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First cut out, survivor colony. Will I be able to save these survivor bees?

902 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Paul McCarty
I got to help with a colony removal from a tree that was slated for removal. The colony has been in the tree for at least several years but was half a block from the elementary school and right next to the side walk. So it was determined it would have to be removed. I was told I could have the bees. I went with 2 experienced beekeepers one of whom had a bee vac.

Tree shellbark hickory Trunk Woody plant Plant

We vacuumed bees at the entrance for a while and then I opened the tree up with a chain saw a little at a time. Tree Woody plant Soil Plant Adaptation

Tree Formation Wood Plant Rock

We went very slow and removed and tied in as much brood comb as possible. A total of 16 frames of comb were tied into 2 8 frame mediums. The bees were vacuumed into an 8 frame deep. Despite our best efforts we never did see the queen. I am doubtful that the queen made it thru the vacuum unscathed. My best hope is the eggs in the comb, but the worry there is that it was only about 60-65 degrees and the comb was exposed for about 2 hours before we could put the bees in the boxes to cover the comb. By exposed I mean the comb was cut out and tied into frames very quickly within a minute or two, but then it was placed in a medium box and covered. It was left that way until we had finished vacuuming and could put the deep under the 2 mediums. Bee Honeybee Insect Beehive Apiary

The bees were very calm and gentle through out the whole removal.

Once the deep had been set under the 2 boxes of drawn in comb, we vacuumed more bees into another medium. That is why the hive has a deep and 3 mediums. Tomorrow I will remove the top medium.

Should I feed them?

For those who have experience with cut outs, what are my chances of getting a queen from the salvaged comb?

I have 2 nucs comming on the 19th so worst case scenario i can requeen this colony with oner of the nucs. however, I REALLY want to keep these genetics.

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Hey... you gave them the best chance they had of surviving. Queens are quite durable. Don't discount her yet. Worst case scenario, the bees make another queen.
My guess (if you did vac her) she will be laying again very soon. Wait a week and check for queen cells and inspect to locate the queen at the same time.
If they had stores, there is no reason to feed.
Keep us in the loop with pics as you go.
Agree with Mr Beeman, but also, eggs are surprisingly resilient, if it is queenless it's a virtual certainty they will have suitable material to raise a new queen.
I had a piece of brace comb with a few eggs in it which sat on a shelf for a couple of days. I then used it as a starter strip in an apidea and noticed that the bees managed to start a few larvae so yes eggs are certainly resilient.
I bet they made it. Most bees are pretty hardy. Just go into them in a few days and carefully check for queen cells.
Thanks for the replies. I had stopped taking pics at the end. But the cavity was quite large. About 5 feet high by 15-18 inches wide. Here is a pic about half way thru cutting.
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My first cut-out was about 8'x3'. HUGE colony! I had them for about 5 years, made several splits off them, and used them for drones. They had been in the place I got them for 15 years from what I understood. Good luck with yours!

Never had to treat - or even feed, this colony. They tended to be a little cranky, but I could overlook that for what they brought to the table.
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