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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there, I am a new beekeeper this year. I have a neighbor who has been a beek for about 30 years. I got a call last night about a swarm that had taken up residence in a hollow tree. The tree is an elm about 2 feet across and the entrance hole is about 7 feet up with a diameter of about 4 inches. We climbed up a ladder and looked and the swarm appears to be hanging down from above the entrance. We can't reach in to grab a handful or see how large the clsuter is. The tree is very close to a house and the new owner wants the bees gone-catch or kill. I would appreciate and suggestions.
Rob
 

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Don't become involved in the destruction of a hive doing what they have done forever-Live in trees.
 

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Is the tree on the neighbors land? Just tell the anti bee person the swarm will be gone by itself in no time. or cut the tree down and and fell it in to the persons home. and tell them that destroying the bees home you thought it would be ok to destry his as well.
 

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I agree with beeslave,,,,letem go,,,,you can probably get some decent genetic material come swarm time,,,I don't understand,,what are they hurting,, where is the danger??? Just MO

Rick SoMd
 

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Can you talk the owner into waiting until next year? It is kinda late to get it established I think. Next spring you could do a trap out, as it sounds like they are setting up a hive in that tree.

Do a search on trap outs. Also a swarm catcher.

Pugs
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The homeowner recently bought the house, I explained that they would pose no threat . The entrance is 6 - 7 feet up, but he said he would feel more comfortable with them gone. I have a couple of days to come with a solution.
 

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If I understand this the swarm is a swarm, not a colony. My vote would be for a bee vacuum. You're not going to cut the tree, he's not going to let it stay. You need to get the bees out.

The other option would be to trap them out, if you can convince him to let you do that.

This is the exact situation that I am in right now. I have a trap setup at a homeowners house. The bees are in a downed tree right across his lawn. Nice guy that he is, he's letting me trap the bees out instead of killing them.
 

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O.K. The homeowner has no clue,,,Perhaps you could do a "fake trap out" It seems to me that the homeowner is really over reacting. Trap outs take alot of time. Perhaps you could use that to your advantage. Sorry to be devious , but sometimes it is warranted. Tell the owner that you have a way but the other way is to take the tree down .

Rick
SoMd
 

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Walk the neighbor over to the tree. Hold your hand at the hole and let the bees fly around it. Explain to him that they are no problem. Then explain to him that to remove them would be fatal to them, but in the spring you can remove them and keep them alive. Convince him to wait, then do a trapout.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Taxonomy, what method do you use to trap them out? Another thing working against me is that it calls for rain and crappy weather the next few days. The tree itself is near a street, probably about 7 feet away.
 

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This is more or less correct, but I am not using top bar hive. I had to build a support for the hive body.

Field bees leave, but cannot come back. The while process takes about a month, from what I am told. Eventually, the whole "old" colony winds up relocating to the new one.

I made the tunnel from a piece of AL gutter and Great Stuff, spray from insulation, to create a seal. I started the process about two weeks ago and the bees are now in there building comb. I added a couple of frames of capped brood to "calm" the returning field bees, or trick them, depending on your state of mind. Eventually, they say, the queen will emerge into the new colony.

My only problem with the whole thing is that it's so late in the year, but the time I pull the whole contraption I think it may be too late to put them into shape for winter.

In my case there was a couple of eggs, evidently, and the returning field bees are making a new queen of them. In all the colony is active and pretty good sized but they have no stores. We'll see what happens!
 

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I have come across this situation 4x this year. Bees in a knot hoe in a tree. Each time I have tried to educate the home owner about the bees. They have a rare piece of nature going on in their own yard that I would love to have. Each time has been 7 feet up or higher. The highest one was prob about 30 feet up, and you could watch it from their deck at eye level since they lived on a hill. This colony they really need gone and I agree with them that it needs to be dealt with. The old oak tree is dead and needs to be cut down. They are concerned that tree will fall and land on someone's house. If it wasn't for the height and size of the tree, I'd work on the removal myself. Two of the other 3 said they would let them do their thing and when they throw off a swarm, will call me. The last one ignored me and "called another beekeeper" that came out and sealed the tree up and the bees to their doom.

C2
 

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I had a lady who kept calling me, the animal control office, public works, county extension, etc. Anyone who would answer the phone and all told her the same thing- let them go as they are posing no harm. She insisted throughout the year in calling one agency after another. Each time, they would contact me to 'come check it out'. Each time, I told them & her I do not do trapouts and the bees were causing no harm. Finally she got someone to seal them with a screen. Most of the local pest control companies said they refuse to kill bees.

It's hard for us to understand the deep rooted concerns people have about a colony in a tree and in some cases, no amount of 'education' will sink in. You may as well be talking to the tree about the beneficial organism that it's home to.

If you have time on your hands and want to try your hand at a trap out, I wish you good luck with it. I have no spare time and sure don't need any more projects. If you can educate the owner on leaving well enough alone, then you are doing the entire neighborhood more good than harm. If you do trap out, be sure to seal the entrances up after the project is over or it will occur again sometime in the futre. Or, you can leave it as a 'bait hive' tree and gather swarms from it every so often. Finally - CHARGE them. Free bees are far from free. If the owners think it's worth it to remove them, then let them put a real value in your work.
 

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First choice: vacuum.

Second choice: In a similar situation, albeit with an established hive in a tree that was being cut down, I climbed up and cut above the hive and below the hive. I removed the chunk o' tree, screened off their entrance and a couple stray holes caused by my chain saw, and tossed the thing in the back of my truck. I took it to an empty lot next to my place and put it on the ground 'til next year, when I may (or may not) decide to extract them/trap them. For now, they're happily relocated campers.
 

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First choice: Vacuum
Second choice: Cut down the tree
Third choice: Trapout
Fourth choice: Kill the bees and get over it, there will be others.
 
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