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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN., USA
    Posts
    174

    Default Removing and established colony from a building.

    I might get a shot at removing an established colony from some apartments not far from my home. I'm just a hobbyst leval beekeeper and never done that before. The maintenance guy asked me how much I'd charge. I said I'd charge nothing and I'd attempt it just for the bees and the experience of doing it.
    From what I have heard, the key is getting the queen out??
    "IF" I attempt this, is this plan correct?
    I want to get all the bees, comb, and brood as possible. I'm not planning on even being able to see the queen, but get her in the process. I have not even seen it yet and so I don't know how physically okward or easy situation the colony is to remove.
    I know they attach their combs on the underside of something so I plan to : Cut all the combs one at a time from where they are attached at the top and place them in something keeping each one in the upright position as it was hanging.; only then they wont be hanging anymore but resting in something. I have to rig or come up with something for this. Any suggestions please??
    These will go in a 8 frame medium box and that will just remain the bottom box of the hive the colony will go into after I put the hive in the new location. Then I'll just stack boxes with frames on as you would any other hive frome there on up.
    Is this a good plan, or am I way off base here? Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    649

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    do a youtube search for jpthebeeman and check out his cutout videos, he explains it well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    I've done a lot of cutouts. Sometimes you see the queen. Sometimes you don't...

    http://bushfarms.com/beesferal.htm#removal
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    fairfield, sc
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    The plan sounds good, and you can potentially tell after doing the swarm removal. A quick method of determining this, as with all swarm removals is to leave the 'captured swarm' close by and see if the bees start going to that 'new' location. This could be as simple as leaving the nuc/hive box on the ground under where the bees were. They'll smell the queen bee and go there. If they keep going back to the tree, then you perhaps didn't get the queen. repeat the 'shake' again and let's things settle a bit. Of course, this works on exterior captures, and not always from buildings or structures.

    Something I'd do, also as a precautionary thing is just to write up something you can both agree on and have both parties sign it. This will usually protect you from liability if you to remove any structures and you might include that you're not responsible for any damage either - although you agree to be as little destructive as possible.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN., USA
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Removing an established colony from a building.

    Apartment Bees.jpg
    Here is a picture.
    This could be a tough one or easy don't know yet. The entrance is the hole directly above the overhang where it attaches to the building (cannot see bees but they are there). The hole might be about the size of your hand excluding fingers. I think the hole entrance actually goes into the bricks the building itself and not into the overhang. That door is the entrance to someone's apartment.
    Thanks for all advice given.
    Last edited by LampBurner; 06-07-2013 at 10:49 AM. Reason: Typo corrction

  6. #6

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    For your first one I would run from it. They are in the brick or under side of the roof. Both are hard.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    Looks hard. Unless you're a licensed contractor it's generally a bad idea to do construction/demolition work on buildings, especially commercial buildings where the person approving the work is not the building owner.

    That said, working with the bees is not that hard. If you can find a contractor willing to open up the wall/ceiling/floor until you find the colony and then come back when you are done, then it would be more do-able. The contractor would charge, of course, but you wouldn't have to.

    Rubber bands are the easiest way to attach cutout combs to frames. Just cut them to the size of a frame, put them in place, and add two rubber bands. The bees will soon attach the top and sides to the frame. If you have more time and inclination you can make "cut-out" frames which hinge open at the bottom and are wired on both sides to hold the comb in place: http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/cut-out-frames/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sheboygan, WI, USA
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    I'm going to echo the last two posts and say that this is beyond your first time removal experience level. Find a more experienced beek from your area who has done removals before and assist him/her on this job...... if they want to do it. It does not look like an easy removal.
    To find out more about me go to
    www.broomsbylittlejohn.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN., USA
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Removing an established colony from a building.

    I was under the impression the apartent maintenance guy is actually who is going to do the destruction and then re-construction afterwords. If that turns out not to be the case, I will indeed give it up and not mess with it. I've been waiting to hear back from him after leaving a message to discuss that. Don't know what if anything is going to happen yet.
    Good info about attaching natural combs into frames though.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    So he is going to use your suit to do the cut out? Other wise he is going to have a challange.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    649

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    That sounds like a good plan get him a suit have him lead on the opening of the building once he opens the colony then you take over once all the bees at off site stick around and help put the building back together to gain some construction knowledge

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN., USA
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    Hopefully the cut out will be minimal. That goes withoug saying. I will offer to help repair afterwords, have to wait to see if they accept or not. I think I should get the bees somewhere else first then return. I'll loan him my suite while he's doing the cut out then I'll put it on if that is how it goes. Still haven't heard back from him as of yet. Could be that he just doesn't do anything on weekends, even talk on the phone about work related things, and I might hear from him Monday or sometime during the week. I might even not hear from him. If so, I guess I probibably should figure they have other plans to resolve their issue and go on. Nothing gained and nothing lost.
    Last edited by LampBurner; 06-09-2013 at 07:59 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    646

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    These posts are giving you good advice IMO. The Youtube vids are set pieces and will lead you into deep water. Ohio, well maybe bees are nice there, here, in Houston they send you an email to bring help. The deconstruct problems aside bees get VERY angry when you start pulling their nest apart. Have a good smoker, very good suit Thickset vinyl gloves, a good vacuum and tools. I see vids where all the bees stay on the comb and am some amazed and a lot skeptical. Bees here simply jump off the comb, run everywhere and form a persistent cloud around you. I just finished my fourth cutout in three weeks, and they are tough, hot and messy. Maybe one day soon I will learn how. Good luck.

    ,Don't wear Levis, bees don't like dark colors. If you must, have them heavily starched because when stretched, like when squatting, bees can and do sting through them!
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN., USA
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    Thanks for all advice given. I still haven't heard from the man though it's only early Monday morning.
    I have been wanting to pre-prepair for this, piticularly in regard to placing the combs in whatever on sight at the time of removal from the building. That is good about cutting the combs to the shape of inside of frames and tyeing them in with rubber bands; but I won't be able to do that on sight but have to later. Would it be ok to just put them in a nuke box with them leaning against each other? I don't like that idea at all. Seems like that would be very damaging to the combs and bees and very messy too, but don't really know what else to do.
    It would be helpful for me if it were possible we could open up where the colony is first one day and take a look at it, then temporary close the opening back to return in the naxt day or so knowing and prepared and equiped with a plan for what is there.
    I just don't have a vacume for sucking bees julysun. I have only seen them before a time or two and can see thay don't appear to be terrably hard to construct. That is beside the point though. If a vacume is going to be a necessary piece of equipment, then they probibably should just hire a qualified removal person. Then if I happen to be off work that day and able to be there, I can at least watch and learn how it's done.
    What little bit I do figure is that just based on the amount of bees flying in and out of the hole, it doesn't seem to be a large colony, but it could be increasing in numbers as we speak.
    Last edited by LampBurner; 06-10-2013 at 05:56 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    If you want to save the colony (and why else would you take on the job?) you will need to attach the brood comb into frames on site. It really is not that hard with a sharp knife and a good supply of rubber bands. The nurse bees (and hopefully the queen, as 90% of the time she is on a brood comb) will stay with the brood, and bees will start fanning telling the rest of the bees where home is. You can bring a bucket for scraps of comb and non-brood comb, and if you shake/brush all of the bees from unsaved combs into the new box you will have a good chance of getting the queen in there. You will still have plenty of bees congregating at the old location, hence the usefulness of a bee vacuum if you need to wrap up the job on a contractor's schedule. If you just stack all the combs in a box the bees won't be able to make a "home" there and much brood will be lost if the comb collapses. The queen will likely get crushed between combs. Then you will have the whole hive in the air, very angry, and trying to sting the strange two-legged bear that caused all of this trouble.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,604

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    I agree with Luterra about not stacking brood comb,. If you do, you run the risk of small hive beetles setting up in the stacked combs as the bees may not be able to protect it. It only takes a few days to overwhelm the hive. Far better to rubber band a few good brood combs, and remove all other comb from the cutout area.

    cchoganjr

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Greene, (Upstate) NY. The Great USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Removing and established colony from a building.

    I drill holes in the endbars of my wooden frames next the existing holes but off to one side (both ends) I then run 30lb test mono thru these holes creating a support on one side of the frame. This way, as you cut your brood comb out you can lay it in the frames, and it has some support, I then apply 3 rubber bands. Keeps things nice and straight in the hive box. Also, as we go we place small amounts of fresh comb wax between each frame so they do not shift during transport. I have only done 5 cut-outs thus far, but my mentor has done many, and he has taught me a lot. Also, spend $22 at home depot and buy a Bucket-vac! It's priceless! Caught a couple queens with it so far..Unharmed!

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