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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    49

    Default Cutout and Smoker

    Hi, new guy here. I have two hives that I started this April from packages but have never done a cutout. A friend has a shed that has a hive in it an asked if I could take it. I usually don't have to smoke the bees in my hives but don't know about cutouts. Should a person smoke the bees before starting the cutout?

    Thanks,
    Wayne

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Cutout and Smoker

    Only done a couple of cut outs myself so not sure if this is helpful. I try not to use smoke which I think drives the queen to hide. If the bees start to get pissy I use it but try to avoid it till I got the queen.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bloomfield,KY
    Posts
    279

    Default Re: Cutout and Smoker

    I usually never have to really smoke the bees I prefer to spray a little sugar water on them. I always have my smoker available in case the bees get really riled up but generally haven't had to use it. My first cut outs six years ago were in steel tanks, I used a grinder to cut the holes to get them and got a couple of stings but other than that most cut outs I have done (I do about 7/year, This year I did 12) never got a sting and only used the smoker on the entrance when I started, other than that smoker dies out and doesn't get used at all. With you being in TX make sure to suit up well in case they turn out to be AHB. Good Luck!
    "Of all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves its environment and preys on no other species."--Haydon Brown

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Cutout and Smoker

    Thanks for the replies.... I guess it's like a lot of other things, maybe yes, maybe no.

    Wane

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Cutout and Smoker

    A shed is a good first time project for you. Bring your smoker but don't use it unless you have to. Like Keth said, you want that queen and smoke will force her to run for the darkest cavity she can find. Make sure you have a queen catcher on the ready.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  6. #6

    Default Re: Cutout and Smoker

    Keep in mind that using smoke will make them also load up on honey. If you then use a vac, the stress could cause them to spot this honey back up, and make for a sticky leathal mess in you vac boxes. Spraying with sugar water could make vacuuming the bees tougher as well. I'd highly recommend a vac over smoke when possible. As you cage up most of the bees, those left on the comb tend to be a little more docile.
    #1 tip: as you pull comb, search for the queen. Make sure your last section of comb is brood comb (if possible). If you haven't found the queen by the last comb, leave it. Start cleaning up and maybe even go for some pepper steak and a vanilla shake (YouTube/jpthebeeman). If there is a queen, she should come out of hiding and be on that comb when you return.
    There is also a chance you vacuum the queen. You may need to shake your vac boxes into the new hive body, and then go through looking for the queen.
    My success so far has been this:
    First time, caught the queen early, and by the end of the job at dark, all bees were on/in the box.
    Second time, never caught the queen. Had to return two more times and vac bees out of the wall, stragglers that were dazed and confused. The second job was such a mess I just combined them with the first job.
    FINDING THE QUEEN IS KEY! Good luck!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    282

    Default Re: Cutout and Smoker

    I have to agree with Tom and say make a bee vac. I've only done 3 cutouts. 1st out of shed, 2nd out from under house, 3rd from a wall outside house. Your hans will get covered in honey during this operation and so will your tools, brush etc. The under house one convinced me to make a bee vac or stop doing cutouts. No smoke needed with vac. I started cutting with circular saw and prybar. Anytime you pull a board off etc and start seeing bees start running the vac.
    The last one I did was able to catch queen in clip and all was good. By the time I was done there were only a few foragers left returning to the hive. The under house one there were pissy bees everywhere, I took 4-5 stings and so did the home owner. It's pretty amazing using one.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Battle Ground, Wa
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: Cutout and Smoker

    I only average two or three cutouts a year & seldom use smoke. However, I did one this last week on two colonies one on each side of a fireplace. The first one went very smoothly & I was pleased. The second colony came out as soon as I started prying the the facia board loose & & got several stings before I finally got down off the scaffolding & came back with my smoker. A few puffs seemed to settle them right down & made it a lot easier. I also used a vacuum. Only really bad thing that happened was when a big chunk of comb full of honey fell. I caught maybe half of it, but I bet 10 lbs of honey went on the ground & splattered.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Cutout and Smoker

    I use the smoke to chase the bees from the comb just before I slice it off. Just a few puffs. I use a vac and the "loading up on honey" issue has never been a problem for me as long as I have the pressure set right. It should just lightly pull them from the comb. Sometimes I give a puff or two just before I start, as I cut open the hive entrance. Just watch for the queen. Usually she is in the big lump of bees hiding in the farthest corner. Come back after dark or in the morning and suck up the stragglers.

    Make sure you have a drop cloth and something to put the comb in. I use an ice chest with a hinged lid. Easy to clean and a great honey catcher. The brood comb gets rubber banded into my foundationless frames.

    Wear a suit. Texas breeds mean bees. If they attack you or are really runny and drip off the comb, or if they have a very tiny amount of honey - requeen them ASAP.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,095

    Default Re: Cutout and Smoker

    I light a smoker. I may or may not use it much. I don't really want the queen to run nor do I want to interfere too much with the pheromones that will get them to move into their new home. But I also don't want a major defensive reaction. I use it as needed. I've killed too many bees with bee vacs and see no need for them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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