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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All,
To make a long story short. A friend of mine that lives around the corner from me told me he has colony of feral bees living in his giant willow tree. We looked at it and the entrance is only 4 ft off the ground. The bees have been there for at least 10 years. So this is a great survivor colony. He said they are mine for the taking however he does not want me to cut into the tree at all. The problem, how do I get them or a portion of them out of the cavity. He doesn't mind them being there so this would be a good colony for future restocking over the years. Any help would be much appreciated. To put things in persective I am brand new to beekeeping have brand new hives no drawn comb or experience but willing to learn.
Thanks in advance.:scratch:
Pete
The other question I had is. Is it too late to try to catch a swarm from this colony this year? I can leave them alone for now and try next year.
 

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Put a box with frames and foundation into the hive body and put up in the tree or on a stand. Get a cotton ball with a few drops of lemon grass oil and put the cotton ball inside. You might want to consider ordering "nasanov" pheremone and putting inside as well.

When the colony grows to swarm size, your box (their new home) will be prepped and ready for them to move in.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Could someone answer the second question I had, If it's too late to try and catch a swarm from them this year or should I leave them alone until next season. I don't want to take a swarm and not have enough time to build them up so they can overwinter OK.
thanks for helping me out in advance
Pete
 

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If its 'survivor' stock and you want to keep the genetics... then put up a bait hive like suggested and capture a swarm. If they dont over winter, then you can try again next spring. Once you get a swarm off these, then you have the genetics. I would proceed then with a 'trapout' do a search. Basically its a screen cone w/ a 1/8" opening that allows bees out and not in. You put another hive there with eggs to open brood on a frame to help anchor the lost bees when they try to come home. They will take up residence in the hive, and eventually the tree will be empty.

Problem with this is time and resources. You need to add a fresh frame of open brood including eggs a couple of times so the new hive can build themselves a queen. Chances are when you do a trapout, the queen wont make it from the original colony.

As far as swarms go... it is my opinion that they need a home and would try it on their own anyhow. Give them a place to hole up in... and let them bee. I personally will take a swarm in August. Just wont put a ton of resources into them to make sure they winter.
 

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i tried to persuade some honeybees to leave their hive they built in a block wall. Placed a small super with two frames of honey and 3 vials of phermone as an attractant and all it got me were empty frames. the little dickens robbed the honey and took it back to the hive in the block wall. i stood there and watched and to think i made them such a nice new place to live and they shot it down.
 

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What would happen if you stuck a rag with bee quick in the tree? Would they all run to the trap you set out, including the queen? Anybody ever try this?
 

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Even with Beequick...they WILL NOT leave the brood unattended.
You could get a lot of workers, but not the money.
 
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