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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i got a call today from a guy saying a huge ball of bees are putting wax comb onto his wooden fence. I didn't really believe him that they are building a nest out in the open and figured he just thought he saw comb in the swarm. Well, he sent pictures, and the bees are all over something that's in straight lines just like comb would be! I'm going to try to attach the pictures. But anyway, has anyone ever heard of this? I would love to go get them but I've only gotten swarms so far, and I don't have any way to keep the comb since I use top bars. Any suggestions for that too?
 

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If you want it, just go get it, and throw away any comb they have started.
 

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That's cool. Bees don't usually do that. You should send those photos to Bee Culture.
 

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There was a Polish guy on Beesource a few years ago from Chicago. "Wojetek" I think his name was. He attached comb to top bars by using women's hair grabbers to hold the comb.
It will be important that when you rehive this colony that you get some comb in there with larva so they will be less likely to abscond. I would take some along from your existing TBH as a back-up plan. If you have the equipment to accommodate them it looks like it is worth the trip - that is a big colony. I would get a big receptacle, and lay each comb in there on it's flat edge, cutting it if I had to make it fit. I woud also try to find something to seperate the combs a bit so they don't fall on each other. Take along a square milk jug, with its bottom cut-off to scrape the bees off the fence when they fly back there after the comb is cut off. Use smoke and a squirt bottle with sugar water. Good luck.
 

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Over the years I have seen outside colonies. I remember one, several years ago , on a limb in a bulldozer pile. They made it through the Winter totally out in the weather. I remember one other one that went through the Winter in a ceder tree. I have also seen some that made a few frames of comb then left later, leaving the comb behind.

I would go and get them, and if you cannot save the comb, melt it down for wax and install the bees the same as a package. Or, tie a small amount of brood into a frame as illustrated above and install.

Good luck. Should be a rather easy cutout.

cchoganjr
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Love the milk jug idea! I'm going to go get them hopefully tomorrow. I've used the hair clip thing before, but it's harder with new comb. But if that doesn't work, I'll at least figure out a way to keep some comb with larva to try to get them to stay. I'll post the results!
 

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here in Florida it is very common to find hives of all sizes out in the open. We went on one call on an old residential street with really big oaks covering the whole street. Every oak had at least one colony up high hanging off large branches. We counted 18 in a one block area. It has been suggested that African genetics may have increased the bees tendancy to build in the open like this but we have collected several hives from open areas and none have been aggressive. We have also gotten bees out of water meter boxes, trash cans, Compost bins, and one in the wheel wheel of a mini van that had set for three months while the owners were up north for the summer. We just take them where we find them.
 

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Adrian, I use a large plastic soup ladle to scoop up bees and ladle them into my box. Works fine and my hand doesn't swell up later. :D
 
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