Getting Bees Out of a Column?
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  1. #1

    Default Getting Bees Out of a Column?

    Newbie, so this may be a dumb question. At my job we have a colony of honey bees at the top of an outside, decorative type column. The column is super expensive and there's no way we would be allowed to cut it open. The bees have a small hole they apparently use as a hive entrance. Is there any way to persuade the bees out?

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Getting Bees Out of a Column?

    Price trap out maybe?

  4. #3
    Join Date
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    Boaz, KY, USA
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    Default

    Kate:

    If the location is accessible and the owners are amenable, you could attempt a trap-out using Cleo Hogan's method. You can search here on Beesource and online for it, but the gist is to use an empty hive body, a one way trapping funnel or cone and a frame of open brood. I utilized it twice last year to good effect. The only downside is the need to set a box up near the location of the opening, which might not be tenable in your specific situation. Please do let us know what you decide to do!
    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  5. #4

    Default Re: Getting Bees Out of a Column?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    Kate:

    If the location is accessible and the owners are amenable, you could attempt a trap-out using Cleo Hogan's method. You can search here on Beesource and online for it, but the gist is to use an empty hive body, a one way trapping funnel or cone and a frame of open brood. I utilized it twice last year to good effect. The only downside is the need to set a box up near the location of the opening, which might not be tenable in your specific situation. Please do let us know what you decide to do!
    Russ
    This sounds really similar to what I have heard of as the "Price trap out" in which you seal extra entrances, extend the main entrance, then put a nuk (or whatnot) between the original entrance and the extended entrance such that the bees have to go through the nuk to get to the original hive. You put a funnel in so the workers can get out but can't get back into the original hive, and are stuck in the nuk. Then you add open brood so the queen comes to investigate, and also gets trapped. Any brood from the original hive is allowed to hatch and come out, then the whole thing is taken away. Is this what you're talking about?

  6. #5
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    Default

    That's it in a nutshell- there are variations if you only want to make starts and maintain the resident colony.

    Best of luck to you- do let us know how it turns out!
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  7. #6

    Default Re: Getting Bees Out of a Column?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    That's it in a nutshell- there are variations if you only want to make starts and maintain the resident colony.

    Best of luck to you- do let us know how it turns out!
    Will do! Thanks!

  8. #7
    Join Date
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    Hampstead, NC USA
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    Default

    Why wouldn't they let you cut it open? I just removed a huge hive from a column at a church. I removed the section where they were and put it back together. There is no way anyone could tell it was worked on. Super easy job and 20' in the air. I used the lift the church provided and made $650.00 plus a ton of bees.

    Trap out is a huge time commitment and they have to be done EXACTLY right. Placing a swarm trap close by isn't going to work to convince the bees to move out. They already have a hive so???
    IMO they need to be removed or let them stay where they are. Do they object to having them there?
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  9. #8

    Default Re: Getting Bees Out of a Column?

    UPDATE: The bees did not turn out to be in the column as they had thought. They're in a nearby tree. We found the hive, and are told it's relatively new (within a week) because there "absolutely certainly were not bees in that tree a week ago". We are going to try a Price trap out - our local wildlife trapper is working with us (he also keeps bees). Step One, narrow the entrance. We need to go back and seal everything up better (contractor bags stapled around the trunk, more duct tape, etc). Then we'll elongate the entrance, let them get used to that, then install brood box with a cone such that the bees can get out of the original hive into the brood box, but can't get back into the original hive from there. Then we wait, donate some open brood, and wait some more.

    Wish us luck!
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  10. #9
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    Default Re: Getting Bees Out of a Column?

    Good luck Kate! Sounds a lot easier for the humans involved. J

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Getting Bees Out of a Column?

    Quote Originally Posted by KateMonster View Post
    Wish us luck!
    Good luck, Kate- looks like they picked a great place for you to trap them out.

    Do let us know how it turns out.

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  12. #11

    Default Re: Getting Bees Out of a Column?

    The entrance has been extended. And tonight we'll set up the swarm trap to act as a brood box for them. Someone mentioned using this colony to do maintain the original colony and generate nukes/splits instead. How would that work? take the bees when the queen comes through and starts laying, and leave the nurse bees/worker bees to raise a new queen in the original hive, then rinse and repeat?

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Getting Bees Out of a Column?

    Quote Originally Posted by KateMonster View Post
    Someone mentioned using this colony to do maintain the original colony and generate nukes/splits instead. How would that work?
    Kate:

    I've attached a great write-up from Mr. Cleo Hogan as to making increase off an established colony.

    Depending on where you are located, this colony may still be in expansion mode and thus readily brood-up your swarm box.

    Ultimately, you would want to be careful to assess the relative strength of the colony before deciding to siphon bees off of it.

    If I understood your original post correctly, this colony is assumed to be a swarm that settled-in this year? If so, they will likely need all the resources they have in order to get their new home equipped for overwintering (assuming you live in a more temperate part of the country).
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    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  14. #13

    Default Re: Getting Bees Out of a Column?

    Yes I think that's probably a good assessment. I'll try to get the whole thing. Thanks for the PDF.

    Bees were able to figure out getting out through the plastic. I thought I was being smart by very, very carefully sealing up the edges of the plywood with expanding foam (being very careful not to hurt any bees or let it drip into the hive/tree). But now I am reading they can chew right through that stuff. I need to fix my fix. Maybe caulk around all of it on top of the foam? Bleh.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Getting Bees Out of a Column?

    Quote Originally Posted by KateMonster View Post
    Maybe caulk around all of it on top of the foam? Bleh.
    Kate:

    I have found that the good 'Gorilla' brand duct tape works pretty well- if you have the luxury of checking the trap every day you can take the tape with you and do a quick patch job on any areas where they have found to escape from.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

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