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This is my first post but I've been lurking for a while now. Great forum! Question is... Will having 4 or 5 very large wild feral hives in close proximity to my personal bee hives be a problem. My neighbor has two really old cypress houses in the woods next to my property line. Discovered yesterday that the houses which are uninhabitable and have been unoccupied for probably 30 years have multiple really big beehives in them in different corners and sections of the houses. He is currently out of state for summer and won’t return till September. I pretty much already know that he will not want to cut into them and remove them. He won’t want to tear into the houses. I also don’t really see how I could lure them out of there and into a trap as their space is pretty much unlimited and I see no reason that they would feel the need to swarm. Maybe I’m wrong?? Just curious as I’m a beginner and just getting ready to start out with a couple hives in the near future. Thanks in advance for any replies.
 

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I am also a first year beekeeper so I can only comment on what a friend has told me. She said that if the area can support the bees with what they need, then it should be fine. Also, if you get into splitting and having your hives make their own queens, they could be mating with good feral stock.

On another note, because they are thriving feral hives, and if your neighbor allows, maybe someone from the state or a local university could study the colonies to see how they are dealing with varroa and disease. They just might have a resistance to varroa.

Good luck, Paul
 

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99% of our bee colonies were started with feral hives. If I were you, I would do my best to see if you could capture some of those colonies and place them in your own yard!
 

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June bug, swarming is an instinct. That is how bees reproduce. So next spring regardless of space the bees will most likely swarm.

My worries with feral hives is small hive beetles. I tried to determine your area in your profile but was unsuccessful. So in your area, beetles may or may not be a problem.

I had a feral hive close to my apiary and the feral hive breed beetles in the hundreds. Through the years the feral hive died out and my beetle count dropped drastically.

If you wanted to remove the feral hives, a trap out would most likely work.
 

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Will having 4 or 5 very large wild feral hives in close proximity to my personal bee hives be a problem. I pretty much already know that he will not want to cut into them and remove them. I also don’t really see how I could lure them out of there and into a trap as their space is pretty much unlimited and I see no reason that they would feel the need to swarm. Maybe I’m wrong??
In my opinion, having these hives around yours will be a bonus, but some say they may be a mite bomb:D You never know what your neighbor will say until you ask. Sheetrock inside walls if applicable, serves little damage and out of site, out of mind to uninhabitable house. You could try to trap them out (check out Cleo Hogan), but its a long process. I would definitely set up multiple swarm traps in the area, hives swarm not only because they are out of room.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
June bug, swarming is an instinct. That is how bees reproduce. So next spring regardless of space the bees will most likely swarm.

My worries with feral hives is small hive beetles. I tried to determine your area in your profile but was unsuccessful. So in your area, beetles may or may not be a problem.

I had a feral hive close to my apiary and the feral hive breed beetles in the hundreds. Through the years the feral hive died out and my beetle count dropped drastically.

If you wanted to remove the feral hives, a trap out would most likely work.
I'm in South Louisiana so hive beetles are definitely a possibility. I appreciate all of the replies, very helpful. My thoughts were that these bees seem to bee thriving therefore they may naturally more defensive to the beetles and mites? Like I said though I'm still learning alot about all of this. Good to hear that I can probably catch some swarms. I may give that a go!
 

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...if the area can support the bees with what they need, then it should be fine.
yes, it bodes well for your location that you have unmanaged 'wild type' or feral bees doing well near by.

In my opinion, having these hives around yours will be a bonus...
a huge bonus in my opinion. especially if it turns out those colonies have been surviving unattended for many years.

So next spring regardless of space the bees will most likely swarm.
agreed. it's likely that those colonies have been issuing swarms as long as they have been there. if there is an abundance of wooded lands around the area is probably inhabited by a nice meta-population of this surviving local strain.

My thoughts were that these bees seem to bee thriving therefore they may naturally more defensive to the beetles and mites?
that is a safe assumption.

Will having 4 or 5 very large wild feral hives in close proximity to my personal bee hives be a problem.
actually the opposite is more likely the case. if you indeed have a local strain of surviving wild type bees then your imported bees (depending on the source) can pose more of a risk to the local population than vice versa.

this is especially the case if your colony suffers collapse late in the season and the local bees end up robbing out your hive. if this happens then any particularly nasty pests and pathogens (primarily mites and viruses) will end up being brought back to the unmanaged hives and threaten them.

this is easy enough to prevent but sometimes challenging for a first year beekeeper since there is so much learn when just starting out. colony losses are typically higher for beginners with losses to varroa mites being the most common reason.

please consider taking measures like having an experienced beekeeper help with with mite monitoring and treatment if necessary. consider installing a robber screen on your hive and be prepared to put a stop to robbing should it start.

for next year prepare a number of swarm traps and place them prior to the start of swarming season for your area. it's very possible that you have access to some special bee stock that may be much better than what you can buy at the bee store.
 

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I would first think of swarm traps,then hive beetles and mite bombs.Mite bombs die.Hive beetle kill off the weak.Put out swarm traps and treat for mites and beetle traps and swiffer pads to catch them.Good early swarms are really worth the money.Catching feral survivor swarms is a plus.
 

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I also don’t really see how I could lure them out of there and into a trap as their space is pretty much unlimited .
june-bug...send me an email [email protected] and I will send you a 12 page document that will show you step by step, how to trap bees out of trees, tanks, etc. Has photos of traps in progress. No Charge and no salesman will call.

What you describe is a gold mine for more colonies if you want them, and still not harm the parent colonies. A good tree can yield 2 to 5 colonies per year. And yes, they will come out into your swarm trap, regardless of how much room they have. Works best during a good honey flow in Spring. Once you make the setup, you can take colonies and if you don't want they, sell them and buy more bee equipment.

Trees and tanks are easy. Houses are a little more difficult as houses has more possibilities for entrances and exits.

Swarm boxes are good, but, they are hit or miss. The bees may or may not want to set up in your swarm box. The swarm trap is a sure thing. You get the proper mix of bees to start a new colony. It takes some setup the first time, but, after that it is fast and easy.

cchoganjr
 
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