at the entrance for SHB but for now I wouldn't worry about that.

    I've seen some entrances with very little traffic at first but they have turned out to be mega colonies. I would use different size swarm lures at different distances. I just captured a swarm last week so I would put them up now. You never know, it could happen !!
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,585

    Default Re: Bees in a cedar tree..wait till spring to work with them?

    There is always the dark cloud of shb that could wipe them out, but I always suggest setting up traps to capture the swarms or the colonies if they abscond due to shb as opposed to cutting or trapouts... unless of coarse the tree is to come down or there is a threat to them... the reason being, if they can live without intervention, it would be nice to keep them providing drones for the gene pool, and you can take the swarms to promote those genes, all while keeping a record of how long they survive naturally in that location and how often they throw swarms/break the brood cycle..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,585

    Default Re: Bees in a cedar tree..wait till spring to work with them?

    Sorry, I just read back a bit and saw more of your concerns... shb make their main attempts at entering hives in the twilight hour... so you may be able to see some on the outside then, but keep in mind that they are very fast and accurate in their approach, so they will be hard to see and may zip directly into the hole without being detected by the naked eye.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    robertsdale,Al.,USA
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: Bees in a cedar tree..wait till spring to work with them?

    as russell said,see if you can leave them alone for a swarm supplier.if the bees are hitting people 'cause of a low flight path,maybe you could put something in front of it to raise their flight path.there's beetles in the tree.some bees handle them differently.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,999

    Default Re: Bees in a cedar tree..wait till spring to work with them?

    It would indeed be nice to leave this colony for swarm production and observation, but...

    The cedar tree is in what is left of an old fence row.

    The colony is only about 20' (maybe closer) from an existing grave site where the wife of the gentleman buried there is in ill health so a funeral/burial will probably take place there within the year. That could become an issue.

    A new fence has been put up about 5 feet from the original, overgrown one. The area between the two fences has been cleared to the dirt and it appears that they will be keeping this area clear for appearance purposes. The beehive entrance is facing north (but sheltered mostly by vegetation). It has a slight (20-degree?) angle towards the new fence and traffic appeared to be coming across the cleared strip. I'm afraid that anyone cutting the strip between the fences may have problems with the bees.

    Another thing is that they are at the back corner of the guy's aunt's yard (lives beside the cemetery). Basically they're at a back corner of her dog pen. I'm not sure if she is as "antsy" about them as the guy is.

    I'm going to talk with him about leaving the colony and let me do trap outs on it. If not, then I'll hopefully talk him into leaving it there until spring and I can try for a swarm trap and then a trap out. We'll see what happens. I do like the idea of it staying there...apparently they're survivors and a source of survivor swarms would definitely be nice.

    I am a little worried about them absconding due to shb, but maybe they're strong enough and will hold till the spring. baldwinbees, thanks for the obstacle suggestion, that might very well be an option for me. Thankfully for now they're not heading into the cemetary but who knows which way they'll be going on a different honey flow.

    Thanks for the feedback!
    Ed

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