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Discussion Starter #1
First year with bees, one hive.
Have captured one small swarm, but they absconded.
Have a Hogan Trap in place, but took a long time to close up all the holes. Ready to put the funnel on.

Then there was today:
Got a call about a colony in a hollow Cottonwood tree on the golf course, which fell last evening. Checked it out, since I have never done a cutout before. Looked ok, so got permission and gathered my gear.
Upon closer examination the colony seemed to all be in a 5' section of tree, about 10" in diameter. Did not take long to realize that I would not be able to dig the bees and comb out of the 6" hole. Decided 'why not just take the entire branch'? Loaded it into the back of the pickup and took it home. After using the trusty Skilsaw to cut out a panel the length of the branch I was able to get at all of the comb. Most of it very old, nearly black, filled with honey. Then found some newer comb with brood, and even some with larvae. It was too much of a mess to find eggs or the queen.

Cut out the comb and rubber banded it into frames. This was a problem since the comb was nearly as thick as two frames, and too large to fit into medium frames. Just shoved and pried it into place as well as I could, but could only get 6 frames into an 8 frame box. (The rubber banding trick is really slick!) Left the hive where it was for a couple of hours so all of the leftover bees could find it. Will probably move it in the morning to final position. Ended up with two 8 frame medium boxes full of comb and bees. They are quite mild. I do not know if I got the queen, but the way the bees have settled down and are either in the hive or clustered on the outside it looks like there is a good chance. Otherwise, I hope there are eggs and/or larvae they can use to create one.

I have some questions:
1. How long should I wait to go into the hive to trim up the comb that is outside the frames? I only want to mess with the honey comb, not any with brood.
2. How can I tell if I got the queen, other than looking for fresh eggs and larvae?
3. Since I have two boxes of honey and brood all mixed together should I place another box on top with frames? (I am going frameless with a guide strip). Or should I mix the new frames in among the banded frames from the tree?
4. There is a lot of old honey. Should I take some and extract it? I know it should be fine to eat. It would certainly simplify cleaning up and organizing the hive.

Am I a beekeeper yet?
 

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Are you keeping bees(?) then you are a bee keeper .. it isnt the amount if hives you have or lost. The spirit of nurturing and managing a free spirited insect that can light you up if you arent careful means you are a beekeeper.. now to be a successful, good, knowledgeable, beekeeper that takes time and experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I guess I picked a really bad title for this. What I really need is what to do now.

I think I need to pull the honey comb, extract it and set the hive up in a normal manner with regular frames, but am still concerned about whether or not I have a queen. One is on the way in a day or so. If I do not need it here I think I need it in my other hive.
 

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Honey comb in a cutout typically leads to an SHB infestation (at least for me and everyone I know). The brood comb is typically cut to fit or cut a little small and banded in - if it's brood comb it will fit just fine and lines up well keeping proper bee space. I find that I'm more successful keeping dry comb and a minimum of it - if it's thick with bees, your chances of success go up.

You either have to see the queen or eggs/larvae to know you have a queen.

Excess honey can be extracted but most of this area is in a flow right now so it's likely you'll encounter a lot of uncapped nectar.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, Chuck, that is helpful. I think I am going to have to go in and take out most of the old honeycomb since it is broken and will probably attract ants.

I hate the thought of cutting up the brood comb to make it fit, but guess that I will have to do it.
 
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