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I have a hive living under my shed in the back of my yard. It’s a 10X8 foot shed and all but one of the vent holes are plugged with dirt from gophers so I have no idea how big the hive really is. It has swarmed 4 times this year and I have caught 1 of them and that one is a great working hive (better than my other 2 package hives). The hive has been there for 3-4 years that we know of, maybe longer. The only way to capture the colony and close down its operation is to jack up the shed and scrape out the comb, or cut out the floor and that just isn’t going to happen. I am happy with the bees where they are but I would like to make use of the hive and here is my plan (well, questions about a plan that’s yet to form).

Can I cut a hole into the floor of the shed and put honey supers over it for the bees to drop off their honey? If you think so, how big a hole do you think I should I cut? Do you think several small 1 inch holes augured into the floor would do or would it be better to cut out a small block, something like a 2 inch by 4 inch hole would do the job better? The only entrance that I see the bees using is a 1 X 2 inch vent hole, so a 2X4 inch hole with queen excluder over the hole would be about twice the area. Another reason to go for the smaller hole is to make the floor more easily repaired if it doesn’t work. The other plan was to cut out a hole the size of the supper bottom but I don’t think that is necessary. The swarm I captured, which I assume came from this hive, has waxed over most of the queen excluder only leaving small sections open here and there to move up to the supers and they are putting up a prodigious amount of honey for a first year hive (3 medium supers and still going strong).

I know this isn’t beekeeping to any extent as I will never get into the brood chamber or try to manage the hive, but I would provide some honey from an otherwise feral hive. And if I pull the queen excluder Maybe I could coax out the queen some day (if I get ambitious).
 

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Forget the honey. You have a valuable survivor queen. 3-4 years with no medications. Catch the queen, you see what previous queens can do. The cost of a new shed floor is a pittance compared to the value of your queen. Set her up as a breeder queen and she will pay for a new shed floor.
 

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[QUOTE=The only way to capture the colony and close down its operation is to jack up the shed and scrape out the comb.

This is exactly what I did a few weeks ago. I jacked up the shed about 3 feet at one end supported it with 4 jack stands and my jack, they had only been there about 6 weeks and from the cut out I was able to fill 2 mediums with their drawn out wax, brood and some honey. The only thing I used was my smoker. After I removed a section of wax, I would look for the queen, and if I did not see her, I would brush off the bees into the medium, cut the wax to length, strap with rubber bands, and repeat. The 4 inch space fits perfectly into a medium frame, only needs to be cut to length. Once I found the queen, I was able to speed things up, since I was no longer worried a bought killing her. Worked for me, bees were nice, more like a hive inspection than a cutout.
Good luck, and have fun with it.
 

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If I were going to try your plan, I would make the hole to the inside deminisions of the super, problem is there is comb attached (most likely) to what you would be removing. When we place supers on a regular hive with just a small (2") hole between the nest and the super,the bees remove what in the super and carry it downstairs. Think of the floor with hole as an inner cover.

The queen would be great to have, but since you are not a commercial queen breeder you won't be buying a new shed with the bags of money from her daughters.
 

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careful on cutting holes to make sure you don't cause comb to fall.I would see if I could find somewhat center of hive&cut a hole big enough for them to access the supers above,but if you do it ,you give the bees access to the shed&when removing the top
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Brac, you are right about me not being commercial, just a back yard bee keeper. But I can check with the local club and see of any of the others would like to try and do a cutout. I do have a swarm that I am pretty sure comes from this hive and it’s doing great. I haven’t tried making a split yet (only second year for me and first for the bees) but that’s an option.

IBRead, I though about you approach but the shed is a ToughShed brand and the bottom parts (foundation?) that hold the shed off the ground are only bent sheet metal (not that tough). I’m afraid if I jack up on one side the other will collapse. I would also have to put some cleats on the shed for a grab point. It would probably be easier just jack the whole thing up straight. Any way I look at it, it’s way to ambitious for an old guy like me. My head spins just thinking about unloading it.

BaldwinBees, giving the bees access to the shed when I cut the hole and when I pull supers is a problem. There is a vent up at the top that they can get out if they can find there way up and away to get back to their home. That was one of the motives to cutting a smaller hole. I guess I could slide a board under the supers when I pull them and work the boxes on them outside the shed.

Do you think this would be better done this time of the year, later in the fall or in the winter (such as it is here in So Calif.)?
 
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