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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a colony that has accessed a small hatch on a trailer. There's a panel underneath that will drop to access the entire area where the hive will be. It couldn't have been there more than a week, because I was there a week prior to discovery and saw no bees. They are bringing pollen in so there must be comb. This seems like a great opportunity to get a new colony.

My plan is to go early tomorrow am, drop the panel, cut the comb, rubber band any that has brood. I'll try and locate the queen and put her in a clip. But I'm new to this and have never seen the queen I have now.

I don't have a vacuum and it's a pretty good drive. That's why I'm thinking suit up heavily and try to get them into a box early in the am to capture them. I'll
Put a swarm trap and leave it there in case any new swarms attempt to go there.

Should I smoke them first?

Does my plan sound like a good one? This is my first experience with a cut out/trap out, or swarm.

The other option I thought would be to smoke them into a box set up like a hogan trap at the small entrance and then remove the comb.
 

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Sounds fine. Even if you somehow miss the queen they should be able to make a new one.

I have only done one cutout and attaching comb to frames, but that experience was memorable. Smoke them, and move slowly. Have everything you need right to hand before you start. Be prepared for a sticky mess. A bucket of warm water to rinse off your gloves periodically as you work, is a real good idea.
 

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With them only being there a week, be prepared for some comb. They can build a piece of comb as big as your hand in 24 hours. This new comb will be extremely soft and hard to deal with. A bee vac makes cut outs much more easy and enjoyable. Be sure to keep the comb turned right side up. Be prepared to scoop bees up and dump them into your hive set up. Hopefully you will have some foundation or drawn comb to half way hold them. Smoke is going to make them fly, might try some sugar water in a spray bottle (take it easy though you don't want to drown them).

If you have the skills and a little time I would make a bee vac first. See this vid, you will not nee the cut out shim in the middle, just the top piece and the bottom piece. I call the bee vac "crowd control", it will get the masses out of the way so you can access the comb.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Yes, I would never ever do that without a bee vacuum again. I did get all of the comb out. The honey and the pollen was pretty easy to see but with a very new comb eggs are larvae were going to be a long shot to see with the rush I was in. I rubber banded it and put it in frames. But the bees were in a very hard place to access and kind of scattered back into the crevices after I gave them a bit of smoke. I put all of the comb and frames into a hive at their egress location. I put a cone in hopes they will move into the hive now that they have no comb left inside. I never saw the queen. I guess there's just as much a chance that they start from scratch somewhere else in the cavity. With the vacuum I feel pretty certain I could've gotten almost all the bees upfront. No rewind buttons though, so live and learn.

What should I expect them to do now that their comb is all gone and a few feet away in a box? What's the most likely scenario?
 

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I think they will all move to where ever the queen is at and start building comb again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was afraid of that. Guess I'll go back later this week, with materials to make a vacuum in case they are still accessible. Thanks for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
With them only being there a week, be prepared for some comb. They can build a piece of comb as big as your hand in 24 hours. This new comb will be extremely soft and hard to deal with. A bee vac makes cut outs much more easy and enjoyable. Be sure to keep the comb turned right side up. Be prepared to scoop bees up and dump them into your hive set up. Hopefully you will have some foundation or drawn comb to half way hold them. Smoke is going to make them fly, might try some sugar water in a spray bottle (take it easy though you don't want to drown them).

If you have the skills and a little time I would make a bee vac first. See this vid, you will not nee the cut out shim in the middle, just the top piece and the bottom piece. I call the bee vac "crowd control", it will get the masses out of the way so you can access the comb.

I have a chance at redemption. They've moved to an easier to access cavity. I'm going to build a vac. If I vacuum say a few thousand bees, but have no brood comb for them, will they survive? They will have been there two weeks, so I assume there's a laying queen by now, but they will only have one weeks worth of comb since I removed the first batch? Maybe there will be eggs. I could take a frame from of brood my other hive, but it's on its first year, and I hate to deplete it even though it's doing well.

What are my options? I have the comb I cut out before, and can add the new comb (they'll have been in the new location a week), plus one frame of uncapped cleaned out honey frame. So they will have some comb made up. Just afraid that since I ruined their home after the first week the bees will be depleted pretty quickly over the next few weeks.

I dont want to let them continue building in the camper. I'd rather get them out ASAP and lose them then wait a few weeks and have a bigger mess to clean (there are conduits and wires involved).

Thanks all.
 

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If they have been there a week there will be several small combs. Rubber band them into empty frames if you can, they will be very soft and fragile. When using the bee vac you will need something for them to stand on, foundation, drawn comb or a little of both. If your other hive can stand it, a frame of brood would get them off to a good start. The empty comb will help them to gets stores going and somewhere for the queen to lay.
You can always feed the heck out of them to build up there winter stores.

Also with a bee vac be careful when around the new white comb, you can ruin it pretty quick.
You can also suck nectar out of the comb which can coat the bees and kill them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If they have been there a week there will be several small combs. Rubber band them into empty frames if you can, they will be very soft and fragile. When using the bee vac you will need something for them to stand on, foundation, drawn comb or a little of both. If your other hive can stand it, a frame of brood would get them off to a good start. The empty comb will help them to gets stores going and somewhere for the queen to lay.
You can always feed the heck out of them to build up there winter stores.

Also with a bee vac be careful when around the new white comb, you can ruin it pretty quick.
You can also suck nectar out of the comb which can coat the bees and kill them.
I think I owe it to these bees to give them a good start. My other colony can spare frame of brood. If I can't locate the queen I'll get a frame that has some eggs and Larvae in it just in case. I still have a comb I took out Monday. That combined with the new comb I pull out Sunday should be a nice foundation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
don't forget to feed them
There were many more bees than I anticipated. I have almost 4 full frames of big comb. Incredible what they did in less than 6 days. Has to be 5 frames of bees as they were all over off the comb as well as covering it. There is a laying queen and I feel pretty good that I got her as bees are calm and many stragglers swarmed on the screen of my box as I was packing up.
Think I still need to add a brood frame from the other hive? I will feed.
 

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You can always add a frame of brood to give the a little boost, just remember to feed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
It's been 4 days since I put them in the hive. I just had to see if the queen was in the hive so I could add a frame of larvae/eggs if not. Plus I wanted to see how the rubber banded comb held up. Plus, I'm very impatient. Amazingly, there was already very freshly capped brood. Had to be today as this comb can not possibly be more than 9 days old. Incredible. There was also larvae at all stages. I didn't look for eggs or see the queen, but I saw no queen cells. They did not take kindly to the inspection. They raced to the corners and hung from the bottom of the frames. I think they are a bit frazzled. That being said, I counted over 150 bees returning in 1 minute yesterday with pollen and nectar so they are doing work. That's slowed today even prior to my inspection.

I'd say there's still at least 4 frames of bees. There is at least another 11- 12 days before any new bees are born. I know swarms are typically younger, but 12 days has to be a fair amount of lost bees. Would the recommendation be to gently add a brood frame for a boost? I just hate to go right in again. Afraid they'll abscond after all they've gone through in the last 12 days. One destroyed home, one moved home, and a frame inspection. But also afraid they won't be able to defend themselves when the flow slows in about another week. We still have tallow in bloom here and all my hives are taking in nectar. So, do nothing, go in right away and add a frame, or wait and add a frame in maybe a week or later...? Also, I only had one drawn comb to give them in addition to their 3 banded comb frames. They have to build the rest before she can lay to her potential.

Since I was late to follow all the great advice at all stages up to this point., any advice on the final stage is appreciated. Cut outs are new to me, obviously.
 

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sounds like they have it going on.
You did not see the queen or eggs but did see larva in all stages, good sign for sure.
A frame of brood is always a big boost to them as long as the hive you are robbing the brood from can stand to be weakened just a little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Thanks for the reply. Other hive is doing great. I think I'll do it today and get the pestering over with. Then I won't go back in for at least a couple weeks when cut out brood is emerging.

I thought about the major decrease in foragers and it occurred to me they probably have nowhere to store anything. The one drawn frame I gave them was completely full of nectar. I assume most bees stayed in to build comb. I read foragers can revert when they are desperate for new space.
 
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