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Author Topic: My first cutout?!?!?! Help!!!  (Read 6166 times)
Sean Kelly
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« on: February 28, 2008, 05:53:29 PM »

I got a voicemail today from someone near me with some bees he wants to get rid of.  He said he's absolutely sure they are honeybees and has not killed them yet because he understands their importance.  I haven't called him back yet cause I wanted to check in with you guys first.  He said they're in a tree.  What do I need to know about removing a colony from a tree?  Does the tree need to come down?  Is this the wrong time of the year to be doing a cutout (the weather has been anywhere from the 30's to the 50's)?  I'm very excited about this and am looking forward to your responses!!!

Sean Kelly
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2008, 06:20:47 PM »

First you need to go look at it. If possible take pictures to show to us. Then we can come up with a plan.

Also, I like to wait for 70F temps before I mess with bees. But that's just me  grin
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2008, 06:35:11 PM »

He said he's absolutely sure they are honeybees

If I had a $1 for every time I've heard that and they turned out not to be.

Taking the tree down is the best way to ensure you get the queen.  If you need to trap out it is a lot more work AND you need to supply the queen (make sure you charge accordingly).

As Jerry said,  takes some pics and you'll get plenty of advice Wink
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2008, 06:41:57 PM »

Way to go !
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2008, 07:22:41 PM »

sean, after last year i am asking for pictures to be emailed to me before i waste gas.  even doing that, i got a picture of honeybees last year, but found a yellowjacket nest when i got to the place.  she just took a picture of a bee on a flower and sent it.  after all....it was yellow  smiley

i got a removal call today too.  must be our warming weather.

jerrymac, if we waited for 70 degrees, we'd never mess with our bees at all!!
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2008, 07:45:56 PM »

Yeah I know some places think 70 is unusual weather.  grin

I did say "But that's just me"
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2008, 09:32:52 PM »

If they're flying, I'll fool with them, but that's just me. Trees are tough if you can't cut the tree down, honestly, unless you can cut the tree down, its not usually worth the effort. Send pics and good luck.

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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2008, 01:33:45 AM »

Wow, thanks for the advise so far.  I talked to the guy today and he said the hive has been in this tree for almost 15 years far as he can remember.  He said the tree is pretty much rotted out and wants to take it down but was hoping to save these bees instead of killing them.  So takin the tree down isn't an issue.
Jerry, I have to agree with Kathy.  Up here in the western washington mountains, 70 degrees is a heatwave and its time to go swimming at the lake.

Anyways, he said the hive is about 15 feet up!  So what should be the plan of action?  Fall the tree and then get em out or do the cutout from a ladder?
I'm pretty sure these are honeybees since yellow jackets aren't very active right now and he said this hive has been really busy the last several weeks (same as mine).  I'm going out to his place on Sunday to get a up close look (smoker and suit ready).  I'll definately take pics and post them here asap.

Please, keep the advice rollin!  You guys are awesome!  I'm totally stoked!

Sean Kelly
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« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2008, 04:07:06 AM »

What I would like to do, if I was going to do it, would be to cut the tree from above the nest. Then cut the section off that has the bees. Place a piece of screen over the entrance/s during the night to keep them in. Take the whole thing home to do the rest. Might even give then a few days to reorient to the new place before disrupting them again. Split the log and transfer into hive.

If the tree forks before you get to the nest then you could possibly use the other side to secure a rope to help lower the log that you don't know how much it is going to weigh. If no fork before the nest, you might want something more than a ladder. Of you just cut the log off and let it fall, there is a chance it could land in such a way all the comb inside will pancake together and you got a big mess and a bunch of dead bees, and could possible loss the queen and all chances of the hive producing another.

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JP
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« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2008, 05:41:44 AM »

Yes Sean, if you can cut then lower it to the ground before the transfer it'll be that much easier. If you can get the tree appart without damaging the broodnest, then go in and perform a cut-out. Once its on the ground you will have more control over this thing and more options on dealing with it. Keep the log section positioned like it is when you get it on the ground so you don't get that pancake affect Jerry mentioned. Keep in mind that one option you may use, depending on how big the colony is and complexity of splitting the tree to transfer them, would be to use something like beequick to drive them out of the tree (induced swarm) into waiting super/supers with a frame or two of broodcomb and honey frames if you have the resources. With it on the ground I would consider this option, as I said, depending on your variables such as colony size, and difficulty splitting the tree, etc... because you can cut the tree and with it on the ground you have many options and your chances of getting the queen or driving her out goes way up. This is definitely one I would fool with, because you have the option of doing whatever method is most feasible. Now let's see some pics.


....JP

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« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2008, 07:48:12 AM »

Rule #1 on a cut out Have Fun.
Rule #2 Take Pictures especially when they have stung the hell out of you. We need something to laugh at here. Wink

Be prepared for this to be an all day situation. If they have been there for 15 years handle with care. This is a resistant resilent strong hive. Respect the hive.

You may want to get an expert beekeeper to come with you. That is a hive worth grafting the larva out of to make queens with.

The cut out out a trunk of tree is very difficult to do. If there is a way you can put a screen one way escape on and place a hive box over the escape and leave it there for a while so the bees move into the hive box. I would do that. I mean they have been there 15 years what's another month or two. When the queen has started laying in the hive body then move the hive to your yard and place a gold star on it. Sell queen cells to other beekeepers for $100 each and call them SK Gold Star Queens.Smiley

Sincerely,
Brendhan

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« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2008, 07:54:22 AM »

If there is a way you can put a screen one way escape on and place a hive box over the escape and leave it there for a while so the bees move into the hive box. I would do that. I mean they have been there 15 years what's another month or two. When the queen has started laying in the hive body then move the hive to your yard and place a gold star on it.

But there is no guarantee the queen will come out. And you don't get the brood to make a queen with. And you just lost the genetics. 
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« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2008, 07:57:50 AM »

If there is a way you can put a screen one way escape on and place a hive box over the escape and leave it there for a while so the bees move into the hive box. I would do that. I mean they have been there 15 years what's another month or two. When the queen has started laying in the hive body then move the hive to your yard and place a gold star on it.

But there is no guarantee the queen will come out. And you don't get the brood to make a queen with. And you just lost the genetics. 

That is correct. But I would prefer to move the queen into a new hive body instead of spilting the wood.

If you can put the hive on tunnel the entrance into the hive box to help encourage the queen to lay in new comb would be the way to go.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

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« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2008, 09:25:19 AM »

Sean, wow!!!  Great fun for you and a chance to get more bees (oops, you gotta watch that one, hee, hee).  You are right, they bee honeybees.  The yellowjackets are all dead right now.  The queen is probably thinking about readying some larvae to raise until they hatch and get old enough to raise more brood.  Then all blinking blazes breaks loose with yellowjackets, eeeewwww.  Have a wonderfully beautiful day, good luck with the cutout, go for it!!!  Cindi
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« Reply #14 on: February 29, 2008, 04:56:31 PM »

Rule #1 on a cut out Have Fun.
Rule #2 Take Pictures especially when they have stung the hell out of you. We need something to laugh at here. Wink

Be prepared for this to be an all day situation. If they have been there for 15 years handle with care. This is a resistant resilent strong hive. Respect the hive.

You may want to get an expert beekeeper to come with you. That is a hive worth grafting the larva out of to make queens with.

The cut out out a trunk of tree is very difficult to do. If there is a way you can put a screen one way escape on and place a hive box over the escape and leave it there for a while so the bees move into the hive box. I would do that. I mean they have been there 15 years what's another month or two. When the queen has started laying in the hive body then move the hive to your yard and place a gold star on it. Sell queen cells to other beekeepers for $100 each and call them SK Gold Star Queens.Smiley

Sincerely,
Brendhan



Sean, I'm going to make you an offer I don't often make.  As you know I'm handicapped and it's hard for me to get about but I would be willing to come and give you on site advice if You are willing to have a house guest for a few days and can provide transportation both ways.  I don't drive beyond Mount Vernon due to medical considerations.  I can at least take the pictures for you.

Also if you decide to use the queen as a breeder emphasize the Feral Survivor aspect. 
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2008, 07:44:38 AM »

Wow!  This is all really overwhelming.  The guy seems very ready to take the tree down asap.  I guess the tree is really large and removing the section with the bees inside 15 feet up might be beyond what I can do at this time.  Heck, I don't even own a chainsaw and haven't used one for almost 10 years.  I worked for a logging outfit years ago and if I remember, cutting a tree down that high up was pretty rare.  If we couldn't do it from the ground it was usually left for bigger equipment.
Since the tree has to come down anyway, I'm sure the owner wont care if I carve out parts of the tree to access the hive easier.  So I guess that's always a possibility.
It would be cool to get the queen or at least comb with eggs or young larve so they could raise their own queen.  I like the idea of a "survivor queen" and doing some raising.

Brian, I think having you there would be a real blessing!  Your knowledge alone would be a huge help.  We have a spare bed, but it's extremely uncomfortable.  It's an old Futon that should have been thrown out years ago.  Unfortunately that's all I can really offer.  I'll talk with my wife about it.  Even the drive to Mt. Vernon is still a real long haul from my house.  But man!  Your help would be awesome!

I'm gunna go and check the hive on Sunday and see if this is even something I think I could handle.  If it's beyond me, anyone here wanna take it on?  If not I'll just turn it over to the guys at the Pierce County Beekeepers Association.

I still want to do this really bad, I just don't want to get over my head here.  Getting really nervous.   Undecided

Sean Kelly
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2008, 09:45:14 AM »

The reason I suggested cutting anything above the hive off is because even if you start cutting out a space just to get to the hive, without taking the upper part of the tree down, you could weaken the trunk and have the top coming down in an uncontrolled manner. Damaging, killing who knows what.

Another option would be to fell the whole tree. There is a chance the limbs and branches could cushion the fall enough that there wouldn't be a hard jarring affect and the hive might nor get knocked loose.  Then it is all on the ground and you can go at it.
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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2008, 10:03:40 AM »

Sean, Could you borrow some construction scaffolds? Just two sections would get you a 4x5 safe w, orking platform 10 - 12 feet up. It would not take 10 minutes to set them up. I would be glad to loan you some but I am 1000 miles away.

Good luck, Steve   
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« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2008, 10:09:31 AM »

Sean, oh wow!!!  That was so cool for Brian to offer his assistance, go for it!!!  YOu could find someone to bunk him, you must have a couch if you don't have a spare room.  What a chance of a lifetime to have someone that has been working with bees almost all of their life to come and be a mentor.  YOu are a very lucky man.  I wish that I could have had someone physically come and stay with me to teach me so many things about the bees that I learned in the hardest ways.  Take Brian up on it, by the end of the few days, think of the knowlege that you will have gleaned from Brian.

Oh no.....I just thought of what Brian might feel like when he left your place.  He may not have anything left inside his head to look after his own bees.  Please Sean.....do not pick his brains too hard, hee, hee.

Brian, what a gracious offer to Sean.  Now that is what I call a true to the heart beekeeper.  A person that would be willing to go to such an extent to help out another beekeeper has got to be a very, very special person.  I take my hat off to you, and I say this with deep and true intent.  You will have so much good karma that it will be comin' out yo' ears!!!!  Have the most beautiful and wonderful day, we are lovin' this life we lead.  Cindi
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« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2008, 11:18:09 AM »

understudy, you need to post your cutout supply list as a sticky on this forum so that it doesn't keep getting lost.  it was very helpful to me.  i think i only added a couple of things and i don't remember exactly what they were.  if you post your list, we can add the things that we found useful also.
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 Alexis de Tocqueville
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