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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was putting out traps yesterday in a canyon with trails behind my house and I ran across a feral hive inside a large oak tree. Is there a way to pull them out or just leave them alone and hope they move to one of my swarm traps? There is no way I can cut out the tree because it's huge and public trail I would need to coax them out if possible...
 

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There's no reason to move bees that aren't bothering anyone.
 

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Why does everyone say trap out? Trap outs of old hives are rarely successful at getting the queen so what's the point of stressing them out by removing their field force, especially if it's just an attempt to get 'free' bees and not because the colony is bothering anyone. Like others have said, put out some swarm traps nearby and best of luck.
 

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He said swarm traps were set-out. Trap-out bc is better than cutting out the hive and/or cutting down the tree.

Calm down buddy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have 5 traps in the area already and just stumbled across them on the trail. I agree I don't want to stress them out because they are right on trail and I would hate for somebody else to pay the price. On the other had it would be free bees.. The dilemma :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I used this site when making swarm traps and I liked what he said about finding bee trees and placing traps up to a mile away vs. trying to cut into the tree to get the bees out. He says if they have survived winter they will swarm in spring. The videos are interesting.

http://letmbee.com/youtube/

Really good video and I agree with most likely leaving them bee and trying to catch the swarm instead....
 

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Yeah, I like the idea of leaving the mother colony alone and collecting swarms. It just seems to me that feral and survivors should be left where they are given the huge problems we're having with managed colonies these days.
 

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I know of two trees with hives and I catch swarms every year and have been doing so for about five years. I know some will not agree with me on this but all of my stock is now from these hives. The way I look at it is if these hives can survive in a tree for at least five years without any treatments and dealing with SHB i am happy to have them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I know of two trees with hives and I catch swarms every year and have been doing so for about five years. I know some will not agree with me on this but all of my stock is now from these hives. The way I look at it is if these hives can survive in a tree for at least five years without any treatments and dealing with SHB i am happy to have them.
Your only catching the swarms right now pulling the main hive from the trees?
 

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I place swarm traps within about 200 yards from the trees. I place the traps about seven feet off the ground. I also use nuc boxes that have housed bees (bees will find these nucs because they smell like a hive). I place the nucs at the end of March and start checking them in April once a week.
It is just so cool to walk up to the hives and see that a swarm has moved in. I leave them for about a week to make sure they are drawing comb and the queen is laying, then I move them to the bee yard.
 

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I don't know. you could say the bees were not very smart or they were desperate. The entrance is much larger than what is optimum. If you don't want to trap them out then I would make an attempt to close down the entrance so they would have a better chance of survival. But then again why did they chose this cavity?
 

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Because it is a suitable size Brian. I thought you were familiar w/ Tom Seeley's book in which he explains how bees choose a new home. If not, I suggest reading it. It is quite readable.
 

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I would just set swarm traps. As I understand it, that region of California is bursting with swarms every year. You are almost certain to catch a few. Search posts by "OD Frank" of San Mateo for tips - he catches dozens each year.
 

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Because it is a suitable size Brian. I thought you were familiar w/ Tom Seeley's book in which he explains how bees choose a new home.
I did read it and the cavity size is only one criteria for choosing. The entrance size is another which is why I suggested closing down the entrance to make it more suitable and keep them from abandoning it. Except for the height you could also make this a breeder hive by attaching a structure to the entrance that could house removable frames. With such a large entrance the queen will freely go from inside the tree to the breeder box outside the tree.
 

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I did read it and the cavity size is only one criteria for choosing. The entrance size is another which is why I suggested closing down the entrance to make it more suitable and keep them from abandoning it. Except for the height you could also make this a breeder hive by attaching a structure to the entrance that could house removable frames. With such a large entrance the queen will freely go from inside the tree to the breeder box outside the tree.
It also has something to do w/ alternatives. If there are no other more suitable sites to be found they will choose the one most suitable. I have a maple tree in the front yard which has bees in it. It has a pretty large opening. I have seen it unoccupied in the Spring. I have never seen it abandoned.
 

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Just another vote for leaving the hive alone and using it as a swarm generator.

Only way you're really going to get it is if you cut the tree down, and frankly cutting a tree down just for one colony of bees is incredibly wasteful and shortsighted.
 
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