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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
First cut out (tree) won't be easy, but maybe easier than first thought?

So a client of mine has a large oak tree that is coming down next week.

Lucky for me, it has bees in it and I got the word.

So I went visit them and took a look at it, it's in the middle of a field near a parking lot. I saw bees flying all over, pretty cool (this will be my first bees)... walked around the tree looking up at all the knots (about 10' up) waiting to see the action... seeing nothing but hearing more and more... finally I look down and at my feet coming out the base of the tree is tons of bees! Pretty awesome.

So I stoop down and watch a couple of bees hauling out a dead bee, whip out my camera and snap a few pics... it's a big crack so you can't see much... I turn on the light of my phone camera and take a small video to try and get a better look... shoving the phone as much in the crack as feasible.

Call my buddy to tell him about how much easier this should be than expecting (we thought it would be high up)... while on the phone I feel one walking on the back of my neck and then it turned into a prick... bastard was stinging me. Quickly took my nail and scratched him away from me (of course I couldn't see as it was on the back of my neck). Got up and walked away since I didn't want any alarm pheromones causing them to really tear into me! My buddy on the phone tells me it was probably because I was blocking their entrance for too long... makes since as I had probably been lingering there for like 5 mins.

So other than a couple of them kind of chasing me away, no more stings, it was a pretty tame but seemingly thriving colony!

Here are the pics of what I have to deal with... that base is about 4' wide so no telling how big this might be. I ordered my Ultra Breeze jacket just now off Amazon with next day prime shipping (3.99 more).

What suggestions do you guys have for the best way of getting this guy out of there?

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/oxfz3lcgwmq4vih/-H2ZEg6L5B
 

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Gilligan,
Not to rain on your parade, but could you recap for me what's going to be so easy about this? :D

Granted, the fact that you are at ground level provides some good news...However, that looks to be a HUGE tree. We could have used a few less close up and a few more wide angle shots...We all pretty much know what bees look like, the tree is kind of the important part of this equation. LOL!

Anyway, who will actually be falling the tree? You are someone else? I think it's probably safe to say the bees won't be real happy with whoever is doing it. Probably no real good way to know just how high up they are in the base. If you could take it down relatively high and then work your way down to where they are at. I'm thinking there may be a pretty big hollow in that tree, but I'm thinking it's one of those things you'll have to get it opened up and then game plan on how to best approach it.

Good luck! Should be fun....Probably not EASY, BUT FUN!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You are right... I should have clarified.

I assumed when I got the call that there were bees in a big oak tree, that I assumed that they would be high up. This would mean that it would be difficult to get the bees before the taking down of the tree and who knows what if they just said "well, we will just take it down and you can get the bees after"... so being at ground level was a huge relief from what I was anticipating. That is the only reason I say "easy"... I should have better said "easier".. ;)

Sorry about the pics... I never intended to post the pics when I took them... it was just for me and my buddy who knew enough already that this kind of spells it out for him. Then I figured why not ask the experts. ;)

I will NOT be falling the tree. I just ordered a borescope (inspection camera) that I'm thinking we will be able to drill some holes in the tree and slide that sucker in there to see what might be going on in there.

On a plus side, the tree is still alive, so it can't be too hollow right? I'm hoping we can have them just cut it down at around the 10' or less mark and then from there the construction company could just bulldoze whatever is left after we figure out what we need to figure out. Granted, I don't think anyone we know has a chainsaw that large. That might be interesting.

Here is a google street view of the tree... the over head shot shows a house that isn't there any longer and there is a second smaller (but still big) tree behind it that makes it look bigger from over head. Not to say that this isn't a big tree!

https://www.google.com/maps?ll=30.1...=USt-k8eCO7cwJqxernrkMg&cbp=12,175.6,,2,-0.88
 

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When you look into what this tree could bring in as cash value to the owners as quality furniture grade lumber you may change your mind about how you or others are wanting to cut this tree.
Please contact a local mill, sawyer (woodmizer.com has listed their sawyers on the website) and work together as a team to not only save the bees but the tree too.
The tree can be hollow - 75% of a tree can be dead and the tree still would stand - or the bees could be underground.
In case this is your first removal I would team up with a couple of experts since it is my understanding that these kind of removals the most challenging ones.
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
When you look into what this tree could bring in as cash value to the owners as quality furniture grade lumber you may change your mind about how you or others are wanting to cut this tree.
Please contact a local mill, sawyer (woodmizer.com has listed their sawyers on the website) and work together as a team to not only save the bees but the tree too.
The tree can be hollow - 75% of a tree can be dead and the tree still would stand - or the bees could be underground.
In case this is your first removal I would team up with a couple of experts since it is my understanding that these kind of removals the most challenging ones.
Good luck!
I did mention that they could easily have that tree removed for free given that it is oak.

But that is a good point if we make it contentious to working with us it could save us some trouble as well.

I also have a concern about it being underground... I think we saw a bit of drones and it really hasn't been warm around here... So maybe they were either sheltered enough to easily stay warm or maybe the earth helped in that regard. But we don't have basements around here due to only being 30' above sea level and basically a swamp.
 

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>On a plus side, the tree is still alive, so it can't be too hollow right?

I can be hollow a long ways. If you can see comb in the crack, then it probably doesn't go too high. If you could figure out how high and have them cut above that, you might be able to take the whole trunk home in one piece and deal with it at your leasure. Assuming some heavy equipment to get it in the truck... then slide it out and set it up at the same time. To get them out, you would either have to let them move up into a box or split open the trunk. Wedges and sledge hammers or a chainsaw being the normal method for that. Either will upset the bees a lot and make a mess. Not saying it's not worth it, but it is a lot of work.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
>On a plus side, the tree is still alive, so it can't be too hollow right?

I can be hollow a long ways. If you can see comb in the crack, then it probably doesn't go too high. If you could figure out how high and have them cut above that, you might be able to take the whole trunk home in one piece and deal with it at your leasure. Assuming some heavy equipment to get it in the truck... then slide it out and set it up at the same time. To get them out, you would either have to let them move up into a box or split open the trunk. Wedges and sledge hammers or a chainsaw being the normal method for that. Either will upset the bees a lot and make a mess. Not saying it's not worth it, but it is a lot of work.
That was a thought we had as well.

My ultra breeze jacket came in today, inspection camera is coming in tomorrow, rounded up some 2' long 5/8" spade bits that I inherited from my father. Need to see if that will be enough for us to manipulate the camera and then also pick up some dowels to hammer back in the holes we make (my buddy thought of that one!)

What we are thinking now is, either a bee vac at the entrance mostly blocked off or just a tube letting them pour out and into a screened box with some sort of quasi larger bee escape to keep most of them from coming back out. As we work let them pour into that box or suck them in and hopefully get most of them trapped like that before we even get to the comb.

Any thoughts on how/why this wouldn't work?
 

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What ever you do keep me posted I have a VERY SIMILAR situation here in Lizard Creek Louisiana however; tree is full of bee's but not coming down:}

It's located on an AM Vet Hall property went by there again today however I'n to nee to know how to best attract them as to get them into a box and back to my hives

Any feed back greatly appreciated:}
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Oh, I have no doubt that it will not go as we "plan" on it.

I'm just happy it's not 10' plus in the tree!

Snookie, you could just catch swarms out of it. Or maybe the hogan style trap and lots of patience and luck to get the queen.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Went try to run that borescope in their today... Couldn't get through the crack deep in there.

Started running a 3/4" spade bit into the tree about chest high... Went from both sides 16" in and never hit a hollow spot... So I think it must be down low or in the ground.

I was there at dusk and into dark... Ran the cam in there again... They checked it out but stayed bundled up inside... Kind of windy and cool, wind blowing right into the crack.

Thinking about running the drill bit in that crack to allow me to get the camera in there... Think that will piss them off too much?

I definitely need to have a meeting with the owner as they think that I'm getting the bees out before they are taking the tree down. They were out of town today when I went by but I spoke to the book keeper that passed that message on.
 

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Gilligan

Really enjoy your enthusiasm and see that you are a smart guy and just nuts enough that you're going to make a great beekeeper, but trees make for very hard cutout removals with low success rates even for very experienced guys, and are not something that really should be taken on as a guys very first cutout. You could be putting your client, the tree service guy and maybe neighbors in a very bad position if you are not able to get all the bees and complete the cutout.

How about you quickly sell 2 or 3 easier vertical wall cutouts, do them in the next couple of weeks and then come back and tackle this one?

Don
 

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Good luck you are going to need it. Hate anything to do with bees in trees,and trapping or cutting them out.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Gilligan

Really enjoy your enthusiasm and see that you are a smart guy and just nuts enough that you're going to make a great beekeeper, but trees make for very hard cutout removals with low success rates even for very experienced guys, and are not something that really should be taken on as a guys very first cutout. You could be putting your client, the tree service guy and maybe neighbors in a very bad position if you are not able to get all the bees and complete the cutout.

How about you quickly sell 2 or 3 easier vertical wall cutouts, do them in the next couple of weeks and then come back and tackle this one?

Don
I'd love to. Not sure I could find the gigs or have the time before this needs to be done.

I fear the worse case scenario here is that if I don't get these guys out that they may just kill them. I think they are possibly handing this over to me because they know me and its easier to do this then to deal with it themselves.

So my question to you is, what is the worse case scenario if I do get in there. Assuming I'm able to get the queen won't the remaining ones just die off? If I don't get the queen and ruin the hive, won't they just likely abscond and find another place to live?
 

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Sounds like you are running out of time thinking about it. Yes, I think raid is their only other future. Are they leaving the stump and how much? If they are worried about the tree falling and were willing to leave the 4 feet you might have more time.

Pretty easy to make a trap out by foaming in a 2 inch pipe, if nothing else you could screen the pipe to let them top the tree in peace, if they do not hit the nest while cutting. I'm guessing next week will not allow full trap out anyway, comb removal with chainsaws running is going to bring out the Raid, no matter what the plan is. Best outcome may be just LBs of bees without comb or queen.

Put an extension on the drill and find the top of the cavity if they will leave a stump, makes it a slow trap out then.
 

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I'd love to. Not sure I could find the gigs or have the time before this needs to be done.

I fear the worse case scenario here is that if I don't get these guys out that they may just kill them. I think they are possibly handing this over to me because they know me and its easier to do this then to deal with it themselves.
Wanting to save the bees is good of you, but you're assuming a lot of risk if the job goes south. Worse case scenario is not the bees dying, it's creating a dangerous situation. Do a google search on "car crash bees" and see the story from a few days ago that happened in Los Angelous.


So my question to you is, what is the worse case scenario if I do get in there. Assuming I'm able to get the queen won't the remaining ones just die off? If I don't get the queen and ruin the hive, won't they just likely abscond and find another place to live?
Yes, if your get the queen and they don't have the resources to make a new queen any remaining bees that are left behind will die off over the next 6 weeks, but depending on their temperament they could be very unhappy campers just hanging out in the general location of their old colony in the mean time.

If you don't get the queen and she survives the tree coming down and being cut up (doubtful), then yes they would probably abscond after a few days, agian probably not in the best of moods till they leave.

Now if the tree is in the middle of nowhere with no people or pets around, than have at her. The worse case scenario then is that the tree guys will just walk off the job till all the bees are either dead or gone.

Lots of variables and scenarios, that's why a little experiance under your belt will go along way.

I do 15 - 20 removals yearly, some of them 3 stories high off of 40' ladders and scaffolding, but every year there are a few that I turn down because the risk to others getting hurt is just too high.

These folk will respect you a lot more if you go to them and just say "hey this one probably a little over my head right now", then if you put them in a bad predicument.

Your call, we aren't their and can only give you our best advice from what we know. Good luck with what ever you decide.

Don
 
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