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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Jefferson Co, TX
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    543

    Default Old School Question

    Looked at another tree with a long time hive in it. No possibility to getting electricity to it (don't have a generator I could cart that far). They want the bees out before spring so trap out this late in the year is not likely. Tree is coming down due to construction.

    Any hints how people did it before bee vacs. I know they will follow the brood comb eventually, but how do you get them to leave the old hive. Can you gently pull bees from the comb by hand or do you just ignore the bees, cut up the comb, band it and place it in a hive and let the bees move to it once you have gotten everything from the tree.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Johnson County, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Old School Question

    The old, old school way was to cut the section of tree with bees in it and bring it home with you, then set a box on top of the log section that the bees would eventually grow into. I don't know much about it, but that's how I hear my grandfather used to do it way back then.
    Once the bee is inside, Mr. Veil is no longer your friend.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
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    543

    Default Re: Old School Question

    Ok, well that is not an option but I do think I have heard others mention that.

    Might just have to man up and face the swarm as I band up the comb. Seems like a big active hive. This might be fun. Will have to try to bring a camera.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: Old School Question

    If you need to use a bee vac you don't need a generator. Use an inverter connected to your vehicle's 12 volt battery. It will work fine as long as you make sure to get one with a high enough amp/watt output. Has worked for me before.
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Ft Myers, Fl 33967
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Old School Question

    If the bees are flying and it is not to cold, a trap out might work. Otherwise you have one option and that is to cut the hive open and take the comb out. I usually put a net around the tree that I got from an abandoned nursery and work inside of that. When you cut the tree open and start to take the comb out the queen will fly and you will lose the colony eventualy. The net keeps her in place and the bees will clumb around her. If you make another net about the size of a coffee can (similar to a butterfly net) you can scoop the clump up and dump them into the hive box. The flying bees will follow her.
    Since you are in Texas you should be used to working in a suit.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,278

    Default Re: Old School Question

    >Any hints how people did it before bee vacs.

    I guess I'm "old school". I gave up bee vacs and never use them anymore, even though I own several...
    In my experience, yhey are not at all necessary, not very helpful and kill too many bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Ft Myers, Fl 33967
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Old School Question

    Michael
    There is nothing wrong with being "old school" . I belong in t hat classification myself.
    I to thought that bee vacs killed a lot of bees so I built a few different designs and I found out that most vacs don't have enough volume, the air flow is bad and there is a hard place for the bees to hit when they enter the box.
    So my vacs are now 11 1/2 inches deep x 20" x 20". The suction tube is 1" ID plastic tubing (smooth), it enters the box in the bottom left hand corner of one face and there is a soft towel stapled to the floor at that point. The towel slopes upward and is stapled to the back about 9" above the floor. The bees enter the box and land on the towel at a slight angle. The towel breaks their landing and also absorbs any wetness they have on them. They can cling to it and crawl up the sides out of the airflow. The air exit is on the upper right hand corner of the same face as the entrance. The air has to change direction by 180 degrees and that lets the bee drop out of the air flow so they don't get slammed into the screen over the exit hole. The bottom of the box is a screened bottom board that is covered with glue from the glue board trade (instead of mineral oil). It never dries and is always sticky. This attracts the SHB and traps them so they never enter the new hive. The top cover is a piece of 1/4" Plexiglass, this lets you see what is going on in the box and the light drives the SHB into the bottom of the box.
    It does not kill many bees. i get 20 to 40 dead bees out of 5 or 6,000
    I can duct tape 14' of plastic tubing to a pole type tree saw and suck a swarm out of a tree that is 20' up in the air.
    Regards
    Joe

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    543

    Default Re: Old School Question

    Michael - Any hints or techniques you might want to share as to how you grab the bees without a vac. Do you scoop up hand fulls of bees? Brush them off with a stiff paint brush or feather? Can you grab handfuls of bees (without getting stung through gloves)?

    Just curious as to how best do this where a vac cannot be used.

    Jredburn - I am not knocking anything old school. I have lots of respect for those guys that have the knowledge and experience to do things the old school way. Those master carpenters did things that lots of folks can replicate with a fancy wood shop but take that fancy shop away and watch many modern day master fall to the side.

    I have my suction turned way down, barely will get bees of the cluster. If I grab a handful and put them on the end of the hose, most of them hang there until I gently brush them in. I have a soft barrier that keeps them from hitting the opposite wall. I don't think I had more than 200 dead bees in any of the 3 cut outs. But want to learn more those that have been doing this for a while. I do like the SHB trap idea. If I build another, it will have something in it like that.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,278

    Default Re: Old School Question

    >Michael - Any hints or techniques you might want to share as to how you grab the bees without a vac. Do you scoop up hand fulls of bees? Brush them off with a stiff paint brush or feather? Can you grab handfuls of bees (without getting stung through gloves)?

    First, when doing a cutout, the combs of brood are very attractive to the bees and they are in the box I'm putting them in. Yes they are very "brushable". A dust pan is handy. But mostly I want the brood (and hopefully the queen) to end up in the box I want them in and the bees will follow. Removing all of the comb from the source helps a lot (conditions vary) and spraying some pine-sol or something to cover the smell at the old location is helpful. Who says you need to "grab" the bees? The MOST helpful thing in the situation is some "queen juice" (or Psuedo-Queen) and four drops of lemongrass essential oil in the destination box. "Queen juice" is just a jar with "retired" queens in alcohol. Four drops of that is a big attractant in a cut out situation. Several of the bee supply places sell "Psuedo-Queen" and a quarter of one of those plastic strips works if you have no "queen juice"
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    543

    Default Re: Old School Question

    Thanks that is the type stuff that is valuable.

    And maybe grab was a bit strong or poor wording. Since I am wearing thin Playtex rubber gloves grabbing would have been painful. Scooping up gently with a cupped hand is the best description.

    Many thanks again to all that give advice.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Redlands, CA USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Old School Question

    Just removed a large hive from a tree, have to agree with Mr. Bush--bee vacs make it easy on the human, but is hard on the bees.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anthony, New Mexico USA
    Posts
    414

    Default Re: Old School Question

    We have done over 30 cut outs from trees, walls, attics and such this year- I have 2 more lined up for next week.
    I have a beevac but I just do not use it for the same reasons as Mr. MB.
    We always try to get to the nest, get the comb out as gently as possible, do not take the bees out from the comb -unless they are africanized. By not brushing the bees of the comb, and working slowly and gently; we increase the chances of taking the queen -we almost always do. Africanized bees love my beevac. I only use it for them and then, mostly always, give the brood and resources to weak nucs.
    Move the combs on frames into a box as close to the cut out location and then, we always have some board foam insulation -1". We cut the foam to accommodate to the shape of the place where the bees are and just spray them with a little bit of water and brush them into the foam-board and into the box. Some recommend using a little bit of sugar on the water; I do not. Sugar coated bees do not survive as well as water coated bees.
    I have several tree trunks that used to have bees and a few that still have them. I also have a speaker hive, an aluminum lion hive, an aluminum bear hive, a bird house hive all of them on transition of inhabiting regular langs. These are all jobs that could not be done on site so, I just brought the homework with me.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    543

    Default Re: Old School Question

    MichaBees - I have to ask a few questions if you don't mind.

    I use rubber glove for sensitivity and get stung if I try to handle comb with many bees on it. Maybe the rubber gloves are and issue, do have a pair of calf skin work gloves, but they are short. How are you handling the comb when moving it while it has bees all over it?

    Are you banding the comb to frames at that point? Just wanna make sure you are not using some other trick.

    I like the misting the bees idea, I was told to only do that on warm and hot days to keep them cool. Might be a trick to try.

    Thanks for the imput, will be trying the misting bees idea next time.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anthony, New Mexico USA
    Posts
    414

    Default Re: Old School Question

    Marsh,
    My wife and I work as team for the cut outs and keeping the bees. She has one stile and I have my opinions and ways, so here it is; I work bees without gloves, whenever possible; -she wears gloves at all the times.
    She prefers the nice soft goatskin gloves - it seems like she is real comfortable with them and so are the bees. When I wear gloves, it is usually to protect me from africanized or real upset bees.
    We attach the combs into new wood frames with the wire on it. At the ears of the frames, we take fine embroidery yarn and give it a few turns -no knots are needed, just a few turns and pull hard into the grooves between your frame members, then, give it as many turns as you need. If you have a large comb maybe old and solid, just a few turns is enough, if you have soft new comb, you need more, if you have lots of pieces, then you need lots of turns. At the other end, just do the same as when you started and after a few turns; just pull hard snapping the string. We do this so we do not have to use knifes or other tools for you are full of wax, honey and stuff and not having to tie down the strings is also nice.
    At the bottom of your frames, the space between the wire and the box will allow almost a no kill installation, lay down the comb slowly, at the top, you move the string like warning the bees to get out of the way, do it slowly move the string up and down into the comb and you will not kill bees. We have a piece of foam board that is just the size of what we need on the frame; that way you cut your comb to fit the frame. Lay your frames on top of your box, then lay your comb down slowly allowing the bees to get out of the way of the wires; only wires no string at this time is on the frame. If some bees were to detach from the comb, they would land on the box. Once you have your frame with one or several pieces, you give as many turns as needed. The bees will weld the comb into the wire and frame, and will take the string out in a few weeks. The combs will be more into one side of the frames for the wire is preventing it from being centered; just apply some pressure on the comb to embed it into the wire or- just leave it alone. I do leave them alone and latter, when the girls have made new comb, I try to replace the bad ones. You will not have that many to fix –that is my experience. Maybe I just do not care to have perfectly drawn comb, but it is just fine.
    I am the one that takes the comb from the nest and into the frames most of the time. The trick is to do it slowly, do not grab the combs hard, allow the bees to get out of the way as you work them -use smoke as little as possible and as precise as only a surgeon could do it; your smoker is the fine tool you need to drive bees where you want them. I will tell you that you will get stingers on your fingers, not many most of the time, but you will. I used to have arthritis on my fingers, and hands, and they used to hurt all the time; I see this stingers and I thank God for giving me the medicine for my Achilles' heel and for the hobby I enjoy and can do it with the person I love and admire the most; my wife.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    543

    Default Re: Old School Question

    MichaBees - Many thanks, apparently I am not comfortable enough yet to handle a cutout without gloves. Only 1 of my 4 hives will I do that as well. Maybe with time. I have some calf (maybe goat) skin gloves that are really soft, but they are short cuffs and I got nailed really bad working on the one bad cut I helped with. I use them on my hives just as a precaution.

    I have been cutting entire sections of comb off or at least very large sections from the top as close as I can along the attachment point. Then I trim that comb to fit the frame tightly. Slide it straight in and rubber band it. They don't have to do much to attach it to a frame. The excess pieces goes into a bucket and I try to crush/strain and refrig later for feeding back to bees.

    So to make sure I get this correct, you are using the yarn to wrap the comb in the frame versus rubber banding by making a few turns around the frame. That sounds worth trying. Do the bee eventually cut it off like they do rubber bands.

    I might have to try that foam jig to help with cut outs. I am really slow even with someone helping. But maybe I am still moving to fast.

    Thanks for the advice and tips.

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