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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    Default Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    It's a small oak. Not sure how big the hive inside is, they weren't flying on the cool evening I drove up to look.
    Homeowner wants it cut out - he can't mow near it without a surprise, bought a suit to deal with it, the bees are at the pool, on the hummingbird feeders, generally in the way..
    beetree.jpg
    The base of the oak is about 12 inches in diameter. at 4 ft up maybe 8 inches, at 6 ft maybe 6, just about to become a big tree. Homeowner has many trees, and larger chainsaws than I have, but not the physical agility to run them.

    I'm thinking, if I can get enough help to lift the tree, about putting windowscreen over the opening and screwing it on, early in a morning, or on a rainy day, topping the tree (I've dropped bigger, using a rope to steer the drop), cutting trunk off at shortest point I can without hitting bees, and cutting at ground level, lifting it in my truck, and dealing with it here. Trouble is that oak is heavy. Need to round up enough people and protective gear for the lift, (in case the saw exposes non-screened bees) and get the hive out before it starts throwing swarms.

    suggestions - including on pricing, welcome. I am aware they could be africans

    Gypsi
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Re: Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    Does the owner want the tree down? Even if you remove bees but leave the tree this will be a very attractive home to a swarm.

    I've felled a few trees with bees in them. My experience has always been that once the tree is felled the bees are very disoriented and somewhat docile. Do you think you can cut the trunk off below the hive? Looks like they're pretty close to the ground.

    If the homeowner will be patient, I'd think a trap out might be the wiser option. Of course you'll need a small hive or frame of brood to pull it off. Trapping out a hive is a great way to bolster a small swarm or hive that needs a shot in the arm. My lazy nature would make me opt for a trap out. Since the hive you take home will have the genetics of the queen in your trapping hive, you will also negate the hot bee issue. If you can talk him into letting you do a trap out, after you're done I'd recommend filling the cavity and screening it off to prevent another swarm from moving in.

    If you do cut it down and take it home you can screw a piece of plywood the size of a hive body to the top opening of the trunk. Place a hive body on this and encourage the queen to move up ala the Hogan swarm harvester. Once the queen is up, bee escape the top of the trunk to bring all the bees into your hive body. Then you can get rid of the trunk. I've done something similar once before with a large section of a sycamore trunk. Of course back then I didn't know about the frame of brood trick to get the queen to move up so I had to give them a top entrance and periodically cut off some more of the trunk from the bottom to get them to move up.

    Whatever path you choose, good luck with it. Please keep us informed. I'm interested in how it turns out.
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tulsa OK. USA
    Posts
    846

    Default Re: Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    Well if he wants it cut out then thats what I would do.
    I would try to figure out how high up the hollow goes and cut 1 ft. above it, if I guessed right and didn't hit the hive then I would drill down into the trunk with an 1/8 inch bit to see if I hit the hollow, if not then I would trim another slice off until I ended up just above the hollow( the slice being the depth of the test drilling). you may end up with a small piece of trunk to load up.
    From the size of tree I would bet you end up with no more than 2 ft. of trunk, pretty easy to slide on a dolly/hand truck and load on a trailer.
    Take it home and split/trapout or leave as is and set up swarm traps. Jim
    Stop and smell the flowers, 50,000 ladies can't be wrong
    Bsweetapiary@aol.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    I have another Hogan trap, so that was my first choice.

    The homeowner really wants the tree down, and if we do it now, while it is cool, before it throws off spring swarms, that should be the end of his bee troubles. I can take a tree off about 1/2 inch above the ground (my most recent victim was a volunteer mulberry with a double 6 inch trunk that wasn't responding to less extreme control measures.) But I've done it to a number of small trees in my yard over the last 2 years, when I added the driveway. None were oaks, one was multiple trunks totalling around 16 inches in diameter. But with a better chainsaw than my electric 16 inch, it is doable. The trick is to get the weight off the top first, and with the bees in there, to screen them off. Doing it in suits too. If we open another exit, things could get quite exciting. I will absolutely need help, so until I hear from someone, I'm holding off. Will keep the site posted.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    I would be very causes if or when cutting a hollow tree.I have bee cutting trees for sixteen years and i can tell you from experience that hollow trees are very dangerous.I would rap a log chain around the butt above the cut just in case it wants to split up on you,good luck.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2011
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    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    Thank you. I will be cautious. The young part of the tree, at 6 ft, I'm sure isn't hollow. I'll screen the bees in, working on a cool day or very early morning or late evening. I'll rope as high up as I can to control direction of fall, and make the first cut 6 ft up, to get the weight off, with a helper at the other end of a LONG rope, clear of the crown. After that, maybe a cut a foot below, and another foot below, depending on the condition of the wood at each point. So while it may try to split, it won't have any weight. I don't have a 1/8th inch drill bit that long, but I do have a 1/4, which might let a bee out, but it would definitely be one bee at a time and the hole can be plugged, so I can assess where the hollow starts.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Lowell, Arkansas
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    I do a fair amount of wood carving and I am faced with getting logs out of woods all the time. I would find a couple of old wheels and tires and mount them to the log after you get it down. I like to use bicycle tires. I use long lag bolts to attach them to the log. Then I just pick up the small end a roll it out like a wheel barrow.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2011
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    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    Tree is Down. No injuries. No bees either.
    Brood chamber below ground must have flooded.
    GOt cash, firewood and brood comb for traps!
    Woohoo!
    Last edited by Gypsi; 02-26-2012 at 09:18 PM.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tulsa OK. USA
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    846

    Default Re: Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    Good going, scored three on this one.
    Stop and smell the flowers, 50,000 ladies can't be wrong
    Bsweetapiary@aol.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    And next time I'll take a tape measure to the base of the trunk. I eye-balled it at 12 inches. I'll measure the base in the morning (it's in the back of my truck). But I'm thinking 20 inches might be more accurate, according to my 16 inch chainsaw blade...

    The guy really wanted it down, he brought all 3 of his chainsaws to the tree area just in case. And a bobcat. Boyscouts are prepared - I think he was a boyscout...

    I was FAIRLY prepared. Screen cover screwed on went off without a hitch. Plan actually did too, as far as dropping the weight without getting into the hollow zone. I made the first cut maybe 8 inches above the top hollow section. Took off another foot, and did have comb in it. But the bees had bugged out. With no bodies visible, I am assuming they didn't die of any disease. There was literally not a bee in the thing. He saw bees 2 weeks ago. We got a couple of inches of rain in between, and I'll look the comb over in daylight, but I believe what I took out of the below ground section was brood comb.

    Whoever said that tree would be split quite high up was absolutely correct - I'm thinking 4.5 feet above ground to 10 inches below ground were hollow. The top section a narrow split. If I'd tried to bring it down in one piece it would have split and potentially injured someone. It was still quite exciting.

    And now to rest up for work tomorrow. My helper's in for a surprise when he gets here. The wood is in the truck. Just the trunk with comb sections, truck will lift up 3 or 4 inches when it comes out.

    Gypsi
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Re: Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    "Do you think you can cut the trunk off below the hive? Looks like they're pretty close to the ground."

    That's why I asked that question earlier. I've seen many a hive actually under the tree and this one looked like it might be that sort of affair. That's why I recommended a trap out. All's well that ends well. Would have been nice to have that fourth payoff but be glad you got what you got. At least you got something out of the deal. Many times I've worked and not got the bees or any other payoff either.
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    I can't afford to work for free. Especially if I'm paying a helper, buying gas, etc. I think 350 - and I didn't have to haul off ALL the wood, just the hive parts that would attract new bees - was reasonable. Thank you guys, you're great!
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Trap or cutout plan - oak tree

    beetree_intruck.gif

    That's a standard sized 5 gal bucket in the wood pile....
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

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