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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Texarkana, AR
    Posts
    6

    Default Killing colony and harvesting questions...

    I have a couple of colonies I am considering killing off and harvesting the full hives. The situation is, I was gone for the better part of the summer, during that time my nice and gential Itaians have become something else. Whatever they are (don't recognize the breed), they have become extremely aggressive, and even worse, they stay that way for long periods of time and distance (I'll end walking to my back to my house 75 yards away and sitting on the back deck for 20 minutes or so before the bulk of the swarm will finally gives up and leave just about every time I go out and do anything with the hives).

    Normally, killing them off still would not be my solution; however, this winter I am moving from TX to PA. Moving them is not an option, they are too mean for me to give to an inexperienced/new beek, and with it also being winter and all, they're more trouble than they are worth for an experienced one.

    So, considering that, and the fact that I am not putting the frames back into the hive, I will probably just crush&strain the lot and then clean everything for storage/travel.

    Here are my questions:

    1. Any suggestions on the best way to wack them without damaging the comb or honey (as quick and humanely as possible)?

    2. What, if anything, should I do with the brood frames? Normally, I leave them alone and I've never been in a situation to even think about them during a harvest.

    3. Would it be worth trying to keep a few frames to help get new package bees started once I get resettled and am starting anew in the Spring?
    • Would you use full uncapped frames, uncapped & harvested frames (cleaned up by the bees first), or pull a few not-quite-finished frames (I use nothing but medium/honey supers, so I can pick and choose the location to pull from).
    • What would be a good number to have per hive (planning on starting 4-5 hives in the Spring)?
    • What would be the best way to keep them (1st thought is...freeze for a few days, put into a super, wrap tightly with crate plastic wrap, keep cool)?


    Other thoughts or suggestion on anything I might be missing here also greatly appreciated.

    - thank you very kindly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Iona, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Killing colony and harvesting questions...

    Don't have a lot of experience myself, so the more experienced guys should chime in here.

    I would first kill the queen and then place the brood in the freezer to kill them. I would then put the brood frames back into the hive and hope that the bees are hygienic enough that they clean out the cells so that they can be reused when you start up again.

    If you don't think they are hygienic; then you may only wish to freeze the uncapped frames and let the others hatch so they will leave you clean open frames.

    I would then leave the rest to fade on their own and hope that you do not get a drone layer.
    Clay
    BlakelysBees.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    359

    Default Re: Killing colony and harvesting questions...

    Sounds like your mind may already be made up, I personally would sell them to an experienced beekeeper who knows what he/she is getting. They can deal with their testiness in the Spring.

    1.. Never wacked off a hive intentionally, but I would reckon you could do a complete shake out, especially on a cold or rainy day. Or take the top cover and inner cover off on a cold or rainy day. This leaves the comb and honey still usable, wet cold bees, dead bees.
    2. I would imagine since the queen has slowed down you will not have too many of these frames, but freeze them for use in your new hives. The new bees will clean them out in the Spring.
    3. Uhhh, yes.
    *Doesn't matter, but uncapped & harvested would be easier to haul (where you gonna get the bees from to clean them up?)
    *My guess would be most of them (how many do you hive to choose from in the hives?) Why not use an extractor instead of
    crush and strain/, more frames with foundation to use later.
    * Go with your thought to freeze them for a few days, then put them in supers with a top cover on the bottom and a top cover
    on the top of the stack with a few moth balls throughout. If you go with plastic wrap I would still use moth balls, its a long
    time until spring, if not once it warms up might have new customers (wax moths).
    Last edited by fieldsofnaturalhoney; 10-22-2013 at 12:46 PM. Reason: spelling

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Texarkana, AR
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Killing colony and harvesting questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by cblakely View Post
    I would first kill the queen and then place the brood in the freezer to kill them. I would then put the brood frames back into the hive and hope that the bees are hygienic enough that they clean out the cells so that they can be reused when you start up again.
    If you don't think they are hygienic; then you may only wish to freeze the uncapped frames and let the others hatch so they will leave you clean open frames.
    I would then leave the rest to fade on their own and hope that you do not get a drone layer.
    Good idea, but why freeze them if you are going to put them back into the hive for them to clean? Wouldn't decapping the brood frames work just as well (even better...decapping them AT the hive for them to clean up everything)?

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldsofnaturalhoney View Post
    Sounds like your mind may already be made up, I personally would sell them to an experienced beekeeper who knows what he/she is getting. They can deal with their testiness in the Spring.
    Haven't really made up my mind. I sent word to my local club about the hives and I'm not going to do anything until our meeting at the beginning of next month. This is all due diligence in case nobody contacts me or it otherwise doesn't work out.

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldsofnaturalhoney View Post
    *Doesn't matter, but uncapped & harvested would be easier to haul (where you gonna get the bees from to clean them up?)
    *My guess would be most of them (how many do you hive to choose from in the hives?) Why not use an extractor instead of
    crush and strain/, more frames with foundation to use later.
    * Go with your thought to freeze them for a few days, put in a supers with a top cover on the bottom and top cover on stack with
    moth balls throughout. If you go with plastic wrap I would still use moth balls, its a long time until spring, if not once it warms
    up you will have new customers (wax moths).
    *Can use my current bees for cleanup. That is part of the reason I'm finding this out now. If I sell the hives, I can keep the honey suppers as starters and give up the "body" of the hive. If I go the extermination route, I would get them to clean whatever I plan to take beforehand (sounds cold...I know).
    *Trying to limit the number I take to reduce hassle. A a couple of supers full of starter frames may be worth the effort (kind of what I am trying to determine), but more than that is just more on my plate that I am going to be able to deal with the move.
    *Will was moths really find there way in if tightly wrapped in plastic if any eggs are killed first via freezing? Would have never thought of mothballs...thx.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,118

    Default Re: Killing colony and harvesting questions...

    Overwintered bees split hard with purchased queens would give someone a jump start.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Iona, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Killing colony and harvesting questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raccroc View Post
    Good idea, but why freeze them if you are going to put them back into the hive for them to clean? Wouldn't decapping the brood frames work just as well (even better...decapping them AT the hive for them to clean up everything)?
    Freezing would get them all. You may miss a few with uncapping and you would probably have to do something else for young uncapped brood. The young ones are the ones that you would have to worry the most about so they do not raise up a new queen from them.

    When they have cleaned up the brood, the shake out would work and seal up the hive so they cannot get back in.
    Clay
    BlakelysBees.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Iona, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Killing colony and harvesting questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    Overwintered bees split hard with purchased queens would give someone a jump start.
    I know, I got too focused on one aspect. If I were near by, I would take them in a heartbeat and re-queen them as soon as possible.
    Clay
    BlakelysBees.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    565

    Default Re: Killing colony and harvesting questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    Overwintered bees split hard with purchased queens would give someone a jump start.
    That is exactly what I was thinking, in fact if Texarkana was about half as far as it is, it would be worth the drive to me for a few colonies. Pinch the queens, split, and install a new queen. By spring they should have made an attitude adjustment.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    565

    Default Re: Killing colony and harvesting questions...

    You should be getting a good freeze in a few weeks. I don't know for certain, but going out to them in the middle of night, pull the cover and shaking frames on the ground would likely kill most of each hive.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    359

    Default Re: Killing colony and harvesting questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raccroc View Post
    Can use my current bees for cleanup. That is part of the reason I'm finding this out now. If I sell the hives, I can keep the honey suppers as starters and give up the "body" of the hive. If I go the extermination route, I would get them to clean whatever I plan to take beforehand (sounds cold...I know).
    *Trying to limit the number I take to reduce hassle. A a couple of supers full of starter frames may be worth the effort (kind of what I am trying to determine), but more than that is just more on my plate that I am going to be able to deal with the move.
    *Will was moths really find there way in if tightly wrapped in plastic if any eggs are killed first via freezing? Would have never thought of mothballs...thx.
    Get a bigger plate, come Spring you will wish you had all of those frames. Moth balls with the most active ingredient paradichlorobenzene (learned that tip from someone here on BS). Yes, I think they could find there way through (new ones of course, since the frames were frozen), I have had some lay on layers of plastic bags and eat there way through the plastic to the comb.
    Whatever you do, I would not recommend doing it at night with testy bees unless you are feeling invisible.

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