Capturing Wild Bees Question
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    San Diego, CA- USA
    Posts
    38

    Default Capturing Wild Bees Question

    Hi, and thanks for looking over my question.

    Yesterday evening I came across a tree that had been cut down in a park and there was a 'Bee Warning' sign posted and nobody around. I looked around a bit and I found the hive. Seeing that I'm brand new and sort of in the market for bees, I was pretty excited.

    I could clearly see comb running up the center of the trunk and lots of active bees. Sadly I still don't have my hive box fully prepared, so there wasn't much I could do at that time. But this might have been my plan and I was hoping if somebody can tell me if this would have worked. (Note: I would not have been able to leave a box over night)

    I thought I could have driven the 1.5 miles back home and grabbed my bee suit, smoker and a 5-gal bucket. I thought I'd return to the hive just before sunset, give a little smoke and very slowly and gently begin loading the comb and bees into the bucket, looking for the queen. I'd try and grab most of what I can see and reach, then load in all into the bucket and seal it and quickly make the five minute drive back home.

    Once at home I'd remove several frames from my own hive box, then shake the bees from the bucket in the hive, replace the frames and close things up. I'd then look for the queen or signs of the queen in a day or so. I'd also include a feeder.

    I'll be using wax foundation frames, so I don't think there would be any way for me to try and suspend the recovered comb inside the frames (like I see people do with rubber bands) but I don't know. Not sure if I could use that or not. Perhaps smear some over my own wax foundations?

    My concerns are that if I failed to grab the queen, then the bees will just leave ASAP since this was never their home. And if not, can somebody give me an idea of how long I have to get a queen or what I need to do to keep them in my hive until then. I understand they bees will stay queen-less for as long as 6-8 weeks, but would that still be the case in this situation?

    I know this is not a preferred method by any means, but is it somewhat sound, or am I missing something obvious?


    Thanks.
    b1rd
    Backyard Hobbyist- Still in the early learning stage, with bees on order for 3/2020.
    (San Diego Ca.- Zone 10a)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Otsego County, NY, USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Capturing Wild Bees Question

    What you are proposing is kind of a baptism by fire. This is a lot of work for a pro, for a newb it could get to a very uncomfortable level fast. You would be tying brood comb into frames, and it's the brood that will inspire the bees to stay. Finding the queen in this mess sounds easy enough but... Back when I was younger and dumber I did cut outs for a fee, I found the queen once and it was just luck that I did.

    That being said I do think that all beekeepers should do a bee removal at least once. That way the next time you get asked to do one, instead of saying no, you can say hell no!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    1,393

    Default Re: Capturing Wild Bees Question

    Lets start with permission , I know its a park, but someone may already have plans for the bees, and why don't you have your boxes prepared, it's getting close to the end of the season? (maybe not in CA though) I personally think your bucket ideal is not great, because the comb and bees will most likely start rubbing against each other, smashing bees and faces of the comb/brood. Plus there will be some bees who will cluster in the cavity of the tree that you may not be able to reach/get to without a bee vacuum. Why not just take the wax foundation out of the frames and rubber band the comb in? All of this is hypothetical though until you get permission. I wouldn't touch it until then..
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    San Diego, CA- USA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Capturing Wild Bees Question

    Thanks for the replies.

    This was a hypothetical only, as I realize it's a city park, with laws, the bees might be spoken for, etc.. And as mentioned, I don't have even my hive box prepared, so there was nothing I could have done either way. It was more about my method and if it would work, and what I would need to improve it, but it sounds like a poor way of getting bees anyhow.

    Being new, I sort of put it along the same lines as catching a swarm as far as finding free bees in the wild, but I also realize the bees that swarm, and the bees that are torn from their homes, are two different things.


    Thanks again,
    b1rd.
    Backyard Hobbyist- Still in the early learning stage, with bees on order for 3/2020.
    (San Diego Ca.- Zone 10a)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,165

    Default Re: Capturing Wild Bees Question

    You want to go through the hassle of rubber banding the brood comb. As has been said, it will lock them into the hive and also keep a supply of new bees until the queen (if you caught her or buy one) is up and running. J

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    San Diego, CA- USA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Capturing Wild Bees Question

    You want to go through the hassle of rubber banding the brood comb. As has been said, it will lock them into the hive and also keep a supply of new bees until the queen (if you caught her or buy one) is up and running.
    That's sort of what I was wondering about, thanks.

    A quick follow up question if I can:

    Can I assume that bees need a reason to remain at a new hive, such as brood or a queen?

    What would happen if I were to try and transfer a cluster of bees only (no comb at all) from a wild hive into my own box, with just empty wax foundation/frames, and I missed the queen? Can I expect all of the bees to leave, or would there be a chance to buy a new queen and see if she's accepted? Again, this is with none of the comb, but with a feeder.

    (Not my intentions, just curious)

    b1rd
    Backyard Hobbyist- Still in the early learning stage, with bees on order for 3/2020.
    (San Diego Ca.- Zone 10a)

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