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Warrenton barn.jpg I'm trying to rescue a colony from an old barn that's in the process of being torn down. I thought about cutting out a section of wall intact, and trying to get the bees in boxes when weather is warmer. But most likely it will be a messy business with broken comb propped into hive bodies. Can someone paint a better picture for me? Any advice will be welcomed! ( Day time highs here in Virginia will be in the mid 50's for the next few days, before getting cold again.)
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Ed, obviously this is a terrible time to be attempting a cutout, but if the alternative is that the hive will be destroyed, then you have no choice but to do the best you can. Mr. Ed, aka Jeff Horschoff, recently posted a January cut out video. The key here is to frame up all the comb with stores as well as brood and try to configure the hive so the bees can access brood, honey, and pollen. Finding and caging the queen is a necessity for the first few days. Good luck.
 

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Mr Ed is in Louisiana on the Gulf Coast. He has more options.
Up north in Michigan, when I was much younger, I helped cut out a hive from a barn wall. Not until much later did I find that the guy I helped just wanted the honey and not the bees.
Now after September 1 we don't do cutouts. If they make it through the winter then in the spring out they come. If they "need" to go right now and if you have the resources I would take extra frames of honey and put the bees in a single deep. Not worrying about the comb. Save what honey there is and feed back later in the spring. Or make some mead with it. If you don't have frames of honey see what you can garner from your beekeeping group members. Somebody likely has a deadout by now. If they make it through spring you can split them with who ever helped you.
 

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Thanks for the responses. I'm going through the archives to get motivated.
I think my best bet will be leaving them in their present enclosure, but cutting the studs and siding and bringing the whole thing home. Then introducing them to hive bodies and frames in the spring. Thats the plan anyway.
Ill let you know the results. Ed
 

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Thanks for the responses. I'm going through the archives to get motivated.
I think my best bet will be leaving them in their present enclosure, but cutting the studs and siding and bringing the whole thing home. Then introducing them to hive bodies and frames in the spring. Thats the plan anyway.
Ill let you know the results. Ed
Any chance you have a thermal camera to figure out where the top and the bottom of the cluster is at?

Any chance you can see the comb or get a picture of it from below? If it is a few large sheets that are not anchored to the walls well it may be worth trying to do is put some stakes (dowels?) thru the comb to support it when you move anything.
 

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I think my best bet will be leaving them in their present enclosure, but cutting the studs and siding and bringing the whole thing home.
Have you identified where the colony is? This ideal seems doable depending on how tall & wide the hive is, and ideally would need to be kept upright, BUT could be extremely heavy. This section then would obviously need a top and bottom. Is there an option for them to demo this part last, giving you more time for warmer weather? If not, it just maybe a clean out mission for the demo guys not to get stung:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If not, it just maybe a clean out mission for the demo guys not to get stung:eek:
Warrenton barn colony.jpg

UPDATE Cutting out the section of the wall ended up not being an option. After pulling the siding off we found an impressive stretch of comb. I rounded up as many bees and as much comb as I could and put it all in a box. But as you guys said, this is the wrong time of year (low to mid 50's today). The bees weren't very active (though I was stung a few times) and are unlikely to reform their cluster in their new home. I'll hope for the best, and I enjoyed the day's adventures, but most likely all I've done is prevent the excavator operator from getting lit up. Thanks for your help! Ed
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Holy moley! That is a lot of comb. Not so many bees though. You should have been able to put them in a single 10 frame box with comb cut from the upper sections of the hive, and harvested all the rest of the comb for wax. With temps dripping below frezing for the first time in quite a while, it will be iffy at best. Did you see any capped brood and honey stores? Most importantly, did you locate and get the queen?
 

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Thanks for the responses. I'm going through the archives to get motivated.
I think my best bet will be leaving them in their present enclosure, but cutting the studs and siding and bringing the whole thing home. Then introducing them to hive bodies and frames in the spring. Thats the plan anyway.
Ill let you know the results. Ed
try to leave the wall section standing up, even durrin transport. tarp it at the top for rain and such. stand it up on a south side of another barn somewhere or in the same orientation. you may need to saw it off on a warm day then leave it stand there till 10pm or so the screen the holes the bees come out and haul it home. the bees may boil out during cutting.
good luck, let us know how it goes.
 

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View attachment 53219

UPDATE Cutting out the section of the wall ended up not being an option. After pulling the siding off we found an impressive stretch of comb. I rounded up as many bees and as much comb as I could and put it all in a box. But as you guys said, this is the wrong time of year (low to mid 50's today). The bees weren't very active (though I was stung a few times) and are unlikely to reform their cluster in their new home. I'll hope for the best, and I enjoyed the day's adventures, but most likely all I've done is prevent the excavator operator from getting lit up. Thanks for your help! Ed
cool pic a 2 comb deep frame hive, neat to see thanks for the pic.
 

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View attachment 53219

UPDATE Cutting out the section of the wall ended up not being an option. After pulling the siding off we found an impressive stretch of comb. I rounded up as many bees and as much comb as I could and put it all in a box. But as you guys said, this is the wrong time of year (low to mid 50's today). The bees weren't very active (though I was stung a few times) and are unlikely to reform their cluster in their new home. I'll hope for the best, and I enjoyed the day's adventures, but most likely all I've done is prevent the excavator operator from getting lit up. Thanks for your help! Ed
Ed, if you can move them to a nuc box with screened bottom hive and set them over a larger colony, and give them a sugar brick, they are very likely to make it through winter, if we don't get anything too crazy. I've also been known to bring a nuc box inside the house if the weather was dicey. (I've also kept smaller colonies completely inside the house in a mesh cage for 4 weeks, just as an experiment)
 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSpEAL5-Mg0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhIJU92aOfM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OitLuAHLiVo

I did one of these successfully a couple years ago. It can be done. looks like you already did the job, so I wish you well! Good looking hive!

If you can give the bees what they need they should be OK. What they need right now is a place to cluster with food at hand. However you can provide that is what needs to happen. If they make it over the next couple of weeks, on a warm day I would give them some comb to start working on in the spring, the queen needs somewhere to start laying.
 
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