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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A buddy I work with called me today to tell me that he was stuck and ask if I would come pull him out. ( He was not stuck he was buried ) He said that he was about 1.5 miles down an old road and that he would meet me back out at the main road. While he was walking out he found an open air bee hive resting on the ground. So after we got him out he showed me the hive. The bees had started comb in the top of a little sapling about 3/4 of an inch in diameter, The sapling had bent over due to the weight of the comb and the bees and it was touching the ground. The bad part was it was right beside one of the mud holes
we had went thru to get him out, and every time we went thru the hole the water would wash up and get the bottom of the comb wet. I had a plastic tote in my truck so I poked some holes in it for air and then cut the sapling loose and placed the bees in the tote. When I got home I rubber banded the comb into some frames and place them in a 5 frame nuc and put a feeder on them. i wound up with 3 frames of comb. This was the 1st time I had ever seen an open air hive. The comb was all fresh white comb, do not know why they did not find a tree cavity to use.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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OMG Greg, you know the rules. Pictures! Good job with saving this hive. Hope they make it through winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They should make it thru the winter, We still have plenty of time and I will feed them good, If I see they need some help I will give them a frame of brood from another hive.
 

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..... do not know why they did not find a tree cavity to use.
Tree cavites are hard to come by now days.
Here is what I took down few years ago (was just starting up and looking for the free bees).
Well, found them directly on my apple tree - an openly hanging tiny swarm and combs and capped brood.
20160806_123154.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes we in the south have plenty of bees. And once people find that you keep bees you will get calls from everybody wanting you to come remove them from there house or a tree in there yard. I get the calls regularly but I have got to where these calls are not wort messing with, there are a lot easier ways to get bees.
 

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I’m in Michigan and had a swarm call once and it turned out to be a swarm that decided to do it’s thing in the framing under a balcony, had about 8 leaves of comb going the size of a basketball on the brick wall. When I told the manager of the apartment complex it wasn’t going to be a simple thing to get them out (cutout rates), they balked. I was happy that they did, bees that build open air hives in Michigan were not destined to make it anyway.
 

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We found a open air hive in October here, 24th, a nice ball of bees, one piece of comb. We cut them down and ended up with a very nice hive. They managed to make it through winter. We had drawn comb to put them on and a bunch of excess capped honey.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I would tend to agree with GregV on this, suitable cavities are hard to come by and getting even harder. Is there any evidence to suggest that bees that build open air hives are predisposed to do so, or are they just making the best of what we know to be a hopeless situation? I had two queens return this year and start open air hives under their repective hives. Both perished before I found them but they had managed to raise some brood. At the time, I had not yet hung any swarm traps in the apiary. It was a first for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Where these bees were they had plenty of places to find a tree cavity. So I can not under stand why they would choose to do what they did.
 

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Tree cavities is a growing problem in this area too. Many species use them, but people tend to cut the tree down when it gets a cavity. I know two people that did so this year and both trees had birds in the cavities.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Where these bees were they had plenty of places to find a tree cavity. So I can not under stand why they would choose to do what they did.
I have heard that if the weather is really bad for an extended period of time, the bees may set up house and start drawing comb in the location they first clustered. Just a thought to explain the inexplicable.
 
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