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Trap out or cut out?

3107 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  txbeek
I got a call from a local elementary school today. Beside their nature trail behind the school is a hollow fallen tree full of bees.

I thought it was a swarm taking shelter from the rain. But on closer inspection, I saw a few workers bringing in pollen. I think I saw a bit of comb below the bees, but there are so many bees and its dark and hard to tell. They extend about 3' into the log, and it is solid bees.

I stuck a TBH in their front door and plugged the gaps around the hive entrance, so they have to go through the hive (containing lots of bars with attached comb) to now get in and out of the log. (The picture below was taken before I filled in the gaps around the hive entrance)

My question: If they don't voluntarily move into the hive (Is that likely if there is a colony with comb and brood in the log?), should I try to trap them out of the log with a wire funnel in the hive entrance, allowing them to leave the log but get stuck in the hive on the return (hopefully- never done a trapout). OR

Should I just cut the comb if its in there and transfer it like I do a normal cutout? If i go the cutout route, should I work from the existing opening, or cut and split the log? Its a rotten Chinaberry tree which should be fairly easy to cut and split. But I know that will be traumatic and will damage comb.

The girls are very, very gentle! I messed with them taking pics with no protection, and they ignored me. Even had some teachers and kids come look as I shined a spotlight into the log. They completely ignored us.

I suited up before I shoved the hive in their front door and restricted their access, and only a couple bumped my veil during that operation. So I know I want them. Just not sure of the best way to get them.

Any experienced advice would be appreciated.
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If you are comfortable using a chainsaw, my vote is for the cut-out. Log cut outs are usually difficult because you can't see where the colony is exactly, but on this one you can already see the bees and where to cut. The trap out will take a while if it works, it looks to me like the TB hive is a little far from the brood.
I too would go with a cut out in this case. Should be fairly easy.

If you would like info on doing a trap out, send me an e-mail. [email protected] and i will send you my 12 page document about trapping. It has photos of traps in progress.

So I'm going with a cutout. Gonna try and cut out the section of log, and move it intact to my bee yard after dark with the open end sealed with screen wire. Will then carefully cut the top off to remove the combs.

I then plan to try to turn the log into a TBH with board ends for a future colony. ;)
The only reason to do a trap out is when a cut out is not viable for one reason or another...
The cutout or in this case cutoff was a huge success. Got the log loaded in the truck and then backed up to old entrance. Waited till dark and got most of the foragers. Will hive them tomorrow, then turn the log into a TBH;)

I'm giving the hive to a new TBH been who helped. This will be her first hive and she is already very protective of "her girls", delaying wiring the end closed till all the late arrivals were inside.
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It kept threatening to rain all day, so decided to just give the girls a wind/rain brake with an old campaign sign.

I set about 3 feet from the open end and just watched them for a while - no suit / no veil. They ignored me and did house cleaning and carried in water and pollen. I really, really like these bees!i

Given the setup, I'm in no hurry to transfer them.

The log was alive around the outside. Only the middle is rotten. It will make a really cool TBH. I may try to make it all natural - split sticks or bamboo for top bars, and a disk from a big oak or mesquite log for the ends. ;)
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