I did a bee removal last weekend. I tried to talk the homeowner into letting them "bee" until spring and they would have much better chance to survive. They were adament that the bees were a hazard to their backyard (obviously they had been there for a long time, but never noticed...) and they had to go or be destroyed. It was a big hive probably 2.5' tall and thicker than a basketball! We had some great weather last weekend, so as a "community service" I removed the bees with little concern for their survival considering the time of year. As I was doing the removal, I got somewhat attached to the bees. They were just sweethearts to work considering the invasive bee-vac activities going on and how big the hive was - guessing they came from a spring swarm.
I was not able to salvage any comb because of the branches growing through the combs, so I just took the 5+lbs of bees. I had a top bar hive ready in case I picked up a swarm so I dumped the bees in there with the plan of feeding them and hoping for an easy winter/good weather. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate and the temperature was dropping into the 20's and the bees had no food stored or any comb at all. I screened the entrance to the hive and moved it into the garage where the temperture was more moderate and hopefully they would take some syrup and start building some comb. I don't even know if the queen is there and/or OK from the removal....
Since moving them into the garage and a couple attempts with feeders that don't drown a bunch of bees they seem to be doing ok - even taking some pollen substitute. For feeding I settled on syrup in a ziplock bag with razor-slits cut in the bag. The bees line up to the slits like cows at a trough!
Do I have the most understanding wife on the planet?
Well see how it goes, pretty slim chances for this bunch...interesting anyway.
Hopefully we'll get some good weather and they can go back outside!