I have an opportunity to try to remove a strong colony from a home and, as a newbie, would appreciate advice and comments on my plan before proceeding. By "strong," I'm guessing 100,000 or more. Beekeeping for Dummies suggests counting all bees coming and going for a minute and multiplying by 1,000 to get a rough estimate. Let's just say that at 10:00 this moring, between three of us, we couldn't count that high that fast!
The home owner says the bees moved in last year, so this is not a fresh swarm.
The entrance is about 8' high, between the first and second stories. Bottom story is concrete wall, which probably puts the hive area in the upper story walls or floor joists. I have an advantage in that my husband is in construction, so he will know the best way to approach the final removal to cause minimum damage, and can repair any damage to the home.
The main entrance area is about 2" x 4", and there is some area along the siding they are also using. I plan to caulk the siding gaps to restrict them to the single 2x4 entrance area. I would then need a way to guide them from there to a capture box. Because the colony appears to be so large, I would set up a deep super (or do I need 2?) with frames and waxed foundation (I can't spare any drawn out foundation as my hives at home were new in May).
I've seen mention of a "screen funnel" and understand the concept, but need more detail. Is this simply screening used to guide them to a hole in the receiving box? Do you put one of those one-way cones in the hole, the cones used to remove bees from the honey supers?
I want to pull as much of the colony as possible from the home into the hive, hoping they'll view it as an extention of their current home. I would like to set it up as a regular hive, with a screened bottom board and sticky paper to get a mite count before I move it home.
From there the homeowner is willing to allow us to pull up carpet and subflooring from upstairs, or sheetrock from the ceiling downstairs if they are in the floor joists. We didn't discuss the possibility of them being in the walls, but I think she'll be okay with removing sheetrock from inside walls if we can't get at the hive by removing siding, etc.
That's a long-winded way of saying we want as few bees as possible flying about the house if inside removal becomes necessary.
How long should the exterior hive be left in place before trying to remove what is left inside the home? What do you think the ideal or max outdoor temp should be, so as to minimize damage to the interior of the home?