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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was contacted today about removing bees from a downed tree. There is no rush, so (this time) I am going to take my time and plan ahead. First thing is to build a bee vac I have been planning for the winter.

As I say, the tree is down, horizontal on the ground. Bees coming out of the end where the tree broke when felled, also out of the original 3" knothole.

I plan to cut a log out of the tree, guessing how far down the hive goes. Once I do this is it better to then cut a slice off the side of the log the entire length, or to cut it into rounds 6-10" long? I want to maximize recovery of the brood comb and the queen.

Any other thoughts are extremely welcome.
 

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marant... Go to the "Equipment/Hardware Forum and look up the thread, "considering all medium box hives, any reasons not to" Look at Post # 39 by Lauri. I will try to supply her link to a tree cutout, but, if mine fails, you can go to that post and click on the video. You can watch how Lauri did it. It is the same way I have done lots and lots of them. Bye the way, she got the queen. It is a very good, informative, video.


This is the link to her video. If this one does not work, go to post 39 mentioned above and click on it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1u1PMZsDtA

cchoganjr
 

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"Once I do this is it better to then cut a slice off the side of the log the entire length, or to cut it into rounds 6-10" long?"
We locate the two ends of the hive by cutting exploratory slices off the log. Then we make two cuts lengthwise along the top and remove the long "lid". Picture the way submarine sandwich buns are cut at Subway restaurants. Locate some of the young open brood and put it in a couple of frames with rubber bands. Then find the queen if you can, put her in a queen clip inside a covered hive box with the frames of brood and some frames of empty drawn comb (brought from home for this purpose), and come back after dark to get the colony. If you cannot locate the queen, let the bees cluster and put as many as you can in the hive. A bee brush and dust pan can come in handy for this. Situate the hive box so the remaining bees can crawl into it. If you happen to get the queen, the others will easily make their way into the box. I would only use the bee vac if necessary as a last resort. Ask someone to come along just to video if you can. I hope it goes well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Cleo. Once again you have been very helpful. It is a good video.

Anyone else have insights I can use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Riverderwent

Thanks for the ideas. I am curious, why avoid the vac, if it is setup correctly so it does not kill the bees? I thought that might be the best chance to get the queen, since I am not real good at finding and identifying her.
 

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"[W]hy avoid the vac, if it is setup correctly so it does not kill the bees?"
Being ready to vac without having to is ideal. Carefully regulated, the vac is easy on the bees, but from my experience, bees that have been vacuumed have been a little more likely to abscond. That may, however, have had more to do with over smoking and letting the bees gorge on honey, hot weather, or less ideal handling of the bees than with the actual vacuuming.
 

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marant.. Lots of good suggestions from Riverderwent. One thing I would add is, bring along a large garbage can, or heavy mil trash bags, and put all the "garbage" from the cutout, and remove it from the area. I try to remove all comb not used, all the wood that the bees were taken from, and honey soaked saw dust. With all this removed, and the area cleaned, any remaining bees will march into the box you leave behind. If you leave a mess in the area, bees will cluster on the pieces of wood, sawdust, comb etc. rather than going into the stay behind box.

cchoganjr
 

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One thing I would add is, bring along a large garbage can, or heavy mil trash bags, and put all the "garbage" from the cutout, and remove it from the area. I try to remove all comb not used, all the wood that the bees were taken from, and honey soaked saw dust. With all this removed, and the area cleaned, any remaining bees will march into the box you leave behind. If you leave a mess in the area, bees will cluster on the pieces of wood, sawdust, comb etc. rather than going into the stay behind box.
+1
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If I am able to get the queen into the box do I leave her there in the open box waiting for the rest of the bees for a few hours or overnight? Should I put her above an excluder so she does not abscond? I do have a queen cage I can use if that is the best way to go. I plan to use a Robo style vac with a screen shim between the bee box and the one I will put the brood into. If I am successful obtaining brood comb and rubber banding it into the upper box, when I remove the screen from the shim will the queen and bees stay due to the brood?
 

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It is basically a typical cutout except there is a lot more hiding places the queen could be.
Cut and band brood comb, cage queen with brood comb, vac bees and introduce the right away after the removal is complete. No smoke if you can help it.
IF you don't think you have the queen, leave a small piece of comb in the cavity of the tree. Most often you will find her there.
Bees tend to stay when there is brood.
 

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"If I am able to get the queen into the box do I leave her there in the open box waiting for the rest of the bees for a few hours or overnight?"
At least until dark. In a log on the ground, I believe that you will have no trouble getting the queen into your box. Put a queen excluder on your bottom board and frames of empty drawn comb in your bottom box. Do not use a screened bottom board.

Should I put her above an excluder so she does not abscond?
Yes, particularly this time of year with fewer drones in the hive to worry about.

"I do have a queen cage I can use if that is the best way to go."
If you see her use it. She will likely get transferred in a cluster without you seeing her. Beeman's advice about leaving a small bit of comb on the log is good.

"I plan to use a Robo style vac with a screen shim between the bee box and the one I will put the brood into. If I am successful obtaining brood comb and rubber banding it into the upper box, when I remove the screen from the shim will the queen and bees stay due to the brood?"
Put an inner cover, you original screen or another excluder, and a telescoping cover on top. Don't try to keep too much of the brood. Try to particularly keep eggs and very small uncapped brood. You have been clear that you want to use the vac. I have been clear saying that I would not unless necessary. I would want you to know that I use a very good Robo vac. In my experience, they are much less necessary with a log on the ground. Whatever you do I hope it goes well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Aww, c'mon, River. How can I justify building another toy if I cannot use it!?

I take your meaning though and will look at the situation and then decide. I did a fallen tree removal a couple of months ago without one and it seemed I missed a lot of bees. Of course, I did not know what I was doing then and with 2 months more experience I am much better now (NOT).

All of the advice has been very helpful. I will try to take pictures if I can figure out a way to not sticky up my phone.
 

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I tend to put as much of there comb in frames as I can, even pollen and a little honey helps, the bee vac I use puts the bees right into a brood box so i use wet frames when I can, and like Mr,beeman said dont use smoke unless you have no choice, I have only had 1 hive abscond after 42 removals using a bee vac so I never do a removal without using 1.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
What an interesting idea. Any idea how long it takes them to move out of the log into the hive boxes?
 

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when i put the plywood on top and drilled hole they started coming out. Mr. Hogan said he thinks by spring they will take over box.
 

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I have used an old white bed sheet placed on the ground and then place your hivebody on the sheet before you start your cut out the bees seem to find the hive body easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just got back from the log cutout. It was a small hive with little honey and not even much brood. Probably 5lb bees. Used the new robovac, which worked well. With all the nooks and crannys I doubt I would have gotten even half the bees without it. We started just at sunup, and I found all the bees still asleep, mounded up around the original entrance and and the area where the tree had been broken. It worked well, with very few flying bees for the first 20-30 minutes. No smoke necessary.

This was my first cutout where I actually had time to plan ahead, and it really helps. I had no idea how much stuff it takes: vac, generator, extension cords, all the regular bee stuff, chainsaw, etc. Glad I have a pickup.

I have the bees back at the beeyard, still in the robovac. I have pulled the shim screen so the bees have access to rubber banded brood, what there is of it. I plan to leave them there, closed up (there is plenty of ventilation), until tomorrow, when I will remove all of the vac parts and build the two boxes into a proper hive. Interesting, there are a lot of bees outside, clustering on the ventilation ports. I have no idea how they got out, but it seems ok. Hopeful sign that the queen is inside.

All comments and suggestions are very welcome.

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