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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy from central Texas,
I have been fascinated with bees for many many years but never had the time or money to pursue them. Now, I have some of each and may have a chance, depending on what you all say.
I have some waterfront property on lake LBJ that has some old growth Pecan trees on it. A couple of weeks ago my neighbor calls me and says, "Rob, did you know you have a huge bee hive in one of your Pecan trees?" I drove out there thinking there is no way I have a hive and never noticed it...well I sure enough do have a hive and my neighbor wants it removed.
She is elderly and is afraid the bees are going to bother her or her grand children. To be a good neighbor and maintain the peace I told her I would take care of em. I called the local pest guys, they would come out and spray em (kill em). There is no way I want to do that, so I thought, is this a way for me to get started? I have 10 acres outside of town that I can maybe relocate them out there. Am I not thinking right? can this be done or should this be done? I want to save the bees if at all possible and maybe start a small operation on my 10 acres. If not, would someone want them? Sorry for the long story...
Thank you for your input, positive or negative.
 

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That hive looks great. How high is it? Pics can fool ya, but it looks like more than twenty-feet. I draw the line at twelve feet for removals. Get one or two to get in your veil and pop ya in the eye and suddenly twelve-feet is a long way down. But others may not mind.
Hope ya can find someone local to help out. Hate to see any Bees destroyed. Please keep us informed as to the out come.:):):)
 

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Hey Newbee, welcome to the site. They may not make it through the winter with it being an expoesd hive. Being in Tx, it could be also that they are Africanized as an exposed hive like that is a trait. Although they would have already bothered people from what i have read. If you can get up there to them, you could probably get all the bees and the queen and take them to another location. I would def try to avoid killing them if at all possible, and one more thing, this is exctly how I got started and it is ADDICTIVE... Someone around your area will know better than me though.
 

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That looks pretty high up there if you are going to try to salvage that one please rely on an experienced beek for advice/assistance. I'm sure you can find some experience in your particular area right here on the forum. Good luck.
 

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You have a great opportunity to start a hive.

When I collect a swarm, I look for fanning workers. They hang on to the end of the capture box opening (or whatever you used) with their butts in the air and wings going. They disperse the queens pheromones and let all other bees know she and the hive is there. Or in other words, that is a good sign that you have the queen.

If it were my tree, I'd cut the comb and string it to top bars. A top bar hive is cheap to build and from what I read, near anything goes. A common Langstroth hive of two deeps and two supers has a volume of approximately 5.7 cubic feet. People have used anything from half barrels, refrigerators, coolers, barn board, scrap and prime lumber. I found that traditional Langstroth hives take the same time to assemble and cost 5 times as much.

I started by putting a swarm into a 1' x 1' x 2' "nuc" with a glass panel to see them build. Now I have them in a 1' x 1' x 6' hive and am hoping they survive SE PA winter. I butted the corners and used deck screws and glue. My top bars are 1' long with Popsicle sticks glued into a saw kerf. This thread has some great pictures of a similar and much more attractive hive: http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=236077

Michael Bush's site http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm is a great place to learn and provides a crush and strain method for harvest that only requires a couple 5 gallon buckets and a honey gate. Dennis the Bwrangler has the same "extractor" that started my journey to TBH.

Another way to go is a Warre hive. I know nothing about them, but others can't get enough.

Others have tied similar comb to traditional Langstroth frames with success.

Beyond that, a half suit with a self supporting zippered veil, gloves, standard hive tool and a stainless steel smoker is where I'd start. (The tool, gloves and smoker is all I have left from my complete beginners kit.)

When they get established and build up, consider making a split. That may avoid a spring swarm and give you a second hive without buying a package. Many buy a queen for the split and others let the split raise their own from a freshly laid eggs (Per Rob Snyder PA Bee inspector, look for white oblong eggs standing vertically in the cells).

Thanks for the great pictures, good luck and have a ball!
 

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Wow newbee, that's a long way up. I have seen a few Pecan trees in my day and I'm guessing those bees are at least 30 ft up. Hate to see those bees go to waste, but short of a bucket truck I wouldn't know how to reach them. I concur with others that have replied. Have a local beek come and look at the situation and determine if they can be rescued.

There are other much easier ways to get started in beekeeping. Good luck
 

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AC makes a good point, if these bees are not salvageable don't let it deter you. There are easier ways to get started with bees.
 

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Yea, on second thought, you may want to let that one go. Especially if you have kids. You can accomplish the same with a package for sixty bucks and won't have to double check you term life policy.
 

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Thank you all for the input...how the heck do I find out if they are Africa bees? :eek:
Put a ladder by the tree. If they attack from that distance they probably are AHB. If you climb the ladder a ways and make some motion or noise and they attack they are probably AHB.

I don't me 5 or 10 bees. It should be a lot of bees.

You asked. Proabably want a beek to see for you.
 

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note to self....be ready to run into the shop ;)
When the 4 swarms came through my yard this past year, and having raised bees before, but when i was extremely young, i walked out with some mesh wrapped around my head(it was comical) and a winter coat on and felt stupid. When they didnt move or come after me at all, i stripped to no shirt and shorts and gathered the next 3. You will know VERY quickly if they are AHB because your shop may not be far enough away!!!:lpf::lookout:

i am not sure of your weather but would anyone else here agree or disagree to leave them alone till spring, or because it is indeed winter, to go ahead and git 'er done
 

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As someone else mentioned, the only safe way to get those bees is with a bucket truck. It's an established colony, not a swarm, and whether Africanized or not, they will be defensive and you can count on numerous stings. Not a good scenario that high up! I hate to say this, but short of convincing your neighbor that the bees probably won't bother her, call the pest control folks. At some point you have to let common sense win out over emotion!
 

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Not being from AHB country (yet) I would have someone come in and remove them for you. Then I would get on the phone and order myself some bees and equipment to get started properly!:D
 

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If you don't have really severe cold weather for long periods the bees may be okay through the winter and elect to wait till spring. That gives you 3 options.

1: Bees didn't make it but you can get the comb for your new hives or to trap other swarms.

2: Bees make it. Put out a swarm trap hoping to catch a swarm from these bees. If not AHB, they are hardy bees with good genetics.

3: Bees make it. I would cut down that main branch that the hive lives on. It appears that the tree splits into 3 or 4 main branches lower down. Cut the branch at this location. Do it yourself or have someone with experience do it for you.

You don't want to get hurt, but really hardy bees that make it out in the open (and aren't AHB) should be prized and perhaps a good start to have some great queens.
 

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Also, if these bees are not AHB, the get an experienced local beek to talk to this lady and explain to her that bees that high up in a tree are no danger to her or her family. I mean, the bees went pretty high up so they wouldn't have to put up with her and her family... :lpf:
 

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Here's a series of questions for you to answer:
1) How old are you? And how do you handle heights?
2) What is the diameter of the main branch, from which the branch the bees are on leaves?
3) How well do you climb?

Now, when I was younger, Much younger! I had a similar situation. I don't like heights, but I can climb. I climbed the tree, with a basket attached to a rope (the handle was tied to the rope). Had a rope to tie myself to the tree when I got into position. Had a knife, quart spray bottle filled with sugar syrup, veil. Got into position, tied myself off in case I lost my footing, tied the spray bottle to the branch so I wouldn't drop it. Sprayed the bees constantly. Wife on the ground in veil. Put the basket rope over the branch, under the bees, other end of rope dropped to the wife. I proceeded to cut the comb off the branch, carefully lowering into the basket. When all was removed, I lowered the now basket of bees to the ground, and descended the tree.

When on the ground, I then tied the comb into frames, and hived it right there, with additional frames of comb and a syrup feeder. Left it until dark, so they would settle down. After dark I moved the hive to its permanent location.

Would I do it again? :lpf: I'm 35 years older!

If you attempt anything like this, test per above advice to discover if they're African. In your part of Texas, they just might be. Only you can decide it it's worth it. Gotta have someone on the ground though. also someone taking pix or video. If you do it, post it here! Oh, and be sure your life and health ins. is current! :lookout:
Regards,
Steven
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Is it possible they could be African bees and exhibiting good behavior due to the cold weather ?

...our temps have been in the 30's at night for the last month or so. One night we dipped into the low 20's.

Thank you all for the great advise and opinions, I'll let you know the route I take for yall's enjoyment.
 
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