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Author Topic: Excited Just got a call to remove a hive in the hollow of a Tree.  (Read 8916 times)
Angi_H
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« on: February 11, 2008, 11:24:11 PM »

I just got a call on my voice mail for someone in a neighboring county to remove a established hive in a hollow of an old tree. Hopefully it is an old tree that they no longer want.  I am going to call them tomorrow Morning and find out all about it and how long it has been there. We were almost 70 today and will be also tomorrow. And I know it is not time for them to swarm. I bet they have been there for a while. What would be the best way to go about this? I know I would have to take the tree down in sections. But what if they dont want the tree down? Do you think depending on the tree if I cut the opening big enough to be able to remove the brood and honey that it can be done if they want the tree. Do you think the tree would heal over if I sealed where I cut with tree seal? Please any thing for my first hive removal. I really do hope I can get this hive as it would be a great start to getting my package in mid April.


Angi
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2008, 11:37:59 PM »

Angi, sorry I can't give you any words of advice, but that is so cool that you got this first call, and you don't even have your bees yet, just wait until you get bees and you are well known, lovely.  If and when you do it, have a great time, you may become very addicted to this line of stuff like so many of some other forum members.  Have fun.  Have a beautiful and greatest of this day, love this life.  Cindei
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2008, 11:52:57 PM »

Well we have to do it before Monday next week as hubby goes back to work then. If they are in the same county as the Farm show I am going to for the next 3 days. I will go by after we get done there. I know trying to place a trap out wont work very well. And where would I find Queens now if I dont get the queen Omg UGGHH> I plan on having hubby take pictures. If I do this. Wish me luck.

Angi
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2008, 12:18:57 AM »

Don't know about California but around here hollow trees don't last long. The wind breaks them then a mess of tree is falling on houses and cars and such. Just tell them it is a hazard and it really should be cut at least down to the hollow spot.
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2008, 12:40:27 AM »

[What would be the best way to go about this? ]
[I know I would have to take the tree down in sections.]

This is the best way.
Screen the openings before starting to cut.
Keep in mind that live tree trunk is a lot heavier than you probably imagine.
Also consider, the more cuts you make, the more exposure you have to the bees.
It also means more chance to kill the queen.
If this is to happen on your time schedule, I would recommend trapping foragers with a cone.
This depopulates the hive a little bit and helps prevent too much congestion.
Congestion causes heat and too much heat will kill the colony.

A lot of how to cut a tree depends on the type of tree and how the colony is located in the trunk.
Other factors like how many entrances and nearby dead branches can impact the integrity of the tree.
It also depend on if you have professional help and buckets and boom trucks.
A good tree company can gently fell a tree without a sound.
Any redneck with a chainsaw will inevitably will kill the bees and get everyone stung and still want a jar of honey.

[But what if they dont want the tree down?]

Tighten your boot straps you're in for a ride.
Just kidding, your next best option is trap out.
But you might get your package before the trap out is complete.

[Do you think depending on the tree if I cut the opening big enough to be able to remove the brood and honey that it can be done if they want the tree.]
[Do you think the tree would heal over if I sealed where I cut with tree seal?]

You might be able to cut a sizable hole, but like you said, it depends on the tree.
The cells and structure of a tree is like a bundle of straws.
If you cut them low, you damage much of what is above.
So if you cut any sizable hole, it probably will adversely impact the tree.

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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2008, 11:32:28 PM »

Do you think the tree would heal over if I sealed where I cut with tree seal?
Angi

In my experience, once a tree is old and decrepit enough to have a void in it, it's on a downhill road anyhow.  Nothing but a liability (possible fallen branches) until it is cut down.  If you do a trapout or cut enough to get your arm in you might be able to patch the hole with some great stuff+ paint, treecote or wax but its (the trees) days are numbered.  How many days can depend alot upon what type of tree it is and how drastic you are with the saw.  Same with the tree-cote, there are correct applications for it but it's not for all cuts.  If you think this hive has good genetics but you can't cut or trapping is too intensive then at the least you could set up a swarm trap, feed it like a wahoo tongue and hope to catch any potential swarms.
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Angi_H
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2008, 01:23:15 AM »

Well I called them today and I am going out tomorrow to take a look. It is about 10 to 15 up in an old limb that broke off a few years ago and started rotting out on the inside. It is a Modesto Ash. The limb is about 10in to 15 inches across. He said he can see comb coming out of the hole in the end of the limb. So where the limb broke off and it rotted out is where the hive is. He has no clue how long they have been there. But they have comb and it is is starting to come out the hole. I will take pictures tomorrow when I go out and take a look. I know I am going to have to rent a ladder. As I have none that are 15ft. Sounds like if the hole is big enough I might be able to chip at it to remove comb. Or just cut it off behind the hive. As I rope off the limb so that when I cut it dont fall and it can be lowered  to the ground. I will cover the opening with the screen. Wish me luck. I will post pictures of what it will entail tomorrow night.  And Should be able to make araingmants to go and do the job on Friday or Sat.  What time of the day would be the best to do this? And should I put a cone on it tomorrow and a nuc with feed and sugar syrup? I have honey B Healthy and I have some mixed in a spray bottle. I will check here before I leave in the morning.

Angi
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BMAC
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2008, 07:45:58 AM »

good luck. 

Dont worry about covering the opening with the screen, the bees will be flying like crazy anyway.  I have removed a colony from a tree like this before.  It is best to have a hydraulic wood splitter sitting around and once you have the limb removed from the tree (I assume it will be a 4 foot length carefully split the branch so it splits with the way the  comb is going (like with the grain of the wood) if at all possible. 

Got a decent sized chain saw?Huh
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JP
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2008, 08:01:23 AM »

Angi, be prepared for the fact that this tree could be hollow all the way to the base. Yes, this means you could have comb that is anywhere from 12 to 15' long and a huge hive on your hands. The first thing you need to do is find out how large the hive is before you make any attempt at all to deal with this thing. Some of what I mention may have been presented to you already so I apologize first hand for any redundency on my part. You need to have a drill with you, no questions asked, and some long wood bits say in the 1/4 inch range. You will need to drill some test holes in the tree and determine where the hive stops so you can guage the size of this thing, it doesn't matter exactly what time you do this as long as you screen off the entrance hole, while you're drilling your test holes. After you drill, examine the bit for honey or propolise, etc...   As others may have mentioned, your best opportunity to get the hive and even possibly the queen, you will have to be able to get right up in there and physically remove and transfer the combs. With this said, and I don't mean in any way to discourage you from this undertaking, for your first removal, you are quite possibly in for a real challenge. I don't know all the particulars of the situation to guide you better, please after further inspection, if you would like, you can of course post back here with the specifics and we can better guide you from there. Please pay attention to detail and conduct those test holes. If the hive is not very large for some reason then you could take the section of the tree that contains the hive and transfer the entire thing to your apiary. Get back to us for more assistance and we will gladly help in any way we can.

Sincerely, JP
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2008, 08:15:38 AM »

Boy,  sounds like you getting in pretty deep for a first time removal.   I hope your excitement hasn't lead you to bite off more than you can chew.   Be prepared with alternate plans as these never go as one plans, especially when dealing with trees and working on ladders.  The liability also drastically increases in these cases.

Don't want to sound negative, but as an experienced remover,  I know the issues involved in such a removal.

The good news is that the colony will be at it's smallest coming out of winter, so early Spring does make for easier removals.

I wish you luck.
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BenC
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2008, 08:40:05 AM »

If you don't work with heights often, 10 to 15 ft is starting to get up there.  Before renting that ladder see for yourself, as in my experience if they tell you it's 10-15 ft then in reality its 20+.  Cutting a branch while you are stuck on a ladder underneith it (or even to the side) is one of the most dangerous things you can do.  It only needs to shift an inch and hit you or the ladder and that could be the end of it.  A helper is not an option- it's a requirement, even if their only job is to dial 911 for you if needed. 

...Of course, we haven't even seen the tree yet, may turn out to be a cake walk.  Exciting stuff, keep us updated.
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2008, 09:12:37 AM »

Angi, wishing you the best of luck.  All I have to say is that for someone who hasn't began to keep bees yet, you got more guts than Carters got pills.  I am not kidding. I been keepin' bees for 3 years and still am too much of a bleep to even think about doing any kind of cut outs.  Hee, hee, I can get the swarms, but I ain't goin' in no tree to soffit, yet......and doubt actually that I ever will.  Have the most best of this day, love your life you're livin'.  Cindi
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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2008, 11:07:00 AM »

I am on every list imaginable for swarms and not one in two plus years! Very excited for you.
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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2008, 11:30:00 AM »

I am on every list imaginable for swarms and not one in two plus years! Very excited for you.

Come down here. I've already taken my name off most bee removal list. Too many calls from too far away. 
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Angi_H
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2008, 11:17:17 PM »

Hi all First off I want to thank you all for the info and help. I know it is hard when you have not seen pictures or even seen it first hand. You can see comb coming out of the hole. There is a rotten loose peace on the left hand side that leads to a crack. Looks like I can gain access to more of it from there. But dont know yet. Also there is another rotten side to the left with a board on it but no bees in there. He will have a tree service go there after the bees are removed as much as I can.  Tree guys wont go and cut those. The limb is tall with lots of wood on the top. Dont worry I was a firefighter and my hubby was a firefighter and he is helping me. We are going to rent a 24ft ladder and go for it. You will see the pictures. It is about 13ft up to the fork in the tree. And looks like they might be in the middle of the fork. But till I can take off that side strip of wood that is loose it is hard to tell the opening where you can see the comb is about 5inches wide by about 14 inches long. Tell me what ya think by the pictures I will try to get what I can and then place a card board nuc and place the frames with the comb rubber banded to it with some lemon grass oil and a feeder in the top of the fork and screen the big opening and then make a cone so that once they leave they can not get back. And hopefully I will get the queen. If not then I will have to try and order one. Or if I have good comb with eggs they can make one. They have not been there even a year. As of fall nesting of the black birds he was up in the tree and nailed the board you will see in the picture to the one spot where the baby birds were always falling out of the tree. And he did that in Sept. And he would have noticed a bunch of bees in the hollow. Ok here are the pictures let me know what you all think. Oh and I have fallen tons of trees in the fire service as well as have done roofing jobs in high places so it does not bother me. I will take rope and tie my self off to the branch.  I feel safe about it.





this last picture shows how high up. There is only about 2 ft more to the tree. Where the hive sits it about 1 foot to your right of the fork with the board on the other limb. The middle picture to the inside of the fork where the hive is that piece has a crack that runs down the laft hand side of the hive. I should be able to pull that peace off and get to the comb better but I will be able to stick my hand in there.

Angi
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JP
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« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2008, 11:48:18 PM »

I would screen off the large cavity and any other cavaties that bees can escape from. Drill below the comb and determine where the hive stops. Have the tree cutter cut above the fork and get rid of those branches protruding from the fork, if the tree is hollow there, you will need to seal the top off, probably would have some bees exit, but just smoke the others down and screen over. Try and determine if the tree is hollow all the way down or if it gets solid again. Have the tree cutters cut into solid tree below the hive, if there is any solid part, then have them lower the section to the ground. Important, keep this section vertical, just like it sits. You can either bring the section with you if its not too heavy, which it probably won't be, and perform the removal at another location, at a more appropriate time, or do it at the site, but by all means perform this job with the section on the ground. Best wishes for a most successfull new hive.

Sincerely, JP
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Angi_H
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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2008, 12:28:19 AM »

No they are not removing the tree. So I have to try to keep all as is. And even if I screen the tree guys will not touch the tree. AS a few of them are alergic to bees. So I either have to try to break it open as much as I can and rescue as much as possable and then screen and cone and put the nuc in the fork of the tree with feed. Or Kill the bees. And I dont want to do that. That limb was removed early last year and it was not hollow then and the guy said the other side is only like 6 inches deep the one with board. I was going to slide a coat hanger down and up to see how deep it goes on friday. In order to try to save these girls I have to work with the owner. He dosnt want to see them have to die either but he needs them gone before the tree guys remove that branch down to the fork. If I had the money to rent a sizzor boom I would do that and take the whole limb out in sections starting at the very top after I screened it. I will know more once I get up on the ladder on Friday Even if I have to screen and leave the nuc and  take what comb I can reach and hope and pray they move up. Not alot blooming in housing tract at this time. So if it had a feeder on top of the nuc they might go crazy and move right to a food source. I will let you all know more on Friday.

Angi

oh ya and he went through all of the tree guys in there county and none will touch till they are gone. Even if it was screened off and they couldnt escape.
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JP
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« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2008, 07:45:37 AM »

Angi, I wish you the very best of luck with this endeavor. If you are able to get into that cavity and  remove brood comb, they just may make a new queen for you. Who knows you may get that queen, I hope you do. We're here if you wanna talk.

Sincerely, JP
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« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2008, 08:00:06 AM »

The pictures do give a better idea of what you have.  But it is still hard to tell just how much access you will have to the comb.  Chances are if there is any brood,  it will be way back in the cavity away from the entrance.   Hopefully you can get most of it (and the queen).   I'm not sure about your area,  but here we don't have drones available for mating, even if they raised a queen.

good luck
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« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2008, 08:08:15 AM »

You know. That might not be much of a cavity at all. Just where some wood was pulled out by the limb pulling free and a wee bit of rot.
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