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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    580

    Default First tree cut out

    No pictures yet. Was in a chinaberry tree.

    The people have grandkids in the yard a lot and a couple are toddlers that mess with everything. They wanted the bees gone and since the tree was dying, the tree to come down. They were planning on using a trachoe to pull the tree, put on a burnpile and lite it with diesel. So the bees are better off with me trying to save them. Hole is about 15 inches off the ground. Tree not that big, not many bees it seems, shouldn't be too tough.


    Error #1 Got started late.

    Error #2 Under estimated the size of the cavity.

    Error #3 Need better smoker fuel - was using pine straw and hay, just burns up too fast.

    Started removing limbs with chainsaw above my head to make handling easier. Bingo, got bees at 7 feet off the ground. Limb has a hollow about 4 inches in diameter and bees have short honey filled comb all up there. A hole about 2 inches in diameter off the end of a broken limb is closed with propolis. Man what a mess. About 4 to 5 feet of a hollow limb filled with bees and comb. Then the second limb about 10 to 12 inches in diameter had bees up about 2 feet into it. Trying to remove 3 to 4 inch wide pieces of honey comb to put on frames. What a slow mess. There was enough bend in the branch that cutting a piece to fit tight into a medium frame was impossible. So have a mess of honey comb, honey, and saw dust blend, any one interested. Figure will use that to feed them in a week or two to see if they rob the honey.

    Error #4 - forgot to remember the boy scout motto

    Had a minor error with bee vac. Thought the power was still to a near by barn, didn't have enough extension cord to reach. Ran that down and finally got going good. But ran out of day light. Dumped the bees from the vac system into a nuc with honey comb attached. Looks like there was enough to fill 2 or 3 big coffee cans. Cut off stump flat and level. Place plywood over it and will go back to finish tomorrow. Hope the queen didn't get wacked or does not flee.

    Never found any brood comb yet, but there is still the second branch with comb in it, looked like honey and then the trunk. Hoping the brood is in it. Seems like that would be where brood would be in a normal hive. There was enough bees clustered just prior to putting the plywood to fill another 2 or so coffee cans. As soon as the plywood was put on it, they went inside. Maybe JUST MAYBE, the queen will be there still tomorrow.

    Plan is to try to vacuum up all the bees tomorrow and pull what comb I can to place in frame by reaching into the trunk. Main hole is about 8 to 10 inches diameter. Then cut another section just above where I stopped removing comb, and work that way down.

    Trap out would have been easier but no time, and moving a soft tree like chinaberry, just didn't seem feasible.

    So how badly am I screwed. LOL.

    Anyone wanna place odds on whether the queen is still there?

    Learned that honey sure makes a mess of a chain saw
    Last edited by marshmasterpat; 09-25-2013 at 10:23 PM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,802

    Default Re: First tree cut out

    Even if you did not get the queen, if you can clean up everything that could have a bee smell on it, the queen will very often go into your box where the other bees are.

    Looks like you may have the queen. If not, chances are they will be balled up nearby this morning, and then leave later in the next day or so. Check good and see if you can find them,

    Good Luck

    cchoganjr

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    580

    Default Re: First tree cut out

    In all it looks like I got about a 3 gallons of bees from the tree. Sadly some did over heat and I lost about a coffee can full. Got ten frames of mixed brood and honey, plus about 2 gallons of honey on smashed comb. Got them settled in a hive, guess time will tell.

    Ended up plunge cutting into the tree on the sides of the trunk, then split the lower part off in sections of about 8 or 9 inches. Pulled about 8 inches of comb and do it again. The comb entended all the way into the trunk level with the ground. And then there was a weed root growing up through the comb from the ground. Cutting that out made getting the brood comb in nice pieces hard to do.

    I also found at least 3 empty queen cases, two were fairly new and one was chewed up. How old, cannot say, don't have the experience. No queen was spotted.

    As I was finishing things got confusing, more bees were building up. Would stop for a minute and turn around and more bees were on the last of the comb and the honey bucket. What the heck, didn't have hardly any a few minutes ago, then saw some fighting. They were robbing the honey that was running down the trunk.

    Going to have to go get some additional education from some other cut out folks.

    But got my first hive (again for the third time). But they have comb, brood, and honey, maybe they will stay.

    There was another hive under the house, pulled all the comb, it would have easily filled 2 deeps and likely 3. They were mean back in June and July, that is when the house owner decide to get rid of them. Guess the queen swarmed and the new queen didn't make it. There was only about 12 to 15 bees left, roaches had started moving in. Some of the comb was crumbly. Tossed it all, but could have used some good comb for frames.

    There is another hive in a big hackberry tree that they need to remove. Think I will see if they can wait to Feb/march and do a trap out.

    FUNNY NOTE as I was tearing this comb out, foragers were coming home with pollen, on the second day. Amazing critters. Programed to do what they are supposed to do. Wish more humans acted that way. Only have 2 pictures was too busy, but will try to post those.

    Cleo - Might be hitting you again for advice on the next tree, know it has at least 2 big holes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    580

    Default Re: First tree cut out

    Also, there was lots of drone brood, about 4 or 5 patches that were about 3 x 4 inches in size. Tons of drones in the hive. Lots of capped brood. Didn't see larva, but had my hands full. Should have paid more attention. So bees are still thinking it is mating season here is what I guess.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,802

    Default Re: First tree cut out

    Quote Originally Posted by marshmasterpat View Post
    Cleo - Might be hitting you again for advice on the next tree,
    Happy to help you any time.

    cchoganjr

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    580

    Default Re: First tree cut out

    Soooooo, how long do I wait before looking for the queen and new eggs. Put them in the hive Thursday evening, moved it Friday, and added all remaining the bees that were still at the stump (cut out location).

    Had some mortality, guess my bee vac was not as well designed as I thought. Bees looked ok when dumped but lots something like a half coffee can full. But the numbers appear to be down by about 1/4.

    Some of them are still there, but I was camping with scouts this weekend, so I didn't bother them. It was pouring rain when we came home, will look on Tuesday. They were not really moody to speak of, I walked up to the hive but didn't look inside. They are raiding the small clump of honey I set about 10 feet away.

    I might have ran my last two swarms off by popping the top too often, so these I want to stay. How long do I wait?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Orland Park, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: First tree cut out

    I did a cutout 2 weeks ago and checked them today and all the comb I rubber banded in was secured by the bees to the frames and they started to chew thru the rubber bands and snapping them off. I suggest 2 weeks to go in and check. The Queen is easy to spot with all comb secured to the frames. just vac all the bees. I do all my cutouts in the evening, at which time most of the bees are back, and I use a 150 watt small spot light pointed at the comb so all the bees gather there and it's easy to vac them up. But I made my own bee vac with controlled airflow so the vac does not harm the bees. on a typical cut out I might lose .02% of dead due to vac adjustment. 5 lbs of bees on the last cut out and counted 27 dead bees in vac holding chamber. That was my best cut out ratio.
    Good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    580

    Default Re: First tree cut out

    When you say evening, are you saying after dark?

    I thought my air flow was ok, cannot pull in bees unless about 1/2 inch away. Lots of them just hold on, and were still there as I passed over.

    Maybe they got too hot, not sure what happened. But I was disappointed.

    Thanks for info

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Orland Park, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: First tree cut out

    Yes when it starts to get dark I start on the cut out. 98% of the bees are back for the night. The rest will come the next day, for those I leave a 5 frame cardboard box with 4 frames to go into.
    I make sure that the bees have a constant air flow with fresh cool air, and I use a holding box that is the size of a 10 frame hive body with 2 large vents and a soft foam padding on the one end where the bees like to bunch up at. But keeping them cool with fresh air is most important.
    If you vac up all of them you don't need to see the queen she will be there. The secret is the night darkness and the spot light.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    580

    Default Re: First tree cut out

    Ok cracked the boxes open to day, added the miller feeder on top, added some frames with foundation on the second box (set on top) and moved 2 frames with just drone brood and honey up there.

    Looked at the 10 frames of comb I got and did not see any eggs or new brood, but I am new and have missed easier things. Thought I had the queen, I might have but no sign today. But the bees are easy to work with, added the miller without head net, and pulled the second box off. Then got scared and put the gear on. But they are foraging like crazy. Placed some of the comb with honey from their old hive into the miller feeder and will keep doing that till it is gone.

    They have secured about 1/3 of the saved comb to the frames and I saw new bees emerging from comb, so I didn't totally blow it.

    I had seen about 3 queen cells, as mentioned and all the comb I handled at least three time when pulling it and stacking, then moving it to my work location until I had quite a bit, then attaching it. Don't remember seeing any queen cells beyond those 3.

    NOW I HAVE AT LEAST 12, maybe 15 to 18. Several are in clusters and don't think I would have missed them.

    So either I missed the queen, killed the queen, or she has decided she didn't like my new location and disappeared. There appears to be less bee present than when I placed them in the hive, but that was several days ago and it was dark when I did it.

    So do I remove a few of these queen cells with a frame and some bees to try to make small nucs. Now remember we are in SE TX where winter should be 2 months away.

    Do I order a new queen at this stage.

    Or do I make a split of the 10 frames for 2 nucs and see if the queens make it.

    Last note, I did see a drone getting pulled out, but was partial dead, so he might have been smashed by me.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,802

    Default Re: First tree cut out

    With that many queen cells they are attempting to make a queen, most likely you did not get her.

    How about a 5 frame nuc, and order one queen. That way you have two colonies to work with. If the nuc (or the bought queen) does not do well, you can combine them later with the other colony. First brood from a raised queen is approximately 40 days, and there is a drone availibity question. The bought queen will be mated.

    I think if you have sufficient bees, I would split out a nuc, let it make a queen, buy a queen for the other.

    cchoganjr

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