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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
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    Sydney, Australia
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    Default Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    Hi,

    About a year ago some bees started using a tree in my front garden that contains a hole as a hive. Over that last few months there's been a lot more activety and there is a strong smell of honey around the tree.
    I've decided to try and set up a hive and was going to somehow extract the bees from the tree.
    I bought a hive and put three frames with bees wax next to the tree for a few days (I know this was very hopeful) and waited to see if any bees would go in but no luck.
    Next I drilled a hole in the back of my hive and connected a tube from my hive to the hole in the tree and tried to block access to the old hive so that the bees would be forced to go through my hive.
    I waited one week and opened the hive to see if there's been any action in the new hive.
    Although there was 50 or so bees in the hive they had not started to build on my frames and a lot of bees were clustering on the tree trying to find a way past my blockage.
    Today I removed my hive and allowed the bees to have full access to their old hive.

    My plan is to try the same method again but to have a better seal around the blockage and to do it at night so that I can get as many bees into my hive, possibly force them to stay in my hive for a few days so that they get use to the new hive.
    I know it would be best to get the queen out and place her in the new hive but I can't see her and have no idea how deep in the tree she is.

    Is there anything I can do to increase the chances of getting the bees to move to my hive?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Mar 2017
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    Sydney, Australia
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    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.


  3. #3
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    Mar 2017
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    Sydney, Australia
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    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Campbell County, Va
    Posts
    424

    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    They are bees, not mice. They know to enter their tree hive at one spot, not by flying through a maze to get there.
    Please consider leaving the tree hive alone and purchasing a package off bees if you are interested in beekeeping. It sounds like this is your 1st attempt at beekeeping. If so, make it enjoyable and hopefully a positive experience by taking a class and reading lots of books, maybe have a mentor, before you get started. Your tree hive will be a great resource later to catch swarms from, but for now, ....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Winder, GA, USA
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    220

    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by appalachianoutdoors View Post
    They are bees, not mice. They know to enter their tree hive at one spot, not by flying through a maze to get there.
    Please consider leaving the tree hive alone and purchasing a package off bees if you are interested in beekeeping. It sounds like this is your 1st attempt at beekeeping. If so, make it enjoyable and hopefully a positive experience by taking a class and reading lots of books, maybe have a mentor, before you get started. Your tree hive will be a great resource later to catch swarms from, but for now, ....
    I second this thought. Buy a package or catch a swarm and leave the ones in the tree alone. Chances are you will just disrupt the hive and cause problems. It's not worth the time or effort to mess with these bees and besides...it's nice to watch a feral hive in it's natural environment.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hotlanta, GA
    Posts
    551

    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    Sorry, I have to agree with the two posts above. Capture the swarms the colony puts out each spring and enjoy the varroa-free bee tree in the mean time.
    Ask two beekeepers, get three answers

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    1,152

    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    Varroa-free bee tree
    Ziad, you have the right idea, but you need some refinement Do a search for a Hogan trapout. Lots of time, but you could get a starter hive & have the hive in the tree live.
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
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    5,003

    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    Your process is fundamentally correct. However I like a very short pathway from the hive to the trap. I would start by leaving the lid off the trap so the bees will more readily access the hive through the trap. when they are flying in and out through the box as though it was natural then I would place frame in and close the cover they will find the entrance soon. Now here is the important part. for all this to work you are going to need frames of brood. This will draw the nurse bees out of the hive into the trap. At this point I install a one way gate so the bees can come out of the hive into the trap but cannot go back in. You remove the bees and frames periodically usually every 4 days and replace with new brood frames These bees must be moved away from the parent hive or the bees will soon enough fly back. And you will wind up moving the same bees from trap to new hive. The queen often comes out to investigate the addition to the hive and she herself cannot return. Once you have the queen all the bees will abandon the original hive as the brood hatches out. Removing the queen from the trap too soon will cause the bees in the hive to build a new one from and suitable larva within the hive.

    Now, With that said. If the bees in the tree are not a nuisance, then leave them be. place a swarm trap in the vicinity of the hive. and place a few drawn frames in it. dab some Lemongrass oil on a Q-tip and place in the back of the hive. when the hive swarms the bees will more than likely find the trap and move in. they will already know where it is as several generations of scouts will have checked the trap out. I have caught many swarms from the same wild bee tree over many years.
    Good luck and enjoy.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldsofnaturalhoney View Post
    Varroa-free bee tree
    It probably is, the OP is in Australia! Just sayin!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hotlanta, GA
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    551

    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    It probably is, the OP is in Australia! Just sayin!
    I think he was commenting on the rhyming, at least I think he was

    It is most definitely varroa free, the lucky b's.
    Ask two beekeepers, get three answers

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    2,008

    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    I have attempted a Hogan trap and yeah ended up having to cut out empty comb after the bees absconded to parts unknown, then close the gal's house.

    I'm with the bait the swarm trap in a nice spot not too far away and do some open feeding, should get you a couple of swarms, maybe a couple of swarm traps
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
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    5

    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziad View Post
    Thank you to all that responded.

    It's early Autumn here and as you can see from the pic there are many bees that sleep outside the hive. As I understand bees will swarm in spring or early summer, however with so many bees Outside the hive are they likely to swarm at an unusual time?
    If so how will I know that they are about to swarm if I can't see inside the hive?

    Thanks

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Baker, FL
    Posts
    441

    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    Ziad, had a similar tree trapout, see pictures on related post:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...essful-Trapout

    It takes a lot of patience and I started mine at the end of summer so I had some time to do it.

    I'm about to try it again, A friend had a swarm take up residence in an old vehicle gas tank (size almost identical to a deep brood box).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    5,003

    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziad View Post
    Thank you to all that responded.

    It's early Autumn here and as you can see from the pic there are many bees that sleep outside the hive. As I understand bees will swarm in spring or early summer, however with so many bees Outside the hive are they likely to swarm at an unusual time?
    If so how will I know that they are about to swarm if I can't see inside the hive?

    Thanks
    It is not uncommon for bees to cluster outside the hive in the fall Especially if it is hot and humid. The drone eviction and cooler weather will make the necessary adjustment. Although bees swarm in the fall they are more likely to do so in the spring. Capturing a fall swarm and doing a fall trap out are somewhat questionable. unless you have other resources available to supplement the hive, Heavy feeding right up until it gets too cold is necessary and even then it is a roll of the dice.
    As for telling when a hive is going to swarm. Although it can be done fairly easily with a domestic hive, when it comes to a wild hive it is anyone's guess. Just keep your traps out during periods when swarming usually occurs. You may even get a bonus or two.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Extracting bees from a tree hive.

    Thanks again for all the advice.

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