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Ok, I'm going to try not to make this too long; we'll see how I do. So I'm attempting a Price/Hogan trap out from a tree. The entrance is at the base of the tree. I sealed up all the entrances except one that's about an inch around. I used tubing to extend that entrance out horizontally about 6". Then I put a swarm trap/nuk with a hole drilled in the back, in front of the tube and threaded the tube into it so the bees had to go through the nuk to get to the tubing and into the hive. Then after a couple days I put a trap out cone on the tubing inside the nuk, so the bees could get out of the tree into the nuk but not back into the tree. In theory at least.

Mind you all this took much, much trial and error, sealing up entrances that I thought were sealed but the bees chewed through, etc. I made a new, longer trap out cone, etc.

About a week or a week and a half ago I gave the nuk a frame of eggs, open brood, and some closed brood. The theory is that the queen smells the other brood and comes out to investigate, getting trapped out.

Well, last Friday, I go into the nuk and see that there's a good number of bees on comb and they have constructed what looks like the beginnings/half-way done with emergency swarm cells. Well, I think, they are too far to smell the queen's phermone and they think they're queenless (in the nuk part they are), and they're making emergency queen cups.

So I go back last night around dusk, and take the nuk home, thinking it's got a bunch of bees and some queen cups on it. I accidentally made a split instead of doing a trap out but a split will do fine, they can make a new queen.

I get home, open the box and of course it's getting pretty dark, and I lift the bars of comb into my hive and then dump the rest of the bees in. Two things become immediately apparent. A) There are only a cupfull of bees in this box; b) The queen cells that were there Friday are gone/deconstructed. There are several drones in the group, as well.

So now I have a hive with a comb full of empty cells and a few capped brood and no queen cells, and a cup full of bees and (presumably) no queen. I have no idea what happened. Clearly they have figured out how to get back into the tree by way of the trap out cone backwards. And then maybe just deconstructed the queen cells?

But lord have mercy, what do I do now? And why isn't my trap out cone working?
 

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Kate:

While I am no expert, I did communicate with Mr. Hogan about some of the finer points of the process when I ran into some difficulties. In short:

1. First assure that the bees get successfully reoriented to the new opening that you provide for them for the purposes of installing the trap-out tube before actually attaching the tube. This gives you a good opportunity to check for and seal-up alternate paths for entrance.

2. Once step one is successfully concluded, add the trap-out tube only and let the bees again get acclimated to utilizing the now extended entrance as their path of egress / ingress- again sealing up alternate entry points. Assure that the trap-out tube does not allow any light in (i.e. black tubing or wood).

3. Once step two is working, install nuc box and an open frame of brood.

4. In approximately 12 hours, check the nuc box and see if nurse bees and cleaners have moved down.

5. Subsequently check the nuc box every 24 hours for evidence of the queen and/or the beginning of queen cells.

6. Depending on what you find and what your objectives are, you may at this point in the process decide to install a one-way bee escape to complete the trap-out, or remove the nuc to (just a couple options):

Let them raise an e-cell queen and eradicate the resident colony by continued one-way trapping.

Take the nuc away and add a mated queen to the box to complete the split.

Hopefully this information is somewhat helpful- sorry you have had some trouble.

Russ
 
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