Have you ever purposely searched for and found a ferrel bee hive
Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    SW PA
    Posts
    40

    Default Have you ever purposely searched for and found a ferrel bee hive

    I imagine it's like finding a needle in a hay stack BUT, after watching a video filmed in late Winter with snow on the ground I was amazed at the amount of bee poo in the snow around an apiary!
    The bees were making their cleansing flights and the snow was obviously discolored around the hives. It looked like brown snow as opposed to yellow snow.
    A couple years ago while walking through the woods after dark with a flash light, I stumbled on a piece of honeycomb setting on the ground. I went back the next day to find what appeared to be a honeybee hive about 30 feet overhead. I looked with binoculars but couldn't see any bee activity.
    It was definitely open honeycomb and I found several more pieces on the ground.
    Just wondering how common or likely it would be to set out in search of a ferrel hive and be successful?

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Have you ever purposely searched for and found a ferrel bee hive

    What you are describing is commonly called bee-lining, and it is an old piece of trade craft.

    There is an excellent book on how to do called, Following the Wild Bees by Tom Seeley. The tool used is a bee-lining box like this in a kit (with the book) by Betterbee: https://www.betterbee.com/bee-lining...lining-kit.asp

    I think you can buy the box separately if you already have to book, or borrow it from your library.

    Anytime I can combine bees and rambling around in the woods, it's Grade A day for me. I've found a few ferals hives using it - and it's a blast to do.

    Have fun!

    Nancy

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    2,643

    Default Re: Have you ever purposely searched for and found a ferrel bee hive

    Yes, I do it whenever I feel the need for more bees. I put them through a queen excluder box above a box of drawn combs in order to find the queen. I separate her with a nuc's worth of her daughters, and usually use the rest to strengthen colonies close to making muster for pollination contracts or queen rearing. I'll newspaper combine them with another colony most of the time.

    I do not cut trees down unless they are already dead and dangerous. I drive the bees out with Bee-Go (formic acid) into a waiting net.

    I usually capture about two dozen workers off a good flower bloom, release one at a time and watch her orient and fly home. I'll hike just past where I lose sight of her and release another.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,234

    Default Re: Have you ever purposely searched for and found a ferrel bee hive

    Zone 6B

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    SW PA
    Posts
    40

    Default

    That's funny because I stumbled onto that book while researching the subject. Will definitely be get the book.
    Thank you.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,291

    Default

    It's pretty tough. Beelining can work if the land is open and flat without many obstacles/obstructions in line of sight. And there is not many hives in the area.

    I've done several trapouts and removals. If it wasn't for the property owner ide likely never find em. In Louisville there are feral hives allover the place.

    I've never found a swarm or hive on my own. I've caught probably 50 swarms all phoned or emailed to our club or nearby kept hives.

    While I was in LA hiking last March I saw my first swarm in flight at Griffith park. It was incredibly fast.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    St Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    2,274

    Default Re: Have you ever purposely searched for and found a ferrel bee hive

    Two years ago, on an early spring day. I said to my girlfriend,

    "Let's go for a walk and look for bee trees." She wasn't thrilled with getting sucked into my bee-obsession yet again, but was happy to get out for a walk anyway.

    It was sunny and warm, but there weren't any leaves yet. We walked out of the house, and up the road a bit to where we walked into a field and along the tree line at the edge. At the first big old oak, she stopped to squint up into the branches, and I walked a bit further ahead, eyeing the next big old tree.

    "Th--! There they are!" she said. It hadn't been 30 seconds.

    I hustled back to take a look, and sure enough - probably 40 feet up, there was a healthy overwintered colony coming in and out of a big dead limb.

    Beginners luck.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    West Frankfort,Illinois
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Have you ever purposely searched for and found a ferrel bee hive

    I have found bee trees and hives in old buildings just by watching the direction the bees fly when they leave flowers and walking in that direction. I knew where 5 or 6 hives were near my boyhood home. Their was one in an old barn that was converted to a church and later left vacant that would have huge swarms every year in a park near my home.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Forsyth, Missouri
    Posts
    674

    Default Re: Have you ever purposely searched for and found a ferrel bee hive

    If you are in a heavey wooded area bee lining won't work as well with a box.
    I set out 3 = 4 qt chicken feeders hanging from a tree limb.
    Leave them up for a few days and come back with a compes.
    There will be a steady line of bees going to the nearest hive.
    I take readings on there flight lines.
    Then I use gogle earth ste my feeder locations and draw lines from my readings.
    Were the lines cross is close to the hive.
    I have don this several times in the past.
    Don't for get to take your jars down.
    I found one I havent used in 4=5 years hanging in a tree the other day.
    Good luck and have fun.
    Zone 6b 1400'

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    SW PA
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Have you ever purposely searched for and found a ferrel bee hive

    Great stories!
    Interesting subject.
    I got into bee keeping in 2014, lost them in 2016. Never had better than one strong colony, my inexperience prevailed.
    I'm passively getting back into it as I have seven swarm traps out in four locations. The best location is at a friends house, he has a nest high in a tree and a nest in his house, my trap is in between. both are very inaccessible for a trap out. If I don't catch any swarms this year I'll buy a couple NUCS next year.
    Fun hobby for me!

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Valley Forge, PA USA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Have you ever purposely searched for and found a ferrel bee hive

    This is such a great thread topic - thanks for starting it and for everyone who has posted info and stories. I always have my "bee radar" up especially in the spring watching bees who are scouting for swarm spots and always return for a while to where they were and often dreamed of just happening upon a feral hive in the woods near my property.

    Two seasons ago one of my friend's hives was getting robbed bad and we tracked the "bee line" as best we could out of curiosity but never located the "culprits" LOL. Thanks for all this info, I am definitely getting "Following the Wild Bees" by Tom Seeley.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •