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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    1,503

    Default Cutout in a porch column

    Got a call about recovering a hive from a porch column. A photo of the image is below

    2013-08-23 17.04.02.jpg

    The house is about 90 years old. If you look closely you can see that the column as shifted at the bottom and as well as where the deck is attached. The cement is about like sand, with the exception of a couple places were some shoddy repairs were made. We think this was constructed with a central 8x8 post that has rotted out or eaten up by termites. It is surprising that it hasn't collapsed yet, as it seem the only thing holding the bricks in place is gravity. The tenant of the house was there today and I asked how long the bees were there. He had lived there for 4 years and there has been bees all four years. I'm hoping that after bracing the thing we can remove the top cap and the bricks will come out pretty easy. Work down until we hit the comb and then start attaching it to frames. The entrance is very small and it is on the backside of the column were the floor joist is attached. A ton of bees at the hive entrance this afternoon. I was thinking to myself that there is a lot of activity, but they don't seem to aggressive when I got stung in the temple. Doh!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    977

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    It will be interesting to see how big the colony is. Wish I was there to help.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greene, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    570

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    Sounds kinda fun. I'd help too if I was closer. Love that stuff.
    No one famous.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    647

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    Late in the season, they have been there 4 years, ask them to wait till next spring.

    Don

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    1,503

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    I'm sure owner of the house has to fix it. This is rental property and I think that he can't rent that unit since that column isn't safe. That and the door to the unit is the one that you see in the picture, and in the afternoon the bee traffic is quite impressive. Granted, from the porch you are not in the flight path, but I'm sure that it would be very difficult to convince a potential tenant that the bees are not going to harm them. The column probably hasn't been safe for a long time, if you look at the picture you can see how bad the thing has shifted, but now it probably has become an issue costing them money. On rental property like this the owners are not likely to make "improvements" like this unless they have no choice, since the end result will not make it worth more to rent. They are taking it down regardless of the bees. The owner did not ask me to get the bees, the construction company did since he couldn't get his guys to tear down the column due to the bees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    Go get the bees. Get as much of their comb as possible and rubber band it into frames. Once you get them hived and located in your bee yard feed the heck out of them. You should have a good chance of getting them through the winter. I have gotten four cut outs this year and everyone of them really took off once they were settled in their hives. One other thing once you get them home I would keep them sealed up for a couple of days. Make sure you have them well ventilated.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greene, Missouri, USA
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    570

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    I agree with Bill. Get them out, and get them settled. It would have been great to wait until Spring, but sometimes you just can't. Do a real good job of feeding them, and they will have a great chance of wintering. If it were me, I would make sure I could save as much brood comb and honey comb as possible. Hopefully there will be enough bees to defend and build the hive. I would also get a hold of some pollen cakes to feed them, along with the syrup. That will help with establishing enough brood for a strong hive. I am sure you have all this planned out already, but it never hurts to brain storm together.
    No one famous.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    1,503

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    Yes, I've done a couple with my cousin who may come down to help me if he gets his bear fence done. This is the first real test for my bee vac, a robo style with a cutout shim. The funny part is going to be shoring up the thing. The contractor is deathly afraid of bees, but I'm going to need him to shore up the structure, so the plan is that I beevac the bees as they are entering the hive to get the numbers down a bit, at least that is what he is thinking. I'm thinking that if we wait until about 7 PM to put the bracing in place there will be very little activity and he won't be as freaked out by it. Then I can let him use a veil I have or even my suit if it fit him and I would assist on that part.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing how big it is in there. I know the post should have rotten from the bottom up, so it is possible that it goes all the way to the ground.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greene, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    570

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    So, are you sure that is an 8x8 post? Sometimes they were hollow, but the lumber was fairly thick. Just wondering. If so, the hive could go both directions; up and down the post hole. I think you are right though, the bricks look like they will come appart easily with a hammer and dull chisel.

    The contractor is going to be talking about his experience with bees for a long time. It looks like he could place a large block on the ground, cut a timber just a touch longer than the hight of the porch eve, and jack the whole thing up so the timber could fit under the eve. Then he could jack up the porch a bit and fasten a block on the timber under the porch lip. It may turn out to be more complicated than that, but it looks fairly easy. The rest would be up to you. Will you be taking photos of the process?
    No one famous.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    1,503

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    We have no clue what is behind the brick, but whatever it is, it isn't structural any more. You can see from the photo how badly it is off kilter. It is also shifted slightly the other direction as well. He is assuming that it is a post since it wouldn't be structural if it were just a pile of bricks. I was wondering if there was 8x8x8 block in there, but it wouldn't have shifted the way that it did if that were the case and it would make for a very small void. The first 7 courses are shifted to the right in the photo and then there is a shift of about an inch or so were the deck level meets the column.

    A asked him the plan and he said that he was going to shore the deck to the ground and then to shore up from the deck to the roof. The deck is very sturdy, and the area were the trash cans are has a concrete pad were there are cellar steps going down. I assume after everything is in place the top portion could be cut off and then remove the top capping block. Then I should be able to remove the bricks with a crowbar, maybe need to chip away at a little bit of the cement to get them loose.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    1,503

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    I finally did the cutout. Wish I could have waited to spring but the owner of the house and the owner of the construction company both wanted the bees dead. I hope I can get them through winter. Had to start from the top, comb was all the way to the top of the column and went down for 22 courses of bricks. This is old brick with thick mortar joints, so I think the total length was a little over 7 feet tall. There was a ton of honey in this hive, about 100 pounds or so worth. Which sucks, because I had to start at the top where the honey was. There was honey from top to bottom in this hive. Took about 5 stings, but that isn't too bad considering I didn't were my bee suit, I just wore a veil, a long sleeve shirt and some nitrile gloves. Cant say enough about those thickster gloves, I wore the same gloves all day long, no tears. Of course my hands looked like prunes at the end of the day, but that is ok. I left the hive on the top of the deck to see if some of the bees that had stayed underneath the deck will orient to the box. A decent number of bees were orienting to the box, so I'll check in the morning.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    706

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    Really cool. Glad you got them. But did you get any pictures ????

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greene, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    570

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    Hope you got photos. I know it's hard to when everything is so sticky. Man, I wish I could have been there. Please let us know how things turned out with the bees. Good job.
    No one famous.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    I got a few pics I'll put up in a bit. Once you get started it gets so messy it is hard to take photos. i wish you were there BW, I could have used the help!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    Here are a few pics.

    This is just a couple courses of bricks down.
    Attachment 7669

    This is Kayleigh with the bee vac.
    Attachment 7670

    This is down 6 or 7 courses of bricks. It was starting to get unstable so I had no option but to start removing comb. At this point it became a sticky mess.
    Attachment 7671

    This was when I finally got to the bottom of the hive.
    Attachment 7672

    In hind sight I should have tried to remove one side of the bricks from the outside and exposed the whole thing first. The problem with that though is that it is brick, so it isn't like a sheet of plywood that you can do quickly. Maybe I could have used an angle grinder to get the joints basically clean first, vac'ed up the dust and then started pulling brick. If I could have done it that way I could have worked more from the bottom and wouldn't have had as much dripping honey.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greene, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    570

    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    Hmmmmmm. Somehow, I cannot open the attachments. If they are on your computer, reduce the size down to about 600 pixels, and see if they will attach. Sorry.
    No one famous.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column

    Ha! Everyone complains about file downloads, but I never had a problem. Until now!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column


  19. #19
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column


  20. #20
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Cutout in a porch column


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