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Thread: Cemetary Bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Clarendon County, SC, USA
    Posts
    155

    Default Cemetary Bees

    I've been watching a beehive hanging from a limb, 30 foot up in a live oak tree for some time. The limbs were too small to climb, and it was in a cemetary with grave markers up under it, there was no way to set up scaffolding or bring in a cherry picker. It was a strong looking hive, about the size of a 6 or 7 gallon bucket. You could see the bees clustered inbetween the combs from the ground. It had survived last winter and so far this winter, and I was trying to find a location for a couple of swarm traps nearby. Well, I stopped by this morning to peek in on it after our storm last night, we had 50-60 mph winds and heavy rain, and found the hive broken in pieces on the ground. Most of the bees had crawled up on the comb and were trying to warm themselves in the sun. I scooped up all the pieces with bees on them and put them in a cardboard box. I never did see the queen, but there were several clumps, so I'm hopeful. Most of the comb I picked up in big sheets, biggest approx. 14" X 24". It was full of brood and eggs, but after laying out in the rain in 45 degrees all night, I'm not very confident that they'll survive. There were still lots of bees clustered up on the limb, but as I said before, there's no easy way to get to them. I wish I had remembered to take some pics, but was so shocked to see it on the ground, I started digging to find something to put them in and forgot. I do have this one photo of them clustering on a 25 degree morning. Its sideways, but thats the only one I have. Cemetary hive.jpg

  2. #2

    Default Re: Cemetary Bees

    There's nothing better than free bees! I hope it all works out for you.
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Imperial, MO, USA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Cemetary Bees

    Do you get a lot of hives down there that are "exposed" like that (built outside of a cavity)?
    "Teach your kids to hunt and fish, and you won't have to hunt for your kids"
    Four Ridge Apiaries www.fourridgebees.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,998

    Default Re: Cemetary Bees

    Free bees are good, but this time of the year is tough. What you do with them depends on whether there is a queen in there. This time of the year I don't think you'll find drones flying so they can't make a new queen from young larvae. If there's a queen then you're good to go...feed'em and let'em settle in a bit. When it warms up do a "cut out" and install the comb in frames. If there isn't a queen I would say do a newspaper combine with a weak colony.

    But, I'm just a newbee, so take that for what it might be (or might not be!) worth.

    Ed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Clarendon County, SC, USA
    Posts
    155

    Default Re: Cemetary Bees

    I took them home at lunch and put them in a deep. They were crawling and grooming the honey/water off of each other at 48F and flying at 53F. Since they were flying, I decided to rubber band a few of the brood combs in a nuc and see if they will cluster and save some of the brood. I put a couple of frames of brood in a nuc with the bees with a pollen patty and feeder, and put the comb full of honey mixed with water in the freezer to be cleaned up later. All total, I got two deeps worth of comb. cemetary bees 4.jpgCemetary bees 3.jpgcemetary 2.jpgI did see the queen before I closed them up. She was dirty and sticky with honey, but she was being groomed and was surrounded in a cluster of bees so I think they'll be ok, even if the brood is a loss.There was a large section of drone comb capped over, I put those in the freezer too. We don't normally get hives like these, they're normally in a tree cavity, or an old barn or shed. I missed an opportunity to get a hive from under someones house earlier this week, I was the second caller not the first.
    Last edited by Blackwater Bees; 01-31-2013 at 01:46 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,998

    Default Re: Cemetary Bees

    Good for you!...and the bees!! Now keep some feed on them for a while. Being an external colony I would think that these will be some hardy bees. Fantastic that you found the queen, too! Keep us posted!

    Ed

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    McComb, Ms.
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Cemetary Bees

    Glad you thought to check on them. I wish you weel with them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    782

    Default Re: Cemetary Bees

    Great effort. Please update this thread as the season progresses. -js

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Cemetary Bees

    The story of the hunt and catch is interesting. But I would like to bring up one issue that may be of concern to you, being that the hive was out in the open like that it may be Africanized. As I understand it hiving in the open and in low locations is a common trait attached to Africanized Honey Bees.

    Just a thought, you'll know later by their defensive behavior.
    2nd Year New-Bee - 15 Hives, 11 Nuc's, 26 Swarms, 3 Cut outs in 2014
    Zone 10 - B - Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Clarendon County, SC, USA
    Posts
    155

    Default Re: Cemetary Bees

    Thats not a problem, now. I noticed no activity over the weekend. Tap and listen produced no "buzz". Popped the top and found no cluster, just dead bees on the sbb. I guess laying out in the rain, and subsequent cold nights were too much for them. I did get some great comb, which I'll freeze the rest of for a couple of days and treat it for wax moths before putting it up.

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