innaccessable colony
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  1. #1
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    Feb 2009
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    Wellesley Ontario Canada
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    Default innaccessable colony

    I have just returned from making an assesment of a colony of bees that made their residence inside the wall of a house in the city of Kitchener, ON. It appears to be a worst case scenerio. The entry point of the house for the bees is beside a wide brick chimney. Below the entry the wall is brick and above it is composite siding. I removed the bottom two sheets of siding and discovered that a 2x4 stud was directly beside the chimney blocking access to the area where the bees were going. I could feel heat rising from the entry hole which suggests to me that the cluster was below the hole behind the bricked part of the wall. I checked the wall directly inside only to discover that the entire inside wall is a brick fascade surrounding a fireplace. It also appears that the colony is behind the chimney. Does anyone have a suggestion of ways to get the bees out without tearing down so much of the house that thousands of dollars of repair will be required? The last straw is that the resident is allergic to bees.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Chesterfield, VA
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    94

    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    Sounds like a a good mason man and carpenter. I went to a cut out with almost the same conditions a few weeks ago. The bees are still there. The owners got a few quotes from different contractors and decided they didn't have the money at this time. So in the mean time I have a hive body set up and am doing some trapping.
    Big T

  4. #3
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    Mar 2009
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    Greenhill, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    i'd check with someone in the know, but i doubt the removal of one 2*4 temporarily would be a cause for concern. You could likely remove a portion of the 2*4 to gain access and then twin up that portion of 2*4 before closing it back up. if you were really worried about the strength you could build a temporary stud wall on the inside as close to the 2*4 that you would need to remove and let that take the weight. I did this when i installed a garden door in our bedroom. Supported the roof trusses/joists with a temporary 2*4 wall built about 2 feet into the room. Removed the wall that needed to be taken out and rebuilt the header and jack posts to fit the new door size then removed the temp wall. no damage to teh ceiling or floor aside from a small scuff on the ceiling paint. I think you could do the same here and just twin the 2*4 you remove to gain access.
    I am not an expert so don't rely on this as fact, just my thougths if you try this without consulting an expert i take no responsability for it
    ________________
    Scott Stackhouse

  5. #4
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    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    5,604

    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    If the owners will give you some time this looks like a good application to use a screen cone over the entrance. Set up a hive with a queen or queen cells right next to the screen cone for about 6 weeks. This will get most of the bees out of the wall. Then, when the colony in the wall has dwindled down and is very weak, remove the cone and let the hived colony rob out the stores. After this seal up the entrance and move the hive to a new location.

    If you're not familiar with this, do a search and you'll find several good posts with detailed information. If given the time, it's a good way to get the bees and stores out and not have to damage the structure.
    To everything there is a season....

  6. #5
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    Mar 2009
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    Greenhill, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    will the hived colony rob the stores? or just move back in? this seems like a great idea in theory and a lot easier than cutting.
    ________________
    Scott Stackhouse

  7. #6
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    May 2009
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    Palm Bay, FL, USA
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    2,274

    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    Exterminator! Not worth the time or effort to tear apart a chimney. If you need bees that bad just make a split.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Galt, CA
    Posts
    869

    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    What Mike has said sounds good. The bees once inside your hive, born and raised will consider that box their home. The colony that you trapped their older sisters out of, is a seperate colony to them. Once that colony becomes weaker, they will rob it out and bring it back to the only home they know...your hive.

    Craig

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Lee\'s Summit, MO
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    2,514

    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    Quote Originally Posted by fish_stix View Post
    Exterminator!
    What's the homeowner to do with the honey and stores that are left in the wall? I wouldn't be too happy if I was the customer who was recommend this solution but then had to tear it open to get rid of the nest anyway.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
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    2,239

    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    check out cleo hogans swarm trapper in the walter kelly's catalog. just what you need. capture the bees for yourself, and clean out all the comb at the same time. good luck,mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  11. #10
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    May 2009
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    Palm Bay, FL, USA
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    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    Well Mr. D.Coates, nobody says you have to take on any particular job. If you're a contractor of some sort and can do the work of demolishing and replacing a chimney, and the homeowner is willing to pay for the work, then go for it. If you're just a beek looking for bees and have no experience with a job of that magnitude then I would tell the homeowner to call an exterminator and a contractor. Being a general contractor myself, I would not take on a job like this to get a possible hive of bees. I've done tearouts many times, and, too often, it turns into a major project with little reward. In this case, my guess is several thousand bucks worth of work for a contractor, not a beekeeper.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Metairie, Louisiana
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    224

    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    If the owners will give you some time this looks like a good application to use a screen cone over the entrance. Set up a hive with a queen or queen cells right next to the screen cone for about 6 weeks. This will get most of the bees out of the wall. Then, when the colony in the wall has dwindled down and is very weak, remove the cone and let the hived colony rob out the stores. After this seal up the entrance and move the hive to a new location.

    If you're not familiar with this, do a search and you'll find several good posts with detailed information. If given the time, it's a good way to get the bees and stores out and not have to damage the structure.
    A trap out would be the best solution IF you're able to seal off ALL entrances. Time? 5-7 weeks, multiple, multiple trips, add another two weeks for learning curve.

    You could always defer this one to someone more eager for this project. There are much easier ways to get bees, and remember, with trap outs on mature colonies, you are not getting the genetics of the hive being trapped out. You are only using them to make queens from stock from another colony.


    ...JP

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Wellesley Ontario Canada
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    36

    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    Thanks everyone. I had suggested using a trap to collect the bees, but she decided to use an exterminator. Hopefully the bees weren't there long enough to make much honey.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Metairie, Louisiana
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    224

    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    Quote Originally Posted by beemerry View Post
    Thanks everyone. I had suggested using a trap to collect the bees, but she decided to use an exterminator. Hopefully the bees weren't there long enough to make much honey.
    Tell her to keep your number handy so you can remove the next swarm that will move in next season, heck maybe even this season.

    Can you say swarm trap! This house is now a bee magnet, step right up and get ya some swarms.


    ...JP

  15. #14
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    Mar 2010
    Location
    Greensburg, Ky.
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    1,144

    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    Also just nicely tell her about the negatives of leaving dead bees in the exterior wall of the home and of course the comb thats full of dripping honey that will draw other insects and lastly its "NOT" over, the bees will be back!! The home will most likely have more swarms in the future!! Give her your phone number on a business card so she can put it on the frigerator, she will need it!!! Good Luck!!

  16. #15
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    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    Quote Originally Posted by fish_stix View Post
    Well Mr. D.Coates, nobody says you have to take on any particular job.
    Exactly! Pass on the job or refer her to more experienced hands. Personally, in no situation would I recommend calling an exterminator. There's simply no way to tell what's in that wall. A trap-out or cut-out are going to be challenging and expensive options in this situation. Give her the pros and cons to each (including extermination) but let her make the decision. Imagine running into her somewhere after she had a God forsaken mess come through her wall after you recommended an exterminator.

    Imagine if you knew nothing of bees, SHB and the mess a dead hive can make and it was recommended to you. Knowing what a beekeeper should know, I think recommending an exterminator is simply not wise.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  17. #16
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    Feb 2009
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    Wellesley Ontario Canada
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    36

    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    While the subject is still warm could some of you seasoned beeks tell some of your success (or failure) stories about trapping bees and having the outside bees later clean out the honey in the walls?

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Metairie, Louisiana
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    224

    Default Re: innaccessable colony

    Quote Originally Posted by D Coates View Post
    Exactly! Pass on the job or refer her to more experienced hands. Personally, in no situation would I recommend calling an exterminator. There's simply no way to tell what's in that wall. A trap-out or cut-out are going to be challenging and expensive options in this situation. Give her the pros and cons to each (including extermination) but let her make the decision. Imagine running into her somewhere after she had a God forsaken mess come through her wall after you recommended an exterminator.

    Imagine if you knew nothing of bees, SHB and the mess a dead hive can make and it was recommended to you. Knowing what a beekeeper should know, I think recommending an exterminator is simply not wise.
    Unless you can find an exterminator who is also a bee keeper and specializes in live removal, like myself.

    This is a job I would pass on or urge the home owner to find someone who is a pro at doing trap outs, such as (Iddee).

    I have done chimney jobs and they are expensive, most home owners don't want to put out that kind of money.

    If a trap out or removal is not an option here, doing nothing would be a better option than spraying them.

    If they are killed off and this hive is full with honey, dripping, fermented honey will create a bigger problem than the home owner is facing now.


    ...JP

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