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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Bastrop TX USA
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    216

    Default Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    The general consensus seems to be that when doing a cutout you should put the bees and brood into a hive box(s) and leave it there, open, so any bees you missed will be able to join the main colony. This presumes you have the queen in the box, I believe.

    If you do this what is to prevent the queen and all of the bees absconding? Or is this just a risk you take? How often does it happen, in your experience?

    Why not just close up the hive for a few days while they acclimate and begin to feel at home? If you leave it in the vicinity of the cutout the missing bees might last until you open the hive again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,624

    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    Cage the queen.
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bastrop TX USA
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    216

    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    SMACK!

    That is the sound of my hand hitting my forehead. duh

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    Bees are also pretty reluctant to leave the brood.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,841

    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    When you get most of them in there, just put an inner cover on top, works fine for me with swarms, keeps the hive mostly closed but the bees can still fan etc..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,262

    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    If you have the queen and or the brood they will as a rule stay. I just did a cut out where I did not get the queen but I banded the brood into frames and the vast majority of the bees stayed with it, by nightfall they were in the hive. I never saw a queen, never found eggs in the new hive so I introduced a marked queen, they are doing great and have filled two deeps in just three weeks. sometimes it goes good, sometimes it's a struggle. it is all in the cards

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
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    2,587

    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    After the cutout, I leave with the hive and vacuumed bees (which are now in the hive and brood comb). The few stragglers will find elsewhere to be productive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,624

    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    Depending on the situation, not leaving stragglers (which can sometimes become angry homeless bees) can be important.

    About 10 years ago, we had a friend that was moving out west. He had given his bees to someone else, but there were a few dozen stragglers hanging out where the hives had been...and they were 'singy'.

    All the stuff was loaded into the cubes except for a desk in the driveway for all the last minute paperwork...and the walk through of the property with the buyers was the next day....the bees were a big concern, as they would start pinging you if you went anywhere near.

    Mark is a true gentle soul, and I asked if he wanted me to do the dirty work...he was relieved. I got a half gallon jar of soapy water and snuck up on the bees (they were sitting where the hives had been) and soaked them...killing all but one. That one bee knew I wasn't ultimately responsible and flew 50 yards to the desk where Mark was sitting...and stung him square on the nose.

    I like to leave the hive there for a day or two and remove it at dark...that gets most of them. I've seen drones kicked out of the hived bees and cluster where the colony was...I soap these if necessary (like they are in a house).

    If I were doing a removal for someone who was allergic or was really concerned, I would spring for some pheromone and leave a trap for a few days after to keep them in one place and content.

    Here is a cutout I'm finishing up tomorrow (needed a taller ladder and bigger saw):




    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    I finished the cutout above today...there were some interesting problems to deal with.....

    As you can see, there is a square beam going up the middle of the column....I removed all the comb, but the bees just crawled up the inside of the column and up the beam...I could tell by the way the bees were fanning that the queen was up there somewhere...but the top of the column was probably 40' up:

    I was already up on a ladder higher than I like to be...and holding a sawzall...I couldn't chase the bees to the top, and that is all that smoke would do also.

    The goal was still to find/cage the queen...so I went to the hardware store, got some fertilizer to fertilize my smoker and smoked 'em good...and propped the smoker in the void (there was a vent at the top, so the smoke was drawn upwards).

    I got off the ladder and waited at the bottom of the column...bees started to drop like hail stones (burning ammonium nitrate creates NO2) and a clump now and then...I scooped a few handfuls of sleeping bees into the hive box (with tied in comb)...then I spotted the queen (she must have just fallen...she wasn't knocked out, just a bit wobbly)...she was awake enough to march right into the cage.

    This is dangerous. This is likely violating at least a few regulations of one sort or another. If you go into wallyworld and ask for fertilizer to burn in your bee smoker you will probably get your license plate number taken down.

    But knocking bees out this way can be really handy (in this case it meant not vaccuming the queen or any of the bees and being able to catch the queen), it can be a safety procedure (a swarm cluster can be boxed this way without any flying bees...around schools, heavily populated areas, liability issues, etc).

    I'm not sure what I would have done if I didn't have this technique in my bag of tricks.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,624

    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    Oh, if you do this with bees on combs, do not move the combs while the bees are knocked out...you will roll them all.
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
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    2,587

    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    Nice removal. Didn't know about the fertilizer thingy. Sounds dangerous to inhale.
    A story is typically 10' tall on average unless there are some really tall ceilings. lol
    Again, nice job.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    To paraphrase Cheech and/or Chong:
    'A little bit for the bees....and a little bit for the beekeeper'
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    It probably was closer to 30 '....which is about 25' over my limit...but I was up a good 15'....I needed a 20' extension ladder and it was more than half extended.
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Ft Myers, Fl 33967
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    Have not heard of this procedure before. What kind of fertilizer do you use? Do you mix it with Pine needles, dried grass, old blue jeans or just burn it straight?
    Great Idea.
    Regards
    Joe

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,587

    Default Re: Cut Out Bees: Abscond while box open waiting for latecomers?

    It probably was closer to 30 '....which is about 25' over my limit.

    Isn't that the truth. Been there, done that. lol

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