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I have been doing a lot of reading on doing cut-outs, using catch frames, etc. What I have not found is when, rather the best time of the year(season) to do a cut-out :scratch: The situtition: a free standing garage, wood framed, plywood interior, shiplap exterior, scheduled for a upgrade, new siding, doors, etc this spring/summer. From what I have gathered the bees have been there for several years. I would be a shame to see them exterminated. I am not concerned about the how, but when is the best time. :scratch:
 

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When its warm enough that the hive is active and bringing in pollen. Must be a day were the brood will not get chilled. Like in the 70's and all of the brood can be hived before nightfall and the temp drops.
 

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When its warm enough that the hive is active and bringing in pollen. Must be a day were the brood will not get chilled. Like in the 70's and all of the brood can be hived before nightfall and the temp drops.
agreed. 70's - 80's . I once tried to do a cut out at 110 degrees. impossible. i couldn't keep the wax together . the honey melted out as soon as it was away from the bees fanning wings.
 

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When its warm enough that the hive is active and bringing in pollen. Must be a day were the brood will not get chilled. Like in the 70's and all of the brood can be hived before nightfall and the temp drops.
I like to do cutouts that have over wintered early April in my area when the population of the colony is lower. Like USCBeeMan says when they're flying freely on a warm day. Trying to get it done before temps drop later in the day. I have to be careful to find the queen at this time of year as there isn't much in the way of drones around at this time. With the lower population she's fairly easy to find.
Swarm season starts about the last week in May in my area so how every this timing lines up for your area.
 

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I did a cut-out in April, but I'm in Texas. The feral colony was in an old stucco covered house. Their entrance was located in a door frame. I just went inside, cut the sheet rock from the inside wall and started removing the bees/comb. The 5 ft. long combs were located in the space between two wall studs.

Be sure and have all your equipment ready before you suit up. Nothing worse than realizing you forgot something with pissed off bees flying around your head. You will need a smoker and lots of fuel, a sharp knife, bee brush, dust pan, some sort of portable table(I use two saw horses with a 2'X6' sheet of 5/8" plywood laid on top), empty deep and medium wood frames, rubber bands or string to tie the combs in place, whatever boxes you use(deeps or mediums), bottom board, top board and inner cover. A bee vac can be very useful as well.

You have to be able to save brood comb and honey comb. I cut off a piece of brood comb about the length of a deep frame, lay it on the table, set an empty deep wood frame over it, eyeball it and cut it to fit the frame. Then I stretch rubber bands over the frame to hold the comb in place. The bees will reattach the comb to the frames and chew off the rubber bands.(hilarious to see shreds of rubber band laying on the bottom board)The idea is to cut comb to fill in as much of the space in the empty frame as possible. You may have to use several pieces.Then I place the frame in the box. I do the same for the honey comb and place those frames in a super. The bees will need food, don't take all of it for yourself.

When I'm done cutting comb and placing it in the boxes, I next go for the bees. You will notice, the bees will cluster all over the wall space you cut the comb from. I simply take my bee brush and gently brush them onto the large dustpan, carry that to the box and dump them onto the frames. The nurse bees will smell the brood and stay. I generally leave the new hive in the location at least over night. A lot of the workers will go to the new hive. Then early in the morning, I plug the entrance and move them. Be sure to move them at least two miles away or the workers will return to the old site.

As far as a queen, you have two options. Have one ordered and on the way before you do the cutout or if you get good brood comb cut out, let them make their own. If you want to give them an ordered queen be sure they are queenless for at least 24 hrs. In the cutouts I have done(four this year), I have found it is extremely difficult to catch a feral queen. As soon as the commotion starts and she sees light, she runs and hides. I don't ever count on catching the queen. Of the cutouts I've done, they have all raised a new queen on their own.

Hope this helps and gives you an idea what you are in for. Good luck.
 

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When? Think about "when" package bees are installed, when splits are made, when bees naturally form new colonies (swarm).
 

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As above. Though I find that my schedule, the bees' and the weather rarely compare notes, so as a rule I'll consider a cutout once there's reliable forage (dandelions and afterwards) available.
 

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The only thing I'd add to the above list of equipment to have is a spray bottle full of sugar syrup... and maybe a jar of more to add if needed.
good luck and have fun!
Steven
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks ALL!! I have a much better idea of the when and thanks for the additional tips!!:thumbsup:
 

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In the spring in our area, we watch the pine trees for new growth or what is sometimes called candling. This is an indication that there is enough pollen and nectar coming in to do the splits and take outs from walls. At this time, there are enough drones so that if the queen is accidentally killed, they can raise a new queen and will have the time to mate properly. Hope this helps.
 
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