Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
462 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday I was offered a feral hive located about 12 feet up a very large oak tree inside a now hollow limb (about 12" diameter). I've followed the advice threads on hive capture, and have a pretty good idea what to do, but have never done it. Please review my outlne of steps and make any comments or recommendations applicable.

1. Wait until early spring to begin the capture. What time of day? Use smoke and full gear.
2. Build and use bee-vac to capture as many bees as possible.
3. Use smoke.
4. Cut off the hollow limb, taking care not to drop it. Use smoke.
5. Here is the first "heck if I know" part, cut the limb lenght-wise, top and bottom, to expose the comb.
6. Search for queen and hope like heck she is friendly. Capture.
7. Tie the recovered comb in empty frames and place in one or more deep boxes (9 frame to allow some room for loose comb).
8. Now more "heck if I know." Should I leave the deep at the same location for the field bees to find, or move it immediately to the new location, some 30 miles away?
9. Depending on the above, apply more smoke to the bee-vac and then shake into the new home.
10. Cut and run anytime above if they take too much offense to my urban renewal plan.

Ron
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,533 Posts
RonS;
Wait till spring.

I have 5 "gums" in the bee yard that some one else "droped" and I picked up one was at least 25 ft up and it survived a hole year and gave me a nice swarm last summer the other 4 I got this year and am waiting to see if they make the winter (one was cut in 3 pieces) I set them up on pallets and give them a bucket of syrup and will see what come out in spring. I have them seting where I will put the hive when I cut the log apart in spring (if they live). there is a vedio "free bees" that showes how to cut them out I think Brushy Mountain has it.

Have fun what ever you decide to do and BEE careful, at my age + 12` up I would let them BEE :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,792 Posts
I would go at night if possible and forget the bee-vac. Most of the bees will be in the hive at night, but working in the dark will be more difficult.

Also, don't worry about the queen's attitude. I've handled a lot of queens, even from hot hives, and never been stung by a queen. It's the disposition of her daughters you need to worry about.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
>1. Wait until early spring to begin the capture.

Yes.

> What time of day?

I would start in the morning. There are often unforseen circumstances that slow things down.

>Use smoke and full gear.

Of course. But most important, if you don't think you can keep your cool and WALK slowly down a ladder with several bees in your veil and several that have already stung you, then walk away now. A swarm of bees is not worth falling off a ladder for.

>2. Build and use bee-vac to capture as many bees as possible.

I have two bee vacs. I never use them. I prefer to capture my bees alive.


>3. Use smoke.

Of course.

>4. Cut off the hollow limb, taking care not to drop it.

If you think that's doable. I'd try to figure out where it's hollow to and cut the far end off first. Then cut the other end (hopefully while it's supported with some ropes?) and then let it down.

> Use smoke.

Of course.

>5. Here is the first "heck if I know" part, cut the limb lenght-wise, top and bottom, to expose the comb.

That's probably a good idea, but it's difficult to get just through the wood and not the combs. If you can score it pretty good on both sides with the chainsaw and then finish with a crowbar to pry it apart it might work. You never know what you're into until you get into it on things like this.

>6. Search for queen and hope like heck she is friendly.

I don't think I've ever found a queen in the chaos of a cut out. She's often on some brood comb I transfer, but I don't find out until later.

> Capture.

If you see her. Sure.

>7. Tie the recovered comb in empty frames

Make that "tie recovered brood comb". The honey will probably disintegrate if you try.

> and place in one or more deep boxes (9 frame to allow some room for loose comb).

Probably. I'd have plenty of spare equipment including frames and boxes. Better too much.

>8. Now more "heck if I know." Should I leave the deep at the same location for the field bees to find, or move it immediately to the new location, some 30 miles away?

I like to leave it there. If you remove all the comb and put it in the new hive, they bees will follow. But you might want to wait an hour or so and see if a cluster of stray bees accumulates somwhere. The queen might not be in the box or she might have been but decided to leave. If you see a cluster of bees look closely and see if you can find the queen. If you can you can put her in a hair clip queen catcher or a cage and put her in the box and wait for sundown. By then the bees will probably all be in the box. If there are stragglers I'd brush them into the box.

>9. Depending on the above, apply more smoke to the bee-vac and then shake into the new home.

If they're still alive after the beevac.

>10. Cut and run anytime above if they take too much offense to my urban renewal plan.

NEVER when you're on the ladder. Whenever you like when you're on the ground.
Some are bound to take offence. It's just a matter of how many.
Some cutouts are pretty docile. Some quickly get demorilized and don't fight. Some will try to kill you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
Ohhh, I hope it is the last one. ;) You really can't call yourself a beekeeper until you've cut into a bee tree full of :mad: HOT :mad: bees. I cut my teeth beelining as a kid and reporting my findings to my neighbor who would go get them. As I got old enough I would suit up and go along for the fun. Of course in those days a hot bee was what Mr. Estis referred to as "that D*** dutch bee". I have no idea what would happen if I were to tangle with some africans.
Ron, a bit of advice. Plan on adding time to your estimates. Running a saw on the ground and in street clothes is tough enough without adding a veil, suit and twenty feet up a ladder. Take your time and plan your moves with care. Hot bees are one thing, out of control chainsaws are deadly.

[ December 12, 2005, 10:27 PM: Message edited by: warrior ]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
855 Posts
Ron if the temperatures in Texas are up and the bees are flying I would remove the colony from the tree.
Use an old hive drill a big hole into the side and install it in front of the entrance of the feral hive. Fill the hive with empty combs and one or two with honey. Close the bottom and give the box an entrance. From now on all bees from the tree must go thru your hive to go outside. If there is no room in the tree in less than a week the queen is in your hive. As soon as you find the first eggs mount a queen excluder over the big hole and the queen can’t go back into the tree.

Wait till all brood hatched in the tree than remove everything. If you place the hive not to far away bees coming back and carry the honey they have in the limb to there new home.

I had these situation years back and mounted an observation hive in front of the hole in the tree. After two days the queen was laying and there was fun the whole summer

A faster way is cutting the hollow limb.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
486 Posts
Don't forget to ask yourself why are these bees being offered? Has someone been stung? How far are the nearest people? More feral colonies in your area are africanized than are not. Free bees are not worth a stinging incident.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
462 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all of your insight, advice, and help. I think that I will try a combination of the advice. I will start early in the morning and remove the limb and seal the cut opening, if needed. Then, I will place the log and hive on supports under the original site and wait until evening to close the original entrance. I will move it to the colony's new home and set it up with a modified deep covering the original entrance. I do not want to disturb them any more than needed. I will inspect the hive regularly and when I see the queen in the box, I will remove the log and seal the passageway to the box. I may even try a split and keep the log as a gum tree. This seems like the most fun. I do not necesarily want a honey producer from these bees. I do, however, want to save them from the Raid can as they are located at an outdoor building and furniture museum and the management is concerned about liabilty for stinging incidents. I cannot stand the idea that these fine bees would die because I did not even try. Again, many thanks for the valuable input.

Ron Schmidt
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,073 Posts
12 feet up, cutting the limb, stringing comb in frames, possibly losing the queen anyways, time and labor, a 30 mile drive (to and back), changing out the messed up comb later, introducing genetics into your yard that your not sure of, etc, ......If it were not for the fun and excitement, this sounds crazy. Not that I have not been crazy from time to time. But I certainly have thought about the alternative of buying a queen of known source and doing a split to increase numbers.

Are you being paid for the removal? Do the bees need to be removed? Is it for free bees, doing a needed task, or just the excitement? Is it possible to keep the limb intact and see what you can do with re-establishing the colony at another location? At least the move would be easier with the limb intact versus stringing comb in a frame/box.

Good luck.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,073 Posts
While I was typing the last post, Ron has answered some of the questions I asked. I would move the entire limb also. More options and possibilities.

Again, Good luck.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top