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Discussion Starter #1
I have an aquaintance with a feral hive in a large shade tree near his house. Ben there two years. The entrance is about 12 feet up. He would like the bees removed without destroying the tree. If I can't find a way, he will simply pour gasolene on the nest.

Is there a way to entice the bees to leave/swarm and possible be captured in a swarm trap?

Is it possible to makeshift a one way bee entrance where they can leave but not return? What happens to the bees that cannot return to the hive? Can they be salvaged?

It's a shame to see them destroyed, but maybe that's the only solution. Anyone with experience in this??

Thanx,
Dale
 

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Make a cone escape. Its a one way exit you make with aluminum screening. You fashion a cone that fits over the entrance and leaves no crack for the bees to get in. At the tip of the cone you leave just enough room for the drones to escape. This will make the bees not able to return. Then you place another hive next to this cone, with the entrance of the new hive being within a few inches if possible of the cone end. The bees won't be able to get out, and being heavily clustered on the cone, some will eventually find the new hive. Place an empty but used comb of brood to help entice some bees to stay and eventually they'll stay in the new hive. Once enough bees are in the trap you can use a frame of open brood to keep them there and entice more of them to move in and stay. It can take several weeks to finish a job like this. Sometimes you don't get the queen though.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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If you search on the "cone method" you'll find many discussions on it. Or try searching on "feral bees"

Here's my 2 cents.

Cone Method

This method is used when it’s impractical to tear into a hive and remove the comb or there are so many bees you don’t want to face them all at once. This is a method where a screen wire cone is placed over the main entrance of the current home of the bees. All other entrances are are blocked with screen wire stapled over them. Make the end of the cone so it has some frayed wires so that a bee can push the wires enough to get out (including drones and queens) but can’t get back in. Aim it a bit up and it helps some on keeping them from finding the entrance. Now you put a hive that has just a frame of open brood, a couple of frames of emerging brood and some honey/pollen, right next to the hive. You may need to build a stand or something to get it close to where the returning foragers are clustered on the cone. Sometimes they will move into the box with the brood comb. Sometimes they just hang on the cone. The biggest problem I’ve had is that this causes many more bees to be looking for a way in and circling in the air and the homeowners often get antsy and spray the bees with insecticide because they are afraid of them. If you think this is a problem then, DON’T put the box with the brood here, but rather at your beeyard, hopefully at least 2 miles away, and you vacuum or brush the bees off into a box every night and take them and dump them in the box with the brood, you will eventually depopulate the hive. If you keep it up until no substantial number of bees are in it anymore, you can use some sulfur in a smoker to kill the bees (sulfur smoke is fatal but does not leave a poisonous residue) or some bee quick to drive the rest of them out of the tree (or house or whatever). And if you use the Beequick you may even get the queen to come out. If you do, catch her with a hair clip queen catcher and put her in a box and let the bees move into the box. Since the cone is still on the entrance they can’t get back in the old hive. I’d leave it like this for a few days and then bring a strong hive and put it close to the old hive. Remove the cone and put some honey on the entrance to entice the bees to rob it. This is most effective during a dearth. Mid summer and late fall being likely dearths. Once they start robbing it, they will rob the entire hive out. This is especially important if removing them from a house, so that the wax doesn’t melt and honey go everywhere or the honey attract mice and other pests. Now you can seal it up as best you can. The expanding polyurethane foam you buy in a can at the hardware store is not too bad for sealing the opening. It will go in and expand and make a fairly good barrier.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm going to Town today to get some supplies. I'm going to try to get the bees to leave the tree and take up residence in a hive body. I plan to screen up all tree entrances except one. To the remaining opening, I'll attach and seal a section of 4" flexible pipe like you use on dryer vents. The other end of the hose will enter the hive body. I'll install several bee escape cones between the 4" hose and the box. I'll cut a door on the cover with a screen behind it so I can monitor the activity. I'll place a small feeder in the box so I can leave them for a few days. Once set up, I will temporarily open one of the screened tree entrances and spray some Bee Quick in the hive to drive them out.

Does any of this sound like it will work or should I just spend my time on something more productive? (I don't need the bees - I just like experimenting)

Dale
 

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For the Bee Quick to work you need the fumes where they bees can escape them by coming out. Not sure how best to do that in your situation.


[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited May 31, 2004).]
 
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