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  1. #1
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    Mar 2013
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    National City, MI, USA
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    Default Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    My Father in-law just informed me that he has 3 Wood Duck nesting boxes with wild honeybees in them. Questions, Is it okay to relocate these boxes to my bee yard without doing anything with the bees? When should I try removing the bees and comb from the duck boxes and place them into Langstrom hives?

    Thanks,
    Rodney

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Rockford, MI
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    2,748

    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    Myself, I would wait a little longer (60-65 degree days) and perform the cutouts there. Leave your langs there for a few days then relocate them to my apiary. I I mean your apiary. lol

  3. #3
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    Midland, MI
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    I sure hope I luck into "wild" bees like you did! I'm not too far from you (about an hour and a half) so there is hope for my wild bee quest.

    If you're planning to keep and manage these bees to harvest honey and wax, then yes, you're on the right track. You will have to open up the duck houses and remove the comb to place into the new hive. you can cut the comb out and rubber band, or tie the comb into your langstroth frames. Just try to set them up in the same relative locations so that the brood area is more or less unchanged. Essentially, you're doing a cut out, but in a nice neat box that you can take wherever it is convenient to work on. Do use caution so you don't damage the queen

    If you're just trying to get the bees to your place, then simply seal up the duck houses and relcoate them. Doing this won't allow you to easily monitor the colony though. It all boils down to what yor goal is.

    You might also considering waiting a bit until it warms up. We're still pretty cold for messing about with bees. Exposure to cold air temps can kill the bees that have survived all winter clustered up in a nice warm ball in those houses.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    Make sure there his boxes.. if they are state or federal boxes that is a seriious crime..... Just saying...

  5. #5
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    Mar 2013
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    National City, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    Make sure there his boxes.. if they are state or federal boxes that is a seriious crime..... Just saying...
    Definately his boxes, he hangs them up along a river.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    I would think it would be fine to move them to your apiary now - if you can screen the entrances so they don't fly out. However, just as Mr. Beeman says I wouldn't do the cutouts from the duck boxes until the weather is much warmer. Also, put out swarm traps right back out there as soon as the weather is warmer if you want more bees.

  7. #7
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    Midland, MI
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    Also, put out swarm traps right back out there as soon as the weather is warmer if you want more bees.
    I'd be happy to come set up a few swarm traps if you don't want to. It sounds like you've got a great spot for catching them!

  8. #8
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    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    734

    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    Are they honeybees or bumble bees????? Had bumble bees move into a bird house last summer.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    National City, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    Update: Father-Inlaw took the boxes off the trees and placed them in his back yard. Only 2 had bees, something got into the 3rd box. Boxes are 14"x14"x24" tall. We estimate the first weighs somewhere in the 40lb range, the second box we think is pushing 50lbs. I have no idea what the box would weigh empty. The first box is in great condition, so we only added a piece of plywood with a slot to cover the large opening for the ducks, this was the only opening. Don't really know why since they've been doing fine with out it, but it does make it look more like a hive The second box, well lets just say, we are lucky it's still held together. Both sides are busted out , bottom is barely attached, top was for the most part non existent. This box had 2 holes on each side with the the holes being one inch in diameter, the front had about a 4" diameter duck entrance hole. For this hive my father-inlaw constructed another "shell" to keep any critters from gaining easy access. We briefly remove this shell to dertermine if the condition of the box warranted cutting them out and placing them in a hive body. Since it was barely above 50 degrees today and windy we decided to wait for warmer weather. Here are a few photos

    Hive 1
    IMG_0553.jpg
    Hive 2 duck entrance note the comb in this hive goes every which way.IMG_0557.jpg

    Hive 2 piling out of the 1" hole. The 2 holes on the other side are completely blocked. The other hole on this side is open about 3/8 of an inch.
    IMG_0558.jpg

    Can someone tell me if the two bees at 6 o'clock are drones? and if the two bees at 12 o'clock are workers? I'm trying to improve my ability to id them. And is it normal to see drones this time of year? It's still around freezing at night and just hitting 50 during the day here in MI.

    Thanks

  10. #10
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    May 2009
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    no drones in that pic...... normal not to many drones, but I opened 30 hives today (first warm snap) and about 1/3 had some drones and 2-3 of my breeder hives already have drone comb.... not much but a few cells.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Jacksonville, Florida
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    Dang that's pretty good! You should put out some real swarm traps with frames. Sounds like you have a real good spot.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    Move them now, when you can. I wouldn't be concerned about the temperature. I move bees in all temperatures. But, it probably would be a good idea to wait for warmer temps before working them into other equipment.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  13. #13
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    Mar 2013
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    National City, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    Okay, looks like this weekend is a go for relocating the bees from the duck boxes into the Langstrom hives. A few questions, the bees have been flying when the weather has been above 50, which has only been about the last week and a half.

    So when does the queen start laying in the Spring? is it possible she could be ramping up production now?
    Once I cut the comb and place in foundationless frame and then place them in the brood box do I seal up the hive for a few days? I have FBM top feeders that I plan on using with a 1:1 sugar water mix.
    If I remember correctly the bees are currently in a box thats 14" x 14" by 20" tall box, so two 8 frame deeps (9-5/8") should hold most of the comb right?
    Do I need a third box? deep or medium, I have both ready to go.
    Any chance that I would need to make a split? I have that ready to go as well.

    Lastly, is it possible to get the bees to transfer themselves if I cut the bottom of the duck box off and place it on top of the Langstrom body (modifying the telescoping cover from the Langstrom)? just thinking of possible options if I need to call an audible.



    Thanks in advance
    Last edited by bearkarting; 04-26-2013 at 10:45 AM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    Cut the top off and put a super on top of it w/ a cover. Bees will move up into the box above, unless they swarm.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  15. #15
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    Well, today ended up the day my father in-law and I got to cut out the bees from his wood duck nesting boxes. Unfortunately, one was completely void of live bees, but there was still a ton of honey.
    hive 1.jpgbugs.jpghive 2.jpg

    Anyone have an idea of what type of bugs those pictured are?

    The second had about 2 frames worth of bees and there was larvae that looked to be about 7-8 days old, so we are hopeful that the queen is still alive and kicking. We strung up some comb (4 frames) with rubber bands it was as much comb as we dared. It got to a point that we were afraid of hurting the queen so we just removed the last bit in one big chunk and laid it in the 2nd brood box, on top of the bottom brood box. We also put 4 frames of foundation in the 2nd brood box.

    Plan is to wait until the 10th to open it up to see if any eggs have been laid.

    Thoughts?

  16. #16
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    Mar 2013
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    National City, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    Okay, its been 3 days since moving the colony out of the duck nesting boxes into the Landstrom hive. I did a quick inspection to see if anything was happening. I'm a little bit concerned that this colony isn't going to make it do to the lack of bees. My previous post I thought that there was 2 frames of bees, well that looks to be a bit optimistic. It's more like a few hundred. When I opened up the hive there was not build up on any of the frames with foundation. I decided to condense the hive from 2 brood boxes (8 frames) to 1 brood box. Leaving 3 frames of comb transferred from the duck box and 5 frames of foundation. On frame from the duck box was black comb (empty), 1 frame that was mostly empty but it did have some capped brood and some open cells with eggs and larvae. The last frame was mostly empty but it did have some pollen and honey.

    I'm not planning on going into the hive for another few weeks. Do you think that this is a lost cause?

    Here is the only good sign I have in the hive. bee larvae.jpg

    Since it's been three days from when the colony was hived, I believe that the queen is present and laying. Am I correct? I just would have thought that there would have been more eggs laid and a lot more build up of comb. Maybe the number of workers is just so low the colony can't maintain itself.

  17. #17
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    Apr 2013
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    Grass Valley, California, USA
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    -Unfortunately, one was completely void of live bees, but there was still a ton of honey.

    Thats a cool formation though. you can cut the strate stuff from the dead out and make sure as much of the worker comb is intact.

    -Anyone have an idea of what type of bugs those pictured are?

    I beleave thoughs are ants... or turmites. Probly the latter.

    -The second had about 2 frames worth of bees and there was larvae that looked to be about 7-8 days old, so we are hopeful that the queen is still alive and kicking.

    This might help to know how old the larva was and if the queen is laying. http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm

    -It got to a point that we were afraid of hurting the queen

    I think it is safe to take it apart and find the queen then transfer her.

    -So we just removed the last bit in one big chunk and laid it in the 2nd brood box, on top of the bottom brood box.

    Reducing them down was good. I think the best you can do is give them a little and expand slowly.

    -Plan is to wait until the 10th to open it up to see if any eggs have been laid.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm

    -I'm not planning on going into the hive for another few weeks. Do you think that this is a lost cause?

    Free bees are always good. If all else fails and they die you can use it to make a new hive. You can use bees and brood frome another hive to give them, this will help a lot.

    -On frame from the duck box was black comb (empty), 1 frame that was mostly empty but it did have some capped brood and some open cells with eggs and larvae. The last frame was mostly empty but it did have some pollen and honey.

    If this is their best frames then go for it.
    By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Henry County, Iowa
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    2

    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    We also have a Wood Duck Box full of honey bees . . . we are in SE Iowa and if you are interested in getting these bees and hives you can contact me at flyboy.bob@gmail.com

    Thanks,
    Bob

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    National City, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    bchriste2608, would love to get them, but a drive from northeast MI to SE Iowa is a haul for honeybees. Maybe there is someone more local that would enjoy them.

    Rodney

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Henry County, Iowa
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    2

    Default Re: Wild Honeybees in Wood Duck nesting boxes

    I know what you mean . . . I don't know if there is anyone on the list near enough to get them. There are a lot of bees.

    We live between Burlington, Iowa and Mt. Pleasant, Iowa . . . it there is anyone interested let me know.

    Bob flyboy.bob@gmail.com

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