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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks for taking the time to look over my questions. (I should add-Thank God for this resource)

I'm brand new to beekeeping and I'm still waiting for my first Nuc to arrive. I have taken a couple of online classes, as well as a regular beginner class, but I've only been in a live hive once before which was last week. My neighbor had an abandon hive box, which attracted a swarm recently.

A neighbor posted something online asking for help with removing a wild bee hive that's under her outside stairs. Although this is well beyond my experience level, I thought I might try and move them into a hive box myself and take them home.

Below is my plan and I was hoping somebody with some more experience can tell me what I might need to do differently. I should add that the home owner suspects this is new, so I'm hoping for a small hive, but if it's obviously too much, then I won't mess with it and risk things.

I did upload an image that the owner sent me.

My plan:

I was going to try and begin this in the morning around 10AM or so.

I was going to bring an empty 10-frame Langstroth with some foundation-less frames. I'm hoping to be able to move the bees from the comb via my bee brush, then try and gently cut the comb away and secure the sections in the frames with rubber bands, trying to keep them in the same order and position as they originally were. I thought I would use smoke, but as little as needed. After I was finished, I thought I'd leave the hive box there until just before sunset, then take it home. I was going to secure the lid using a bungee cord and tack up some screen across the front entrance and transport it in a truck.

My questions / concerns:

Due to my lack of experience, I don't think I'll ever be able to find the queen. If I do miss the queen, and I am able to get most of the comb secured in the frames, along with a good portion of the bees, then take them 1.5 miles back to my home, can I expect them to abscond by morning? And if so, are the chances good they returned to the original hive?

What if I don't get the comb in the same position and get parts mixed up? Can it still work?

The bees that we missed, how long will they remain? (When should everybody expect no more bees hanging around there?)

When I do bring the hive box home, how long should I wait before I release them and at what time of the day? And does the time differ if you have the queen or not?

Thanks again for looking this over. Much of this I can research, but this came up suddenly and I'm a little eager to have at it.


Regards,
b1rd


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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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If you are not familiar with the 628 Dirt Rooster, spend some time watching his Y tube videos to get an idea what to do. Your plan is basically sound with the exception of the bee brush. Quick way to get a lot of angry bees airborne. I would say to heck with trying to get them off the comb and just gently scrape the comb off the step with a spatula while holding it in the other hand. Most of the bees will stay with the comb. Work one piece at a time and get it rubber banded in the frame,and placed in the hive, then go to the next one. Have a surface to work on like a piece of plywood on the tailgate of your truck. Use a sharp knife to trim the comb to fit. Have a bucket to put the extra pieces in and another one with water to wash the honey off your hands and tools. The only comb you want to keep is the brood comb. The honey comb can be crushed for you or left out for the bees once you get home. Go slow and be diligent. Your first cutout can be a bit scary, but this one does not look bad at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you are not familiar with the 628 Dirt Rooster, spend some time watching his Y tube videos..l.
Thanks. 628 Dirt Rooster has been saved in the "Bees" folder. The other info was very helpful too. (I would have tried for all of the comb)

As far as my queen question. If I fail to get the queen, but I do get the brood, will the bees stay or return to the old hive? It will be about 1.5 miles away, or closer. If there's a chance they'll return, then I'd like to make sure the owner knows.

b1rd
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Most of the bees while stay with the brood in the new location. A few may fly back. When I make a walkaway split, (brood, bees, no queen), the nurse bees stay with the brood and do not fly back to the original hive a few feet away. A good number of the foragers do fly back. You are moving them over 1 mile. If the bees have not had to forage over that distance they will not be familiar with the landmarks and will just reorient to the new hive.

When you first get the bees into the box, you are going to leave it for the foragers to return to. During this time, look for any clumps of bees. If you did not get the queen, they will huddle around her where ever she is. If you did get her, you will see the bees in the box fanning with their rear ends up in the air. That is a pretty good indicatuon that the queen is in the box.

If there is a piece of empty comb left over, you can put that in a frame in another box or suitable container for the returning bees to cluster on. Then pick it up the following evening to bring any stagglers home. Let the owner know that he or she may still see some bees in the area for the next couple of days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you very much. I'm feeling a bit more confident now, and I'm excited for tomorrow. The only thing left is to assess the quality of my larger rubber bands ;-)

I'll post back with the outcome.

b1rd
 

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Try to save only one frame of brood, hopefully the youngest brood or eggs. Don’t convince yourself that more is better. It’s not. Don’t use smoke. Be careful that they may be Africanized. If you have access to a queen excluder (or can quickly get access), use it for a week to lock the queen in. You’re really only after one bee; if you get her, you’ve got the rest of them; if you don’t, you’re fighting the current. I would want both a queen clip and a queen excluder for this cutout. If you had a frame or two of drawn comb (I assume you don’t), you would use it to give the queen a place to lay eggs immediately. Don’t screen in the other bees once you’re in the new location. Period. Take paper towels, look for a water spigot or bring a couple of gallons of water. Consider using narrow masking tape instead of rubber bands. An old ice chest with a lid makes a good place to put the comb you remove, and you can close the lid to keep the bees off of it. Given the look of this hive, I’d consider putting the comb beeless into the closed ice chest, and dumping the bees on a small white bedsheet spread out in front of an empty hive that is a few inches off the ground, with the sheet leading up to the entrance. After a few minutes, the bees, queen included, would likely start marching into the box. It’s a fun thing to watch.
 

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Try to save only one frame of brood, hopefully the youngest brood or eggs. Don’t convince yourself that more is better. It’s not. Given the look of this hive, I’d consider putting the comb beeless into the closed ice chest, and dumping the bees on a small white bedsheet spread out in front of an empty hive that is a few inches off the ground, with the sheet leading up to the entrance.
Interesting how everyone does it different:D I would never only save one comb of brood, only to put drawn frames in, or use an ice chest or bed sheet. However you go about it, if the comb is new & white it will be extremely fragile.
 

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It would have been nice if he had head you some more photos. I like a couple more far away from where the entrance is. From this one photo it doesn’t give enough info as it is.
 

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If you end up missing the Queen and the field bees go back, the cutout you have should make a queen. then go back in 2 weeks and do the same thing again, be less bees and less comb, so likely easier to get it all. Have fun it may take 2 shots to completely resolve.
good luck.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you end up missing the Queen and the field bees go back, the cutout you have should make a queen....
Thanks for all of the replies.

The above quote answered another question I had, thanks. Ww'll know how things went in about an hour. Very exciting for sure!



b1rd
 

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Thanks for all of the replies.

The above quote answered another question I had, thanks. Ww'll know how things went in about an hour. Very exciting for sure!



b1rd
Good luck b1rd, trial by fire is the best way to progress, in the moment it may not feel like it. the math for the queen is, eggs hatch in 3 days, the bees can make a queen from 2-3 day old larvae. So as long as you have eggs or young Larvae the bees can make a queen. Keep in mind she needs to mate (Drones available) and find her way back. I would open your captured Steps hive in say 8 days. In that time several things will happen. the bees will attach the comb to the frames better. if Queen is present, you will see eggs and or Larvae. BTW worker brood is generally capped on day 8. Ergo no eggs or open brood likely no Queen. At that point, Ideally you will see emergency queen cells. Queens hatch on or near day 16. Workers on or near day 21, drones 24, so at times these can be numbers to back calculate what happened. After day 8 with the data you have from the inspection, do go back to the steps and see what is there. If a small cluster exists, you can try to carve it out and place in a different hive. BTW these can be combined later if you wish, look at "combines" for help there.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I'm happy to say things seemed to go pretty well thus far. And as a noob, I'm also happy to report that bee suite worked awesome too.

The bees were easily accessible once the stair boards were removed and there was a nice work bench along side.

It was a very small hive with only three small sections of comb. The comb was light colored, with no brood or anything else that I could see, however I did see some bees with their pollen sacks full, if that makes a difference. I was able to cut the combs sections out and secure them in a frame with rubber bands in the same order as I removed them, but they are very small and not too sturdy, so well see how that looks when I get it home.

I did place the hive box right where the old hive use to be and put the cover on, and the bottom entrance open. I was going to return at sunset to move them 1.5 miles home.

I am a little discouraged about the lack of comb / brood, as it was hard to grab the main pile of bees, and I have no idea if I have the queen. I did see a couple of bees fanning outwards from the entrance, but not as many as I would have liked to see. I also saw a bee fly into the entrance with her pollen sacks full, so that was encouraging, but there were a lot of bees, even a cluster that were too hard to reach.

I do have another question (s).

If we did miss the queen, what is the chance the queen would simply enter the hive on her own? (It is right at the old hive and does not require her to fly)

Assuming everything goes as planned, how long should I leave the bees closed in the hive body once I get home, before I release them? I will have them secured with screen over the entrance.

Also, assuming that since the hive is so small, that I should plan on buying a queen if we missed her?




Thanks,
b1rd

PS- Exciting stuff.

I hope to post some images later, and in a few years look back and remember how enjoyable today was. The first time and all.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Chances are really good that that "empty" comb is actually full of eggs. The swarm may have only been there a few days. Put the feed on them and they will draw the comb out really fast. What you see in a week will tell the rest of the story. Check carefully when you return, if there are no bees hanging out outside of the hive and some traffic going in and out, you were most likely sucessful. Free bees are always a thrill.
 

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If we did miss the queen, what is the chance the queen would simply enter the hive on her own?...Assuming everything goes as planned, how long should I leave the bees closed in the hive body once I get home, before I release them? I will have them secured with screen over the entrance. Also, assuming that since the hive is so small, that I should plan on buying a queen if we missed her?..
Very likely the queen would make her way to the box as long as she was able to, or you didn’t get her with the comb. Were you looking for her? JWPalmer, has a good point, did you look into the cells? I agree with Schultz, open them up ASAP, reduce the entrance to a couple bee widths, & place something in front of the entrance that forces them to reorientate on the way out. I would also feed sugar water & pollen patty to get them going. I would NOT go back into the hive pulling any frames and “looking” at this point (assuming you put in all of the frames), give it at least 7-10 days? If you need a queen, you should know by then;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It looks like it's been a success thus far.

When I bought the hive home I removed the entrance screen and fed the bees sugar water. Today they seem to be very active, coming and going as they should be. I did not check any of the frames as was suggested, and I hope to be able to do that in a few days or so, but at this point I feel very optimistic.

I did call the homeowner, and she said there were only a dozen or bees total that have been hanging around, which I'll take as a good sign.

Thanks again for everybody's help. My own bees arrive in a few weeks and no doubt I'll be in here often with many more questions. And in time I hope to be able to field some of these questions myself. (The bees from this cut out are being housed in my neighbor's yard, who'll be the primary keeper.

I did upload a couple of images that were taken by the homeowner. Not the "money shots" I was hoping for, but they work.


All the best~
b1rd
 

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Looking good! With the small amount of new comb I'd say they haven't been there more than a couple days. They'll build comb fast. Make sure you have a full set of frames pushed tight together in the center of the box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Make sure you have a full set of frames pushed tight together in the center of the box.
I did, thanks. And there was another section of comb as well about the same size.
 

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Awesome job b1rd.
 
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