Wow! I just got back from checking the tree out. It's going to be easier than I originally thought. The guy who owns the tree already cut all the limbs off and all that's left is a tall stump. He got all but one limb when he noticed bees coming out of the hive. He's allergic to bees so that's when he called me. I took the other limb down with his chain saw just to make it a little easier.
There are three enterances. The main enterance to the hive is about 10 to 12 feet up, much better than I originally thought. There's another on the back side which isnt being used any more. And on the very top where the tree broke off during a windstorm years ago, causing the tree to rot and make these bees a nice cozy home.
The knot on the main enterance is about 3 inches in diameter and 6 inches deep. With a flashlight I could see the comb down inside, a very dark almost black in color. Did not see any bees outside the hive but one or two foragers did come in and go down inside. The owner said the bees were very active and wasnt sure why nothing was going on today. It was very cold last night and pretty windy this morning but the sun came out today and the wind calmed down. My bees at home were going to town, so I'm just wondering if it takes the tree longer to warm up cause it's thicker?
I got a close look at one of the bees coming home and she looked just like my Italians, same coloring and everything. DEFINATELY a honeybee. Even had full pollen baskets.
My grandfather has some scaffolding that I'm going to use that will put me right at the correct height. I think what my game plan will be is with a chainsaw, cut open the face of the hive exposing the comb. Cut the comb out, place it in my frames, and then level the stump off where the bottom of the original hive was. Then I'll just place the new hive body on top of the stump so the returning bees can come back to their new home. I'll just leave the new hive there for a couple weeks so they get used to their new home before taking it down. Seems like an easy plan, right?
When I move the hive, should I wait until night when the bees are all back at home?
And when placing the natural comb inside the frames, should I wire the frames first and just squish the comb into the wires or is there another way?
Very cool and I'm totally excited!!!
I'll post my pics as soon as I get them uploaded!!!