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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    1,995

    Question Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    I've just done a few cut-outs so far, but I find a special challenge in getting the queen. She will often run and hide when you're in the process of cutting out the nest.

    I'm wondering about techniques, and tricks of the trade from you people who've done a lot of it.

    What's your general approach?
    Is there a way you like to go about doing a cut-out that makes getting the queen easier?
    Do you worry much about the queen at all?


    I'll think of more questions, I'm sure. But I'm looking to learn more about the best way to approach these in a general sense. I know that a lot is dictated by the specific situation.

    Thanks,

    Adam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    839

    Default Re: Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    I've found that a bee vac is a must. I open up the entire cavity before starting to cut anything out. That way I can vacume up the festooning bees first. The queen usually isn't with the festooning bees and it'll make it much easier to remove the comb w/o the extra bees there.
    As you remove them pay attention to how you remove them. You don't want to push them into a spot that you can't get to. For example I did this cut-out about 3 weeks ago. . . 100_9433.jpg
    This was from a swarm that took up residence about a week and a half before. YOu see how near the top of the cavity it seems open? Well it is. And it goes all the way up to the ceiling of the floor above. So what I did was I removed this hive leaving a comb in the center of the cavity. That way I wouldn't push them up into that area. If the queen would have gone up there she'd have been gone and it would have been VERY difficult to get them out.
    Some people use rubber bands to secure the wax in the frames but I haven't to this point. I got some plastic mesh (about 1" openings) and use that to hold the wax in. Especially with this cut-out it would have been VERY difficult to use the rubber bands because the wax was so new. I got the idea from bees-on-the-net.com. YOu can find some youtube videos from Geoff both on his site and on youtube.
    I also make sure to now have some bee quick or something else. I like bee quick because it does the job and it doesn't linger like I've read bee go does.
    I have also made a tool that I use for every cut-out that has proven VERY valuable. I'll try to get a picture and post it sometime. This tool enables me to get flat against the wall or other surface and "cut" the wax off. A knife just doesn't allow you to get it flat because of the handle. So this tool has a ofset handle. (being a welder helps to make your own stuff)

    These are some thoughts. I hope it helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,712

    Default Re: Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    Bee vac, no smoke, hope for the best.
    Typically, the queen will be on the last bit of brood comb you remove. Slow and methodical is key.
    Luck also plays a part.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    839

    Default Re: Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    Agree with the no smoke. I wish I realized this when I first started cut-outs. I smoked the tar out of the first one. But it was the first time for me and honeybees. (free bees makes a happy wife. It's a "coupon" )

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    648

    Default Re: Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    Most important part to me of any removal is getting the money right.

    And to do that I've learned you have to positively know where the bees are at BEFORE quoting a price.

    What may seem like an easy removal can turn into something completely different if the bees are not where you expect them to be. it's double important if you are also handling the repairs when finished.

    Don

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Greene, (Upstate) NY. The Great USA
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    No Smoke. I use plastic grocery bags to plug every nook and cranny after the entire hive is opened up. Keeps those sneaky running queens from getting back in a building where I can't reach her.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    1,995

    Default Re: Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    Good points on the smoke. And the money issue is probably really important as well. I haven't been doing them for pay at this point, as I didn't have any experience.

    But I'm working on my fourth one now...

    Don, I have already seen how your point is right, as in two occasions the bees have been far more difficult to get than we thought. Inevitably, the bees have some little escape passage, where they can run and hide, leading to more and more work and time.

    The big issue for me is the running queen. I've been really surprised at how she'll run and hide. You don't see it in a hive inspection, because you're accessing deep into colony so easily and quickly, without having to cause a lot of destruction. But in a cut-out, where the hive is being taken apart, she's programmed to save herself, and the bees seem to try to hide her.

    So times like Huntingstoneboy's plastic bags are key too...

    Adam

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bloomfield,KY
    Posts
    283

    Default Re: Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    If you run into a situation where the bees have moved to a place that you can't get to them leave a brood comb or two in place for a few hours or overnight if possible then vacuum the bees from those combs and take the combs out, this way she should come back onto those two combs. if the queen ran and hid
    "Of all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves its environment and preys on no other species."--Haydon Brown

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    Sometimes I take ques from the rest of the bees. They will often tell me where she is by their fanning or by the general directions they migrate during the later half of the removal - especially if she's moved off of the remaining brood comb. Sometimes they are fanning like crazy at the removal box and that;s when I realize I've already got her-of course sometimes those bees are just as confused as I am.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,000

    Default Re: Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    Why no smoke?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,000

    Default Re: Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    My cutout yesterday, with a few puffs of smoke to begin. Queen was on the ground at the end of the cutout. Six medium frames of brood, only about 20 lbs. of honey.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    721

    Default Re: Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    Found out the other day I *REALLY* need a bee vac while doing this cutout, plus I couldn't use smoke.
    DSC00571a.jpg

    After an initial assessment of the colony I cut from one side to the other until I start getting into brood, the I start from the other side and go until I hit brood. Here's the point of why I do that, and given most cutouts are completely different from the other, always leave 1 piece of comb with brood on it to cut out last. The reason you leave a piece of brood comb to remove last is the queen will more than likely be on it. If you don't get the queen you will have to go through every nook and cranny vacuuming bees making sure you got the queen. When you capture the queen and put her in the new hive and finish your cutout, all your bees will be in the hive by dusk and not clumping up in the old void with the queen.
    Last edited by rwurster; 07-21-2013 at 03:12 AM.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    839

    Default Re: Cut-Outs: Let's Talk Technique. Any Tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Why no smoke?
    Using smoke I have driven bees (and the quen) off of the brood and into another area that I couldn't get to. Not using smoke once you open them up within a few minutes they're very calm. It's almost as if they know what's going on and don't fight.

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