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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All - I'm brand new here and with bees. Have thought about it - but this summer some girls moved in underneath my shop - about 16" off the ground, but underneath a 4x8' sheet of plywood - so I have no access. For last 4 days have tried to feed some sugar syrup that is about 8" from their entrance. Each day more bees finding it. Each night 2 - 3 bees still outside so I help them in. I bring in (chicken water jar with sugar syrup) so other night critters don't come snooping around. Last night there were several in the dish, got them out and they were gone by morning. Today between showers and breezy, hundreds of bees on dish jar sitting in and on jar looking like 2 & 3 deep standing in line I guess for the good stuff. Tonight there was still a LOT of bees outside huddling in groups. Drones I believe. WHY ??
Did they get too full and couldn't fly home ?? Too drunk on sugar and passed out ?? Wonder if they will still be there in the morning. Warm tonight - normal in 50's at night right now.
Any idea why this is happening ?? Anything I should be doing or doing differently ?? Advice greatly appreciated. I don't see anything about this in any of the books I'm reading. Thank you
 

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Howdy and welcome.

Most likely they will be fine without any feed. They do well on their own most of the time.

You can plan on removing them in the Spring. I lifted a shed and removed a hive from underneath with no more than 16" clearance. If you can't do that, maybe cut a hatch in the floor for access. Some have cut the floor and placed a hive body over it for the bees to move into, but that is a longer process.

Drones get kicked out in the Fall and are not allowed back in. It is a part of life. Don't try to put them back in!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Texan -

Thank you. I was thinking I would be wise to feed as I do not know exactly when they moved in and no clue how big the nest is. We built shop with 2x8's 16" apart but shop is 14' across. Now only 4' from outside edge has the plywood and the rest HAD pink insulation plus tar paper - However, over the years, especially this year critters have gotten up in there and now that part is shredded. So - critters could get up into where they are if they are small enough (like mouse or rat). Last few days can smell dead animal under there - not sure where and not interested in finding out what just yet. I'm a little claustrophobic.

Lifting the shop 40' long is not an option, but come spring cutting the plywood out and moving them somehow is an option. But not now I don't think. Cut a hole in the floor - we work in that shop - so probably not that way. Nice idea however.

Yes, drones get kicked out in the fall - 1st day was only 3 I put back in maybe - put on twig and put at entrance.
It was just that this group was so BIG. I was not sure if it was fall or something to do with the syrup.

This morning one of the groups are still huddled and a few stragglers on leaves. The rain got into the plant dish that I put the syrup jar in and they drowned of course.

For all the bees that were all over the jar yesterday, they did not drink near as much as the day before with only 1/4 as many bees. Interesting I thought.

This AM - wasp nest at barn empty - so another hint it is that time of year.

Thank you for your help and advice
 

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Welcome to BeeSource! Sounds like you have an interesting project (trap out or cut out if you decide to remove them) waiting for you when spring arrives. I would at least put up a trap hive within 75 yards or so to catch any springtime swarms that may issue from your shop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Gary and Thank you
I was wondering about that very thing this evening. 75 yards away ? Wow, I was wondering if I could set a trap hive right next to the building. Yes, I do hope for a springtime swarm - these gals are so nice and gentle, want to keep that trait. I would be happy with 2 hives. It has been fun watching them the last couple of days swarming the qt chicken water jar that I have the sugar syrup in (after they found it - grin). Benefits of having to feed outside. Downside was rain yesterday getting into tray and loss of life there. This evening I took my "dog agility tunnel entrance" made out of 1/2 a 55 gal drum and set it up so feeder jar will be undercover now. Should work when feeding fonant also. They just have a white 24" x 24" tunnel to fly thru later - zoom zoom. I set it out a little bit as I did not want to put something new in their fly zone. Later I can put it next to the building. Is maybe 2' away now. Wish I could add pictures I have taken. Fun
Quiet tonight - guess most drones got kicked out last night - or because food empty early this afternoon.

Let me see if I have learned enough reading yet to say "trap out" would be for the trap hive - yes ??
"Cut out" would be removing the 4x8 plywood underneath shop and cutting all out. However, it has got to be a mess trying to cut out comb, bees, queen and all - so with crazy comb, do you just dump it all into a separate hive and hope they stay ?? There was pink stuff insulation under the shop, not sure what they have done with that. Certainly any insulation mixed in is not a problem as would not be interested in keeping only the bees for now. But how are they going to reorganize brood and all I wonder ?? Perhaps your "best action is no action" and just leave that group where they are and hope for the best.
 

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Hello Natilie and welcome-
Search for posts by Cleo C Hogan. He has trapout information. His email is often in his posts and if you email him he will send you details on his trapping method.
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you Whiskers and thank you for suggesting Cleo Hogan.
I did find some posts of his - very interesting reading.
Something that sounds good for spring I think. Too late to think about doing anything now I think. November 13, even if I am in East Texas, it is supposed to be in the 40's at night for the next 2 nights.
I am wanting to learn things and make plans and be ready come warmer weather.
Assuming they survive any wild critter (mouse/rat) sneaking in from the back. Not sure I can block that end - they are not using it.
Whatever was dead and stinking under there is not stinking now so maybe I can crawl underneath to see if I can block that off. A little claustrophobic now I learned 20 some years ago when we were insulating underneath. Lucky for me, this is the high end 16" of our 40'+ shop.
Seem to have a few yellow jackets feeding too - thought I took care of them - not sure where they live.
Fun watching them scarfing up the sugar syrup. More fun watching them dive bomb a wasp here and there. grin
 

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Welcome to BeeSource! Sounds like you have an interesting project (trap out or cut out if you decide to remove them) waiting for you when spring arrives. I would at least put up a trap hive within 75 yards or so to catch any springtime swarms that may issue from your shop.
+1, and welcome from NE Kansas Natilie!
 

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Once you get Mr Hogan's info you'll understand the trap out option better. Basically, trap out is a way to trap the bees out of the tree or building without doing any de-construction of the building or cutting of trees. Cut out is where you de-construct or tear apart (carefully if not a derelict building) carefully the home (or cut apart the tree) and remove bees, comb, and honey.
A trap hive is a hive or box set up some distance from the bee home (bee tree or shop in your case) where the bees may go when they swarm and think it's an ideal location and move in so you can remove the box, put them in a hive, and make them part of your apiary. I would not put it right next to the shop but several folks have had swarms from their hives enter an idle hive located in their apiary. A swarm will usually settle or cluster within 50 or so yards from their original hive then decide where to go, so a trap hive might work within 75 yards or closer. I had a trap hive get occupied this past spring that was about 75 yards from a bee tree.
The cut out is messy. Most folks use rubber bands or string, cut the comb holding the brood to fit a frame, and attach the comb to the frames then put them into a new hive. The bees will go to the brood. Some folks do the same with the honey but let it drip for a day or two before adding the best frames (straightest combs of honey) to the hive.
The worst issue with either situation is getting the queen (sometimes there are multiple queens) from the old location. If there is young brood in the combs, the hive can raise a new queen.
Either trap out or cut out is more complicated than I described, but those are the basic ideas. Read up on both, as well as swarm traps. There's a good book on cut outs called "Honey Bee Removal" by Cindy Bee and Bill Owens. I think you can get it from www.beeculture.com or www.rootcandles.com. ISBN 978-0-936028-50-7
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank You Gary for the extra information. I understand better now why it is better to put a trap out a distance.
I can imagine why a cut out would be messy. Even being directly underneath the floor joists to cut out the combs just for starters. grin. And I don't have one of those special vacuums I saw on a youtube the other night.
Can only assume they are curved about, so now I understand how, at least the most of it, gets put into the new hive frames and hives. Since bees eat their honey, seems like it would be best to let it drip inside the hive and let them clean it up. Too obvious so I must be missing something. Yes, finding the queen, definitely that would be a trick for me. ha ha
I'll look into the website and book. Thank you.
 

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Look at the BeeCulture site first. There are plans for a bee vac in the book that works quite well. I built one and with a little tweaking, it does not kill very many bees.
The reason most folks let it drip before adding to the hive is because of the mess inside the hive. All that honey will drown bees, drip down on the brood comb, and attract ants and wasps/robber bees. The mess could cause the bees to abscond (leave the hive and go somewhere else) so all your hard work was for nothing. The bees will need a couple of days to get everything re-organized anyway.
There's also a trick to putting the comb in a frame correctly. If you look at the comb from the end, you'll see that the cells tilt upward slightly. You want to put the comb into the frames so the tilt goes up, not down.
There's a book on "Swarm Traps and Bait Hives" by McCartney Taylor available through Rossman Apiaries (www.GAbees.com) also that might interest you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Have not looked yet - idea of making a vac sounds like something I hope not to have to use after this time. grin.
OK - all logical reasons for letting the honey drip outside. I understand now. thanks
Ohhhh yes, comb in right side up and not upside down - a super important thing to remember at the time. :)
Swarm traps and bait hives might be better for me I'm thinking.
Have the 4 books from the library right now. Enjoying "keeping bees with Ashley English". Have "The Backyard Beekeeper" 3rd edition, "The complete step-by-step book of beekeeping" by David Cramp and "The Beekeeper's Problem Solver" 100 common problems by James E. Tew.
Someone suggested the Dummies Book, but also said the knock is "only talk of langs", "all health issues must use chemicals", "buy from me". No doubt lots of good info, but what about all the alternatives out there.?
Yes, it is his business and why shouldn't he promote himself. But I think he should share options with everyone.
We are both cancer survivors, and while we didn't know any better or have time to learn anything back in 1996 for me, we did not go the chemo route 2 years later with Bob. There are healthy options for most things IMHO.
Personally I really like the idea of the "Urban Bee Condo - long hive. When I was younger a 50# sack of feed was not a problem - now 40# is tough and I split it when I can ( my back insists ). This plan looks like the best of both - a summer home for me and a winter home for them. ha ha
Of course what I'll end up with is yet to be determined. grin Loved the Slovenian Hives, but not the price & not sure I could build one just yet. I'm eligible to take ideas & combine when necessary. Not afraid to experiment.
Wish my bees would find and start working the feeders I have in the shop. 2 holes, 2 bees each, 2 cool rainy days - not cutting it. Have clear plastic cones over the different feeders so I can see them - then both covered by box. fret.
Thinking I should change my name to Gabby for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Howdy John
Thank you for the welcome.
Isn't it funny that "Frio" county would be in South Texas and not at least in the Panhandle with their winter blizzards. Rusk not in Rusk county and such. I'm up in East Texas - Smith County.
Natilie
 
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