Locating Wild/Feral bees. [Archive] - Beesource Beekeeping Forums

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01-27-2016, 12:11 PM
I'll try to be as accurate and concise as I can, if you have questions, please ask.

Years ago, long before cell phones and the www, my family and lots of other families would go out someplace and track down bee trees. But I'll try to explain the method that I was taught.

We'd go out with a piece of old bee comb, in a cigar box, a jar of honey-water. We had a little bee box, maybe 2"x2"x 5", and we'd catch a bee off of a flower, and put it on the bait. Once it settles down and starts working the bait, you'd go catch more bees, and do the same thing.

Once the bees get their bearings, they'll hop off the bait and fly home, and return. By "marking" a bee, and timing it to and from it's hive, it will give you a time frame. The longer it takes for the marked bee to return, the more distant the hive.

But once we'd get a good bearing/compass reading, we'd wait till we had a cigar box full of bees, seal them up and move the bait box. It might be 2 or 300 yards, might be a half mile. Then you could get another angle.

Late last fall I had 3 different hives working on my bait box, I know the location of the one hive, (it's almost 1,000 yards), after I moved my bait box to the 3rd spot, and released the bees, the first bee that returned to the box, it took the it approximately 3 minutes. That hive is very close. (I have a very good idea of it's location).

As I said it was late last fall, was kind of cool and windy, and I didn't have time to track it down. Hopefully the hives will survive the winter, and I can get them on bait again, when it warms up.

But, with a flight time and compass reading to and from my bait, comparing their flight time to the other "known" hive, I expect to sit right here at my computer looking at GoogleEarth, and find the other 2 hives. Or at least get very close to pinpointing their hives. We shall see.

Above where I said the one hive was very close, just a guess, but I think it's within 500 yards.

Dan P
01-27-2016, 02:08 PM