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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Harris County, Texas
    Posts
    20

    Default Cut Out "Success Rate"

    I've done a 4 or 5 cut outs now (either assisting or on my own), but I haven't been very successful with having the colonies survive or stay put more than a couple of weeks. Of the cutouts I've done, I think I only have one that overwintered. Most of the cutouts have been of new colonies with very little or no brood. So even if I'm successful at capturing the queen, the workers I capture have been through a lot - swarmed, built comb, started collecting pollen/nectar, only to have a big buffoon in a white suit come suck them up, dump them into a box in a new location and expect them to start all over again.

    So, assuming that I've been able to capture the queen and have minimal mortality from my bee vacuum, what "success rate" should I expect on cut outs. Feel free to offer your definition of "success" as well.

    Now that I have several established hives, I'm hoping to improve my cut out survival rate by having frames of brood available to donate to the cut out colonies. This should build up their numbers more quickly and perhaps reduce the likelihood of the cut outs absconding.

    Edit: In the eyes of a client, the cut outs are generally successful merely by removing the bees from the wall, ceiling, etc. The long-term survivability of the bees isn't something that I would guarantee to a prospective client.

    Thanks,
    Patrick
    Houston, Texas
    Last edited by Cactus; 06-23-2013 at 11:20 PM. Reason: Added comment

  2. #2

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    I to have poor luck with cut out bees. My current plans are to park a nuc on top of the cut out hive boxes so I can do a Combined if need to. The nuc will have a double Screen bottom.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,927

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    4 out of 4 of my cut out colonies have done just as well as any swarm, split or nuc I have started.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    Hey Patrick! I too am in Houston, Texas (turf war coming.. ) and thinking about this just last night, hence the posting today. I've done 20+ cutouts since starting a month ago. Of that, I've had maybe 50% success with the bees. Off hand, I've had 1 that made it a month before I think I tossed the queen out while fixing comb, and they absconded. I've had several fall victim to SHB due to the stress of the move, discovering the hive slimed a few days later. And as of late I've had a lot of them abscond.

    On all my removals, I take special care to transfer as much of the brood comb as possible to help the bees rebound. I don't transfer any honeycomb, to try an mitigate how many SHB I bring along, and instead just leave it out in the yard to be robbed out.

    Catching the queen is of course vital, but then again I've caught the queen on all but I think two jobs, and you now know my success rate. Really, I see catching the queen as being vital while on site. I don't know that she really changes how much luck I've had when I get them home.

    It seems my rate of post transplant absconding has increased lately. I'm wondering if when I place the new colony on the rail in my yard beside my other colonies if they feel there is too much competition and bail, or if they are moving next door. I certainly haven't seen a population boost to convince me of the latter.

    On a side note, Patrick do you care to share the steps you take during the removal? I recently reviewed the work of another guy (who swooped in and snatched a job that was waiting on me) and I was a little disturbed by what I found. It seems he got rid of the bee "problem" but part of it involved some sort of white powder that was applied to the whole area, which was laden with dead bees. He also left quite a bit of honeycomb, just stuff that he didn't clean up well enough. I'm just trying to learn from what others do to improve my own work.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Harris County, Texas
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    Tom,
    I got started by watching/assisting with a couple of bee removals at our church. In the last 10 years, we've probably had 5 or 6 colonies move into the sanctuary walls and/or attic space. A few years ago I took over some maintenance responsibilities and decided to use a live removal service rather than call a pest control company. So I called in a locally known "bee wrangler" from Alvin and learned some from her.

    This year I started a landscaping company and got my state permits for bee removals so I could offer that as a service. My last two cutouts were for colonies less than a week or so old. In the first instance, I couldn't see any signs of eggs or larvae - just nectar and some pollen. I didn't save this comb - just set the comb and bees into a box (while searching for the queen) and then vacuumed the rest. I scrapped all the remaining wax from the cutout, sprayed some "Bee Quick" in the cavity to keep the returning foragers away, filled the cavity with insulation, closed up the ceiling and sealed the cracks with expansive foam. That colony didn't last more than a week in the beeyard before absconding.

    In the second case, there was capped larvae, but the comb was so soft that I couldn't keep it secured in the frames while I was on site. I followed the same procedure as above. I thought the workers acted as though I had the queen in the box, but I never saw her. I know I need to get better at locating the queen, but it's never happened while I was doing the cutout - just sometimes afterwards.

    These were both jobs in garage soffits where I had to reach in from the side. The jobs were easy enough that I was able to make the repairs and seal against new swarms moving in. I wouldn't want to be responsible for repairs on larger or more complex jobs. Other than using the Bee Quick, I don't use any chemicals or pesticides - that's a no-no for the type of removal permit I have through the TAIS. I do let the clients know that bees may form a small cluster somewhere nearby if I'm not there late enough to get all of the foragers, but that's not been a problem for more than a day.

    I'm still very new to this and expect to make more mistakes. Before I do many more cut outs, I need to find another out yard to house them. That's one of my next steps if I want to seriously include bee removals in my portfolio of services. So far it's just been people who know me asking for help. I've not yet advertised my services (and I may decide against it).

  6. #6

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    Tell me about these "permits". I've never known of any special permit I need to do bee removals, and I don't carry any. Is it just some sort of liabilty protection? I've seen the bee wranglers website, and I know she mentions these same permits. But I've also talked to several other people that do removals that aren't aware of any required permits. I know for pest control, if you want to use pesticides you have to be permitted, but I too only do chemical free work, so I'm not worried about that.

    I have had worse luck with really young colonies like that. It's like they are still in a swarming mindset, and just can't help but run off. I had one even stick with me long enough that they started building comb, the queen even laid eggs, and then they bailed. I don't get it.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Harris County, Texas
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Brueggen View Post
    Tell me about these "permits".
    Take a look at this nice write-up from the Harris County Beekeepers Association: Texas Bee Laws and Regulations [PDF]. It gives some details on Page 4. My understanding is that you need to be a registered beekeeper (free) and pay $35 for a bee removal permit (which expires in August). If you transport bees across county lines, you may also need to have an intrastate transport permit (another $35). There are no tests, TAIS inspections or proof of liability insurance required for any of these - just fill out the papers and send the state some money.

    I am still unclear about the included prohibition against "electrical devices". I just called the TAIS to get clarification about the use of bee vacuums, but everyone is out to lunch.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Vernon, AZ. USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    I find that screening them them in for a few days helps. The wild hybrids w/ african genetics tend to suck up a full feeder and then leave in a day. Force them to stay and it'll help. Give an inner feeder if you do. Sometimes they just have'nt had enough flying around, it seems! When they make comb & a few eggs they stay more often.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    This certainly helps! Thanks. I suppose I can handle the $35 (or $70, whatever it was) on an annual basis to be more legit. I suppose in 99% of the time, I stay in Harris county, so I'm good there, but I guess I am technically supposed to be registered with over 12 hives.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    Well, I am also in Harris county, Baytown to be exact. I have done three cutouts and one worked, one was split, One was a fake nest, when opened there were only bees, no comb, no queen that I could find. Those were wild and mean bees. I scooped them by hand into a box four times and they flew out four times. WOW! were they mad. I sprayed the cavity with Bee Quick and left it at that. Out near Anachuac.
    One had settled on a high limb and lived there for a year! Ten full combs. That one is still with me. More a swarm than a CO.
    One I cut out of a garage wall. Never did find that queen so I did a newspaper split with a big hive I have and three weeks later they are doing well.
    I turned one down after looking at it. In a close neighborhood and I didn't want to chance folk or kids being stung.
    I get agreement that the home owner will make repairs after I do the CO. I try to make good clean cuts, clean up the trash, explain how to fill the cavity and leave repairs to them. Otherwise I don't take the job. If you don't have a trigger speed controlled Reciprocating saw you have never lived!

    Last week I visited the Houston Beekeepers Club. Were you two there?
    Last edited by julysun; 06-24-2013 at 01:43 PM.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Harris County, Texas
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    Last week I visited the Houston Beekeepers Club. Were you two there?
    I've attended the Harris County Beekeepers meeting a couple of times, but it's been awhile (their meeting place is closer). I never felt particularly welcomed. Nobody was rude or mean to me, but nobody seemed to care that I was there, either. I ended up keeping my membership check in my pocket and left.
    Now that I'm doing some cutouts and have several established hives, I really need to go again. It's silly not to take advantage of local resources and knowledge.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    houston, tx
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    I'm in Galveston County...

    I'm running 1 for 3... just had one swarm off this morning on me <sigh>

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    Hey, I plan to go to Pasadena tonight provided my Kid Taxi work does not conflict. Maybe I will see you there. I'll wear Julysun on my name tag. Old guy, good looking and friendly!

    Harris County Beekeepers Assoc. 5001 Oak Ave. 77503 (In Pasadena)
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    Hey, I plan to go to Pasadena tonight provided my Kid Taxi work does not conflict. Maybe I will see you there. I'll wear Julysun on my name tag. Old guy, good looking and friendly!
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Harris County, Texas
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    Quote Originally Posted by julysun View Post
    Hey, I plan to go to Pasadena tonight provided my Kid Taxi work does not conflict.
    I think you mean tomorrow night (Tuesday). But I have a conflict this month and won't be able to make it. Perhaps in July.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Cut Out "Success Rate"

    Good point! Maybe July.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

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