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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Did a cutout on a huge hive of small bees Monday of last week in a brick containment area outside of a house.

Second cutout was Friday of last week. It was also a huge hive in a huge tree that was cutdown.

Got a call today from the city wanting me to go to there solid waste station. They grind up trees and other woody debris brought in by the city, people, and companies. Someone brought in a tree and dumped it off with a colony of bees. Checked it out. Didn't have time to finish the job plus I ran out of frames. Didn't look to be a big hive but the first section I opened (accidently cut hive in two because I didn't know the hive went that far up past the entrance) got me 4 brood frames of brood and 1 medium frame of brood. Left my hive there along with opened up log. Covered everything up with a tarp.

Will go back tomorrow and get the rest. Hope I can find the queen to make it easier. Can't use my vac as the tree is too far out on the huge tarmac where the debris is dropped off, shredded and then piled up for mulch. There was a huge amount of bees inside of the log that I opened up. Hopefully most of them will go into my hive before I get there tomorrow.

This is helping to make up for the 11 hives I lost this past winter. These hives are large enough that it's possible for them to produce extra honey before the year is out.
 

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Since I'm new to this Bee Business, please tell me what you do with the cut outs.

1. Do you keep the nest?

2. If you do keep the nest, do you have to place the nest in right side up in frames? In other words, the way it was hanging originally.

I took a swarm out of a house last week. Since it was late in the night when I got home, I placed the nest in a couple of boxes thinking in a few days I'd go back and place the nest in frames. It's been raining a lot since then and today, with the sun out and it being hot, we opened the box and found worms all over the original nest. Can't say the queen is still alive but a lot of bees have died from this box and I threw out all of the original nest replacsing with new frames.

Is it important to keep the nest from a cut out or should it be thrown out upon collection for bug problems, etc? The reason I kept the nest was because of all the cells with newly developing bees, etc.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Okay. Bees don't nest. They live in comb in a hive. The comb contains everything they need to exist. So that makes getting the comb very important.

Bees draw their comb at slight angle upwards. Nectar will not empty out of cells because of this and the tension of the fluid in the cells.

You should put the comb in frames with the comb in the proper position. Look hard to see which end of the comb has the cells angling upward. That end goes to the top of the frame. I try to take out the comb in big sections as I can. I lay the comb on top of the frame which is laying flat on some plywood. Try to arrange the comb so that you can get the most comb possible in the frame. Comb with honey, pollen, eggs, larva, brood are more important that empty cells. So take that into consideration.

I take 2 size frames with me. Brood and medium. Sometimes the comb is too narrow to put into the brood frames without having some problems putting 2 sections in one on top of the other. Mediums also give you the opportunity to save some of the smaller sections of comb with brood. If need be, I will put both size frames in the same box. If the bees make comb on the bottom of the mediums I don't care because these frames are going to be used as brood frames in brood boxes from this point on.

Whey you cut the comb to fit you are going to cut into some of the larva or brood at some point. It can't be helped. If possible, I will take the little sections of comb with brood and stick them in areas that are not going to be covered with the cutout comb.

These small sections with brood are difficult to determine top and bottom. I don't worry about it. If the brood in the comb seems okay (not damaged) I put it in for the extra bees. What the bees do with that comb afterwards doesn't matter to me.

Keep the comb in place using string or rubber bands using enough to keep the comb stable. If you cut the comb out correctly you should have the comb fairly tight in the frame (at the cost of some brood being squashed).

I immediately drop the cutout frames into my hive, near the bees that I am removing. This will help get some of the bees from the hive to go into the hive.

Shake bees into the hive as you go. Where possible I will use my bee vac to help out. Other times I will scoop up the bees and put them in my hive always keeping an eye out for the queen.

The worms you found were probably SHB. It doesn't take long at all for them to lay thousands of eggs and they turn into larva (worms/maggots). It sounds like the bees didn't have a chance because the comb wasn't put in frames. No ventilation, no bee space for the bees to guard the cells/brood from the SHB infestation.

My advice, don't do a cutout if you can't finish the job that day or come back and finish it the next day. If it calls for rain, wait if you can't get it completed before the rain.

The cutout last Friday was planned for Saturday. But the weather forecast said lots of rain. Well we got lots of rains here in Middle TN. I went back later that afternoon and worked the cutout till I was fnished. It was close to 7PM or so. But I got the bees out and they were safe from the onslaught of rain we received the next 2 days.

Now I didn't get to hive the bees until Sunday morning. They were in the back of my truck safe and dry with the bees on their comb.

You are the bees advocate. So you should be careful and thoughtful as to when and how you do a cutout. If you don't make wise choices, then you will end up killing a bee colony and your time.

Hope my rambling is a help to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This little cutout of a tree sitting on the cement in the solid waste station has turned into a monster. Got some more brood today. But I mainly got exhausted, lot of honey comb, lot of bees using my robovac and opend up a lot of the tree.

The sections of the tree with the bees must be 12 feet long and packed with bees and comb. Past the comb is empty space for new comb. I was so tired all I could do was cut through the tree only to find more bees and the hollow center going further up the tree. My last cut was to cut the last section completely through.

This section goes all the way to where the tree makes a split to expand the tree. When I cut that section away the bees kept coming and coming to the next (last section). Well I said the hell with it. I stapled shut all of the openings at both end of this heavy section and then put a sheet over the top. Took a bunch of pictures before I left. The bottom end (which is the top of the tree) must have had 3 or 4 inches of bees against the screen and all around the area. There were plenty more bees still hanging around some of the cutout sections.

There was so many bees that I only saw 1 SHB. It's amazing the space could hold so much comb and bees without getting a lot of traffic jams in the tree.

I am sure I vacuumed up 30 to 40K of bees today. There were plenty that were still in the suction hose that came out later into the back of my truck. Should see all of the bees clusterd together tonight.

BUt I did hive the med box used on the robovac and the brood box which is where I put in the cutout frames of brood and queen cells. Combined the two boxes by adding the brood box in the mddle of the RoboVac and then removing the screen so that the vacuumed bees could move up to the brood frames. I also dropped it several pieces of honey comb to keep them nurished.

These bees are really docile. As much as I have done to them with the chainsaw, vacu, and cutting out the comb, you would think that I would have gotten stung a lot. But the truth is I only got head bumped a few times and a couple of time my leather gloves were stung. THey were not directing their ire towards me. Even tonight when I hived the bees out of the robovac they were really nice bees.

Now If I can just get the queen. She is in the last section that is stapled shut. When I stapeled one end and then turned the log over to do the same thing, I glimpsed the queen but could not grap her.

So here's my plan.
  1. Going back tomorrow morning.
  2. Taking a medium box with brood frames, extracted honey frames and a couple of honey frame..
  3. I put a QE on the bottom resting on the SBB and using it as an includer for now.
  4. Have an entrance reducer but have it turned so that there is no exit.
  5. Then I have the 10 frame med box with easy to fill honey frames and a couple of frames full of honey.
  6. IC will be next and then the OC.
  7. Sharpen the chainsaw when I get there.
  8. Pull the log further out so that is will be in the open, not up agains other wood/brush debris.
  9. Will cut a slice down each side of the log leaving the screen on the log.
  10. Split open the log and look very hard for the queen.
  11. Once queen is found, I will put her in the hive box with the QE used as a QI.
  12. Add as many bees as possible with paper cups into the hive to joing the queen.
  13. Close up the medium and remove the entrance reducer to get the rest of the bees to come into the hive with the queen
Bottom line, this hive must have 80K bees or more.

If anyone has any suggestions please reply before I leave early in the morning to get the bees.

Wood some lemongrass oil on cottom balls help if they were put in the box before I put in the queen?

Should I add the queen and the huge amount of bees back with the bees I took home today (which has several quuen cells or should I treat them like a swarm and install them like a package.

Suggestions are appreciated.

BTW. These people are really great. They brought over a truck with power generator and ran it for as long as i needed it. They watched a lot, gave me a cold bottle of water, and also gave me the entrance ID to get in the seconday gate if I want to come back later in the day or evening to pick up the final hive
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This little cutout of a tree sitting on the cement in the solid waste station has turned into a monster. Got some more brood today. But I mainly got exhausted, lot of honey comb, lot of bees using my robovac and opend up a lot of the tree.

The sections of the tree with the bees must be 12 feet long and packed with bees and comb. Past the comb is empty space for new comb. I was so tired all I could do was cut through the tree only to find more bees and the hollow center going further up the tree. My last cut was to cut the last section completely through.

This section goes all the way to where the tree makes a split to expand the tree. When I cut that section away the bees kept coming and coming to the next (last section). Well I said the hell with it. I stapled shut all of the openings at both end of this heavy section and then put a sheet over the top. Took a bunch of pictures before I left. The bottom end (which is the top of the tree) must have had 3 or 4 inches of bees against the screen and all around the area. There were plenty more bees still hanging around some of the cutout sections.

There was so many bees that I only saw 1 SHB. It's amazing the space could hold so much comb and bees without getting a lot of traffic jams in the tree.

I am sure I vacuumed up 30 to 40K of bees today. There were plenty that were still in the suction hose that came out later into the back of my truck. Should see all of the bees clusterd together tonight.

BUt I did hive the med box used on the robovac and the brood box which is where I put in the cutout frames of brood and queen cells. Combined the two boxes by adding the brood box in the mddle of the RoboVac and then removing the screen so that the vacuumed bees could move up to the brood frames. I also dropped it several pieces of honey comb to keep them nurished.

These bees are really docile. As much as I have done to them with the chainsaw, vacu, and cutting out the comb, you would think that I would have gotten stung a lot. But the truth is I only got head bumped a few times and a couple of time my leather gloves were stung. THey were not directing their ire towards me. Even tonight when I hived the bees out of the robovac they were really nice bees.

Now If I can just get the queen. She is in the last section that is stapled shut. When I stapeled one end and then turned the log over to do the same thing, I glimpsed the queen but could not grap her.





So here's my plan.
  1. Going back tomorrow morning.
  2. Taking a medium box with brood frames, extracted honey frames and a couple of honey frame..
  3. I put a QE on the bottom resting on the SBB and using it as an includer for now.
  4. Have an entrance reducer but have it turned so that there is no exit.
  5. Then I have the 10 frame med box with easy to fill honey frames and a couple of frames full of honey.
  6. IC will be next and then the OC.
  7. Sharpen the chainsaw when I get there.
  8. Pull the log further out so that is will be in the open, not up agains other wood/brush debris.
  9. Will cut a slice down each side of the log leaving the screen on the log.
  10. Split open the log and look very hard for the queen.
  11. Once queen is found, I will put her in the hive box with the QE used as a QI.
  12. Add as many bees as possible with paper cups into the hive to joing the queen.
  13. Close up the medium and remove the entrance reducer to get the rest of the bees to come into the hive with the queen
Bottom line, this hive must have 80K bees or more.

If anyone has any suggestions please reply before I leave early in the morning to get the bees.

Wood some lemongrass oil on cottom balls help if they were put in the box before I put in the queen?

Should I add the queen and the huge amount of bees back with the bees I took home today (which has several quuen cells or should I treat them like a swarm and install them like a package.

Suggestions are appreciated.

BTW. These people are really great. They brought over a truck with power generator and ran it for as long as i needed it. They watched a lot, gave me a cold bottle of water, and also gave me the entrance ID to get in the seconday gate if I want to come back later in the day or evening to pick up the final hive

Hope to have picture later. :popcorn:
 

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USCbeeman,

Congratulations and thank you for sharing all the experiences and how you approached each aspect. I'm taking mental notes for when I do my first cutout here shortly.:applause:
 

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So much for all that talk about no hives left in the wild! Don't tell too many folks who have been watching all the media coverage of CCD and are willing to pay to do their part for the good of the honey bees. :D
I've had six contacts for removals in 4 weeks and the bees just got active about 4 weeks ago. Half wanted freebee removal and half willing to pay. Half still have bees....
I believe the local bee population has become resistant to verroa mites, foulbrood and tracheal mites and is doing quite well at surviving on their own again.
 

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I'll often put older (dark) broody comb into the frames upside-down. Then when the brood hatches out, the queen doesn't lay in it and it can be culled and rendered. This frees up the frame for another cutout and culls potentially problematic comb (FB spores, pesticide, etc) which is a good practice anyways. If the colony is newer (like many structure cutouts) the comb won't be very old and I'll keep the brood comb.

I'm also amazed at how many times cutout bees are really gentle; I had our public works dept. drop off a gum of an old maple the city was bringing down. Just drove it to my front yard in a front-loader (yeah, it's on Main Street) and set it down. When I started in with the chainsaw the neighbors all started showing up... I tried to shoo them away but even the 4 and 7 year old neighbor kids insisted they'd be OK and stayed (the older one, a girl, is now an insect freak named "bug"). NO ONE got stung, durn near a miracle. Good times.
 
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