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I was called to go get some bees out of tree hollow. The whole is the size of a "tennis ball, and is about knee high off of ground." I was reading Root's book, and it told how to do it but says it takes 5-weeks to get it done, but the queen won't leave the hive. is there a better way, maybe BEE BE GONE? I don't have any, and would have to order it. After the man got stung to death just south of here, people are afraid. Is there another chemical i could by locally to drive them out? should i just ask her to plug the whole, and they will either find another way out, or else? I hate to loose any bees.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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There is no way to get them out in a real hurry. If it's not too far of a drive, to minimize the impact on the homeowner(confused bees flying everywhere), I like to take all the bees home everynight. In other words, put on the wire cone and close all the other entrances and every evening there will be a huge beard of bees hanging off the cone. Brush these into a box, close it up, and take it home. Shake it in front of your weakest hives. After a few days of this you will have taken most of the bees out of the hive. This way the first day is the worst but from then on there are less and less bees. You can close it up with something or continue taking bees until it's not worth the trip anymore.

I haven't tried bee-go or Bee-quick (I think I'd use the Bee-quick) but I would think a rag with it on it stuffed down inside might drive some of them out and you could vacuum them or brush them into a box and take them home. Depending on the tree you might be able to do Bee-quick and drumming to get a lot of them out and vacuum them up.
 

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You may find it is more trouble than it is worth. Bee go/honey robber/beequick will drive out many of the bees but commonly the queen will stay.
Other options might include:1 chain saw the opening to where you can remove the comb.
2. Ensure the exit is at the top of the cavity, if not, drill an exit hole at the TOP of the cavity. Place water hose in an entrance and seal (expandable foam may work). EXTREEMLY SLOWLY fill the cavity with water. You will likely get the queen, but you will loose the comb, brood honey etc.
 

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If the tree were in my yard, I would sacrifice the bees by sticking a piece of no pest strip on the hole and sealing the hole. I am in an africanized zone. Home owner may wish to call a pest control company.
 

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Acutally, I like the water hose method. It would be quick, if you ran it in slowly you could give the bees time to abandon the hive and catch the absconding bees after you filled it up and probably get the queen.

I have never tried it, but it sounds great for some situations.
 

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More info please. I have a small swarm in the bottom of a Red Cedar tree that is 6' in Dia. I do not want to cut it down but I want the bees out. the entrance is a small hole about 4" long.
 

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If you do a search on this site on "cone method" or on "feral bees" you'll find many discussions on the subject. More than I can remember.

I kind of like the water idea, but it would depend on the tree and where the colony is ect. how well that would work.

Here's my version:
The 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 likely, 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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Expanding on the cone idea, the problem of having bees now hanging from the cone out in the open and freaking out neighbors seems a serious one. So, why not attach some sort of tube (one of those stretchable ones used for drier air outflow would work) and connect the bees' exit directly to the box with the bait. That way they would have a place to go (and to stay!). To make their return to the tree/house even harder, one could use a second wire cone at the entrance to the bait box (pointing into the box of course). This would also work with the flooding method to catch queen and all.

Just an (untested) idea.

Jorge
 

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Michael thanks.
It's my house so no worries. I have left them for a week so the kids could watch them up close. They let you walk right up to the entrance with no issues. I will try the cone method and shake them into the hive every night. It is a real small group maybe 1 lb. I had a feral hive in this same tree a few years ago and winter killed them.
 

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>Expanding on the cone idea, the problem of having bees now hanging from the cone out in the open and freaking out neighbors seems a serious one.

For me it has been the leading cause of failure. The residents of the house freak out and spray the bees with insecticide and that's the end of it.

>So, why not attach some sort of tube (one of those stretchable ones used for drier air outflow would work) and connect the bees' exit directly to the box with the bait. That way they would have a place to go (and to stay!).

Hard to do with the cone. I've tried variations and they never worked well.

>To make their return to the tree/house even harder, one could use a second wire cone at the entrance to the bait box (pointing into the box of course). This would also work with the flooding method to catch queen and all.

Not sure I follow the logic. They will come back to the box anyway if its the only way to get to the hive.

The cone is usually a foot long and often 6" to 10" in diameter depending on the opening and the shape of the tree. It's not easy to put that on the inside of a box and have any room for frames.

I think someone (Scott I think) is trying some variation of this. Perhaps he's had better luck.
 

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What I do is I try to move the hive into a new hive at the same location without having to deal with the "beard". It isn't proven yet because I have only done it once, and its still in operation, but here's the blurb on how to do it.

Firstly it only works if you can make a good seal somehow between the trap hive and the feral hive. Off of a wall (which is my current job), its easy. Off of a corner or a tree it might prove more difficult to fashion a good seal.

You are using the cone method, but its a variation of it which I decided to use because of the failure of the cone method to secure the queen every time. I think this has to do with the fact that the queen likes darkness and so doesn't leave the hive through the cone because she is essentially "going outside" which dhe prefers not to do (though on a side note, I have seen one of my laying queens returning from a flight, that day as a whole had a lot of strangeness going on with the hives though). The idea is to place the trap hive directly over the entrance of the feral hive. I use top bar hives, so managing frame space isn't as much of a problem. The back wall of the trap hive has a hole cut out of it about the size of a golf ball. To this I attach the cone stapled to the inside of the back wall. So now when I look into the hive from the top the cone is protruding 3/4 of the way into the hive.

I use artists putty (blue stuff used to tack on concert posters and such to your wall) to create the seal between the trap and feral hives. Just pack on as much as is needed to create a seal when the trap is pressed against the feral hive entrance. The putty doesn't hold the weight of the hive so you have to fashion some sort of support to bear the hive.

Because the seal is dark and doesn't let in sunlight, I believe that the the queen has a better chance of being moved into the trap hive. The queen although doesn't lay outside the brood nest, does often look around the hive, and the dark seal between the trap and the feral hive I believe will coax her into thinking that the cone is just another part of the hive to explore. We are still waiting to see what happens as the trap has only been there for 3 weeks and I haven't gone to see it this week yet. The trap DOES have a huge population living in it though, and there is plenty of honey stores in the trap.

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Scot Mc Pherson
Foundationless Small Cell Top Bar Hives
BeeWiki: http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/beewiki/
 

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I was thinking of a slightly different arrangement. I would use a small cone with a base no bigger than 4-5" and similar length, but longer and wider would work too, as long as the tip allows only one bee at a time.
One could seal this to a tree or wall using cloth or whatever tacked to the tree and tightly sewn to the base of the cone. At the same time the cone's nose would protrude into a flexible tube wide as the base of the cone. The other end of the tube gets attached to a hole in the back wall of the trap hive. If the tube is dark, as Scott indicates, the queen may wander in and perhaps settle inside the trap hive (I would use a queen includer here to prevent her from going off the entrance on the other side).
Anyway, I guess I have to try this one day before arguing any further about its potential usefulness.

Jorge
 
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