Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A guy called me today about a tree that some landscapers had cut down on Friday in his yard. When it hit the ground, bees came out everywhere and the landscaper left.

The homeowner called me to ask if I could get the bees. The landscaper said he would kill them if they were still around on Monday.

I am assuming that I am going to have to cut into the tree to get at the comb so that I can attach it to frames and so forth.

If you are looking at a hole where the bees are coming out of, where would you start to cut? A few feet below and begin to shave off bits until you get to the chamber? My logic is that the comb is going to be at the top of the cavity.

Anyway, advice from veterans would be great.

thanks,

jones
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
760 Posts
yeah - id start cutting about 6 feet on either side and start taking test cuts - cut about half way in and see if you hit comb- if not cut inwards towards the entrance - until you hit comb - then cap with piece of plywood

take it home and work on it there -

good luck with it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
683 Posts
Try cutting some distance from the entrance and then work back until you find the cavity. Do this on both ends. Depending on the diameter of the trunk and the grain of the wood, you could then split the trunk lengthwise to get full access and get the job done quicker. You would need 2 or 3 wedges, a sledge hammer, and maybe a splitting maul. You could also use the chain saw to help you split it by ripping the wood in the direction of the split.

Good luck, sounds like fun.

Richard
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Save yourself some time. Look in the hive. It normally don't go both ways. Cut the empty section at the hole. Then cut 6 ft. from the hole in the other direction. Work from there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,253 Posts
Look for discoloration in the bark. Usually the cavity will be underneath the discolored bark so start in that direction, maybe starting your cut just below or above where the discoloration ends.

also another hint.

If the entrance is low on the trunk the cavity is usually higher than the entrance, as a scuff or scar has damaged the ability of the tree to feed directly above the damage and the tree dies and the rot occurs. Often if a limb breaks off, a knot hole will rot out and the rot runs down as it fills with water. If the rot is caused by a scuff through the bark, the tree will die above the scuff as the outside layer has been damaged and that area above will die from lack of nutrients.

Keep them smoked and probably it will be an enjoyable experience. Just go slow and don't get frustrated and put a little thought into the process.

Comment added: Also, if you intend to cut out a section and work on it at another location, I would go out the night before or early the next morning befor daylight and cover the entrance with screen wire. Then take extra in case you cut through the cavity while preparing to move to different location so you can cover the cavity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
854 Posts
It's an assumption. Are you sure that they are honeybees since you haven't seen them yet? Often, new beekeepers forget to ask questions and go to collect the swarm or "bees" only to find that they are not. OMTCW
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The daggone tree was 38" wide where the bees were (I would need a backhoe to get that log into my trailer....). I did not bring the right saw for that, but went at it, cutting until I came to the comb. The comb was about as deep as my deep frames (it fit nicely), but it basically ran 30+ inches (or more) in a fairly narrow run (right down the center of the tree.) Some of this was honey, but getting at it was a nightmare.

The bees were very gentle, but I do not think that I got the queen. I left the hive with the brood next to the tree and will go back later with a bee vac (I have to go out and build the thing now...)

That was tough work, I will say that. I have a greater appreciation for the folks on this forum that post those videos that make it look easy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
831 Posts
I did something similar last year when I took down a big black walnut because it had honeybees in it which was next to a trail where people walked. I took down the tree and then cut it up into section until I reached the cavity area. The tree was similar in size to what you took down, luckily I had my dad and two buddies to help me roll the section with the hive cavity up a ladder and into my buddies dump truck. He dumped it at my house and I set it up right and left it alone. The colony made it through winter and I recently through another deep on top of the log. They seem to be moving up, so maybe I can graft from them one day, lol.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
How did things turn out? Whew. Here is a really long reply. Hope you have the patience for it!

Ok, to elaborate on my last post, I tried to start cutting away at this huge tree, slowly, until I got to the comb, but I did not have the right saw for it (I needed my pop's bow saw). I probably could have done it with my saw, but it was 95 degrees and brutal. It wore me out cutting the first piece off.

So, I decided that I wanted the bees. Getting the queen would be cool, but the bees would be the priority. So, I basically cut the log right in the middle between their two exit holes. This left me with two logs, both with comb that I could reach (most of it anyway.)

That's when I filled up my deep with brood comb (and threw a lot of it away, as it was empty or full of honey.)

When I returned that afternoon, I still had a bunch of bees in my deep, but none of the ones from the logs (now there were two halves) were coming over.

Some (or maybe most) folks here will hollar, but I had not finished my bee vac and realized, before I returned, that I would not be able to finish it. So, I went to Lowes and picked up a vac that fits on a 5 gallon bucket. I cut two holes (using a hole saw) on either side of the bucket and lined the bottom with an old towel. First, I used duct tape to tape window screen over both holes. I then taped a ziplock bag just to the side of one hole and left it hanging. That was my rig. The bees were going to die and, according to some in this forum, if you do not construct one of those vac's, lots of bees die. I had no choice but to use my rig. Once I turned the thing on, leaving both holes open did not provide enough suction to pull a flea off a dog. So, I pulled the ziplock bag over one hole (it stuck, with the vac on) and this still wasn't enough. So, I used my hand to slowly cover the remaining hole and bees started getting sucked up (yes, this was a heavily ribbed tube, about an inch and a quarter wide...)

I sucked up bees like you do not know what. I seriously had 5 pounds of bees in that bucket by the time I was done. To go back in time a bit, folks always say the heat kills them. So, I had turned on my truck with the AC running full blast before I started the Vac. Once I had all of the bees, I cut the vac off and placed the bucket in the floorboard, by the AC vent.

Picked up my Deep (had a few bees in it, so I duct taped it up) and went home, dumping a pile of bees in the Deep once there. I looked for dead ones and probably saw a dozen or so, but I am not so sure that those weren't dead before I sucked them up (remember, I had to run the saw right square down the middle of the comb, cutting it in two.)

The next morning (Sunday), the bees were acting irritated, which I figured was because of no queen. Within an hour, I received a call from the guy, saying all of the bees had come out and were 'clustered' on one of the logs. I ran back down with the Vac and picked up another few pounds of bees and brought them to the hive, dumping them in too. I didn't notice any dead bees this time, but the hive was a bit irritated, so I didn't leave the box open very long to look.

The next day, just to be safe, I dropped a frame of eggs from one of my better hives in the center and put a feeder on them. I will check them tomorrow to see if they started to create a queen cell or (with GREAT luck) there are new eggs elsewhere.

They are much calmer these days, coming and going at a very high rate, but they definitely start to buzz me when I get too close. But, not a single bee from this hive has stung me yet (I did the 'cut out' in shorts, but did have a veil and gloves - no smoke, although I squirted them with sugar water once at the start (the start of a couple of hours of them all around me.)) I did the sugar water thing because of something I read on this forum about smoke making the queen run and hide. I ended up not using it later, as I was too hot to worry about it. Bees were all over me and I figured stinging would ensue. It didn't and I never picked up the spray bottle again.

Ideally, I will see some eggs and I can get rid of all of their comb (without eggs) and just put some bare foundation in there. I am still not happy about the fact that the landscapers sprayed the bees (and apparently poured gas on some of them.)

But, we'll see. Hopefully neither the bees nor me will croak.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
683 Posts
Quite an adventure. Sounds like the bees have settled in to their new home real well. I wouldn't throw out any comb with honey unless you think it was sprayed. They will need those resources if the flows ebb this summer.

Good luck, Richard
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top