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What do I need to keep in mind as I look at it, with bringing it home as my final goal?

Assuming they ARE honey bees, but aren't a swarm, how do I collect them? Do I just cut the comb down into a box and hope they follow it? Should I find someone with a vac and borrow that (unlikely)? I'd love to add on to my hives, but I'm not sure how to go about it.

Thanks for any advice!
 

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Once you've exposed the colony, you'll have a better idea of what you are looking at, but any idea as to how long they have been there? If they have been there for awhile, they'll have a decent amount of comb built up. Try and cut the brood comb to fit into a frame, then use some string or rubber bands to secure the comb to the frame. That will give the bees time to anchor it down over time. Keep the original orientation of the comb, if you turn the cells the wrong way, the bees wont have anything to do with it, comb naturally slopes down into the cell. I ususally cut all the comb out, but don't try and bring the honey home with the hive, it tends to make a mess and is heavy, but don't want to leave it behind for the home owner to clean up, so I bring an extra 5 gal bucket for it. If you want to set the bucket out once you get it home to let the bees rob it, you can. Might want to place the new hive a couple of miles away from your established hive to let them rob the bucket though, just in case if these new bees have any "issues" you don't spread it to you established hive. If you've got an extra cage of somekind, or can build a screened cage or something to house the queen, I'd bring it too. If you do find the queen and put her in the cage, place that inside the hive, that will help secure the removal of just about every bee. Mostlikely, she's going to run and hide from ya and if she gets up in a corner where you can't see here, when you come back to collect the hive, all the bees will be outta the hive and back in the wall in a big clump. Once you think you've got everything, put the hive close to where you took the bees from and leave it behind til after dark. If you don't and you take it during daylight, all the foragers will come back and go back in the wall, but basically will be lost souls. I sent you a PM for a cheap and easy beevac.
Hope I covered it enough for ya.

Good luck!
C2
 

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bring cardboard&duct tape to seal off any holes the queen might run to...ammonia in a spray bottle will run her out of a crack or crevice [just make sure not to spray her]
 
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