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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Deming, NM
    Posts
    105

    Default First cutout. It was a hot hive.

    So, I did my first cutout here in the seething heart of AHB country. Wow. What a learning experience.

    The bees were a 3-4 year old hive in a small 5x7' storage shed, inside the space between the plywood ceiling panels and the roof. There was about 4 feet of comb (30 or so decent sized combs). I took pics but have to figure out how to post them.

    The hive had not been particularly aggressive towards the owners. But, when I pulled down that plywood ceiling panel, hooh-boy, they got more than a bit peeved with me. I had about 30-50 bees swarming me the whole time, despite smoking like a madman around myself. The smoke hardly seemed to phase them. They actually bothered me much less when I was close to the comb. When I left the shed to go to my truck, they REALLY got mad. I walked about 75 yards, running my smoker constantly, but still had 20-30 bees following me.

    I had timed this so that the sun would go down while doing it, and thats the only thing that really came to my rescue. Once night fell, I was able to leave without a cloud of bees around me.

    Tried my beevac, but it wasn't working. So, I ended up with a lot of dead bees. After having been stung a half a dozen times, I wasn't feeling very remorseful.

    I didn't get all the comb out- I'm going back tonight with a ladder and some tools to finish it up. This is my first, so I'm not charging for it, but I can honestly say it's the LAST one I will ever do for free.

    Lessons learned:

    1- Dadants Cricket beesuit WORKS. I think I got stung twice through it, and if I had had long sleeves on underneath, probably wouldnt have. Still, something like a Tyvek jacket over the beesuit would be helpful.
    2- Gloves are extremely important. I had rubber grouters gloves from Home Depot, and while these did ok, I still got stung on my hand a couple times, and the glove tore so i fixed it with duct tape. I needed something even stronger/thicker. I think something like Hexarmor needlestick resistant gloves would be ideal.
    3- Have an equipment checklist. I forgot some stuff which is why I have to go back.
    4- AHBs are best handled at night, unless you like parking your vehicle a half mile away.
    5- Smoke heavily, but it's a mild deterrent at best. I can understand now why Latin American beeks have HUGE smokers.
    6- Bring extra boxes for comb.
    7- Bring a plastic dropcloth to catch honey.

    I didn't end up getting very many bees. I rubber-banded some brood and honeycomb into an 8 frame hive body and left the buckets with the comb (and attached bees) next to it. This morning there is some activity around the buckets, but not the hive. It certainly seems I have a lot fewer bees.

    What a horrible, sticky mess. I had to take my truck to the carwash at midnight to hose out the dead bees and honey.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Abilene, TX
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: First cutout. It was a hot hive.

    I read something on the internet and have tried it only once with success. That is to work at night in as dark of conditions as possible with a red light (I put red plastic over the front of my LED Maglight). Without white light to fly 99% of the bees just crawl, crawl, crawl making them easy to get with the bee vac. No doubt cut-outs are MESSY, STICKY, GOOEY messes. Yech. We too have AHB in TX and they'll follow you nearly forever. I haven't gotten stung through my Ultra Breeze suit but they'll cover my leather gloves in stingers. Since they don't give up it usually means trying to drive away with the full suit on getting honey from the gloves all over my steering wheel, keys, etc.

    Next time I do a cut-out I'm taking a bucket of soapy water to at least wash off the gloves before I have to touch everything in the car.

    Congrats on your first cut-out! I did my first for free because I was OJT'ing it but did just do my first paid one for $100. What do other people charge for cut-outs? Do you do a flat rate or adjust the quote/bill for the job?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    553

    Default Re: First cutout. It was a hot hive.

    Very interesting and sorry you got stung so many times. My question is why would you want to take any brood frames from this hive if they are Africanized bees? How much honey did you get?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Deming, NM
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: First cutout. It was a hot hive.

    I just watched McCartney Taylor's videos on crush and straining, and I figure I'll end up with about 2 gallons of honey. Maybe more. I'm sure I could have gotten more honey out if I had taken a bit more care separating out the brood from the honey. I was so freaked out by the bees attacking me, the huge chunks of comb falling on my head, all while being balanced precariously on some old furniture, that I just tossed comb in whatever I had available.

    I figured I'd try ordering a mated queen and seeing if I could requeen the hive. At this point I'm just not sure I got enough bees out alive. It looks like there are only about 100 or so that made it.

    Erik- if I were going to make a habit of this, I'd charge at least $100 for an uncomplicated removal (< 2hrs) of a non-aggressive hive. Non-aggressive meaning that they leave you alone once you leave the area. If it were a complicated removal, or an aggressive hive, I'd start at $150, and probably give a quote based on the job.
    I am finding that everyone seems to think beekeepers should do this stuff for free.

    The honey I cut out is EXCELLENT.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Greenwich, New York, USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: First cutout. It was a hot hive.

    I didn't read anything about a bee vacuum. I can't imagine trying to collect a large hive without a bee vacuum setup and a couple of collecting buckets. Simple and cheap is to intercept a commercial shop vacuum with customized 5 gallon collecting buckets. Never vacuum directly as the sound will kill the bees and the honey coated bees will kill the vacuum. Hope you enjoy your feral bees. I am very fond of mine and I found they calmed down once they accepted a new queen and got to work. I don't know about anyone else but night time is just not been good time to disturb bees. Its nonsense that they do not fly at night if they are protecting an opened hive. Not my experience at all. Removing bees from a building is not something I would ever do again unless I was paid or was doing someone a great favor.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Bayou Gauche, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: First cutout. It was a hot hive.

    The few cutouts I have done, I try not to smoke, but spray them with sugar water. They don't fly and the are busy getting the sugar water off and don't have time to bother with you vacuuming them up or putting the comb in frames.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Branson, MO
    Posts
    547

    Default Re: First cutout. It was a hot hive.

    I have not found that less then 2 hour removal yet when it came to a cut out. The bees and honey are great to obtain but my time is worth something so if it's a cut out I charge and base it more on a days work. Sounds like you had fun though I always consider honey comb on the head a good time.

  8. #8

    Default Re: First cutout. It was a hot hive.

    One thing I would be lost with is my rubber gloves from Dantant
    I do three or four cut outs a year
    And get 75 per hour and think it maybe going up
    Everyone is a learn expspeces
    David

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,314

    Default Re: First cutout. It was a hot hive.

    Sounds like a few I have done. If they are hot like that I normally do not do them and refer them to a pest control guy, or just do them in myself. I did one a while back where bystanders could stand 100 yards away and still get surrounded by 20-30 bees trying to sting. They are dangerous when they are like that and not worth the trouble in my opinion. Need to get those genetics out of the pool. $75 an hour with $150 minimum is my rate if I charge - which I do not always do. Depends on the situation.

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