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Author Topic: Could I get feral bees to move up?  (Read 2626 times)
edenviewgarden
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Jane


« on: November 25, 2008, 03:25:54 PM »

I'm kind of phobic about preventing or missing my feral bees swarming out of their garbage can (since I cannot see what is going on down in that can).  Spring comes EARLY here in south FL and I am afraid the bees are going to get cramped and swarm at the first opportunity (they already looked cramped to me -but what do I know?).  I don't want to lose a swarm because my timing for the cutout was off.  I was thinking about something Michael Bush said in a post somewhere else about anything that was added to this garbage can hive would have to feel like it was part of the hive for the bees to build in it.  I'm wondering if the bees might move up and draw out comb if I make a plywood top for the garbage can and cut out the center completely under a hive body full of frames. I'm wondering if I would need just wedges or popsicle sticks on the frames so as not to attract wax moths.  I thought I could use a shim cut out with an entrance under the hive body or maybe on top.  I could make some kind of a ladder to make it easier for the queen to get up there.  Then if they would fill out those frames and the queen was laying in the upper hive body I could just lift it off the garbage can before I attempt the rest of the cutout.  It would be kind of like doing a split, I guess.  What do you guys think?

Jane
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2008, 04:07:41 PM »

Jane,
 Can you describe the view from the uppermost lip of the can down. Distance from cover is my question. You might be able to rig deep frames into a plywood cover so they hang down then stack a small super with foundation/ or stater strips on top. If you have no donor hive for brrod it may be hard but not impossible. Can you take a picture and post it?
Mark
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edenviewgarden
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2008, 04:26:58 PM »

I do have pictures.  I guess because I'm a new bee, I need a moderator to post them for me though. Not quite sure how that works.

There isn't room to hang any frames from a cover, I'm pretty sure.  I think I only have a few inches from the top of the can to the horizontal piece of plywood in the can. There is a piece of plywood 12 x 18 inches laying across the top of the other 2 x 4 scraps, etc, in the can.  The bees have built combs hanging from that top piece of plywood.  That's why I can not see anything underneath it.

I do see what you mean though, that it might be better to have frames hanging down inside the hole to come closer to the 12 x 18 piece of plywood already there.  Then the queen wouldn't need a ladder. But I wouldn't want them to attach the frames to the plywood in the can with burr comb so I couldn't lift it off easily.  I'll have to measure to see exactly what I've got.

Jane
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2008, 06:05:23 PM »

 As others have said, it's hard to tell without pictures. Get a few and get them in photobucket or imageshack. Not hard, I did it. Get with one of the Mods and they will instruct you and approve them and get them on here for you. Thats what they get the big bucks for grin.
 If at all possible beg, borrow or buy some some drawn frames to use in an upper box. It will greatly increase your chances of them moving up into a workable hive. That has been my limited experience. I have two hives now that were "swarms" that just moved into empty boxes with some drawn comb.
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edenviewgarden
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2008, 07:12:26 PM »

Okay, here are the pictures of the garbage can feral bees.  The first 3 are from the end of September when we found them.  The last one I took a few weeks ago. There's a whole lot more bees in there now  shocked !! I can't even see the combs at all anymore- only bees, bees and more bees! You can see that the plywood is not level in the can.  It is a lot closer to the rim of the can on one side.  The 2 x 4 near the front of the can even sticks up a little past the rim and so does a piece of comb on the right side.  Hope this helps give you guys ideas.









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edenviewgarden
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2008, 07:16:20 PM »

P.S.  A very public THANK YOU to Rob for giving me the go ahead to post the pictures.

Very sincerely,
Jane
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2008, 07:40:29 PM »

WOW  shocked That is a lot of bees in there. Im still waiting for the day I get to see a feral hive that I might get to capture.
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2008, 08:28:50 PM »

 I am sure that there will be better ideas than this, I would cut a piece of plywood to cover the can as flush as I could get it, the piece of comb is not a problem, cut it off. The piece of protruding 2X4, cut a hole in the plywood just big enough to clear it. Nail or screw some 3/4 deep strips on three sides to support a standard hive body. You have made a bottom board that fits the can. Set on a hive body with some frames, preferably with some comb in it, and a top. The bees will go up into it to get out. The problem is IF and when the queen would move up.
 Please make sure you are completely protected while dealing with this hive.
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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2008, 08:40:58 PM »

i would lean toward doing a regular old cutout.  band the brood into frames and get the queen in there.  the others should follow.  you can shake most into the hive and place it where you want it.  when they figure out that you have taken the queen, they ought to move into the new home.  i'd use a queen 'includer' on that one for sure.  read through the removal section and you'll get lots of pics and ideas.
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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2008, 08:59:24 PM »

Kathy, I also would do a cutout, but, I think they should have some experienced help to do it though. This is their first experience with bees and I don't know what they have for protection or what their intimidation level will be when surrounded by upset bees.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2008, 09:37:01 PM »

It should be easy enough to set up a hive body next to the garbage can.  From the looks of things it should also be pretty easy to cut the comb and tie it into frames.  Looks like a pretty simple cut out, a good one to get started on.  Maybe get a hand from one of the beeks from his local association to get past the rough spots.

Nice Spring project, plenty of time to plan and accumulate the equipment needed.
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Holycow
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2008, 09:38:02 PM »

Hey Edenviewgarden,
Do you have any of your own protective gear and/or hive equipment? I ask because I am south of the Miami area but will but passing thru your area on my way to Palm Bay sometime in the next two weeks. This trip will consume my whole day anyway so if you have all your own gear I can transfer the girls into a box for you.  If you'd rather convince them to move up into a box, I'm sure it can be done. My only concern is when we start getting a lot of rain it will eventually fill the can and THAT'S ALL FOLKS! (unless there are already drain holes at the bottom.)
You could move them the same way you'd remove a hive which is too far in a chimney to reach. You'd  need a bit of comb with larva and eggs in it from another beek. for this process.
There would be a lot of typing to explain further steps so you may want to look it up. When done properly the bees move into the box.. then clean all the honey etc. out of the old hive.

**Also if someone has not mentioned it.. be very careful with this situation.  I'm not trying to scare you. However, keep in mind If someone hits/kicks that can.. bumps it with a lawnmower or it falls over.. you can have an astonishing number of angry bees flying INSTANTLY.. we're talking thousands. This could be a life threatening situation.**
Good luck.
--Jeff
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edenviewgarden
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Jane


« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2008, 09:44:48 PM »

Whoa, I'm getting responses faster than I can type responses.  Okay I'll post this and then go back for the others.

  Please make sure you are completely protected while dealing with this hive.

Thanks for the suggestions.  I will need to order the things I need to set up a hive and a bee suit is definitely on that list.  These bees have been very gentle- so far.  When I took the first pictures, I practically had my head right next to the can.  I did notice when I blew one of the pictures up to use as a screen saver that there were rows of bees all watching me but none even buzzed me.  I know they will react a little differently when I start jostling the can a bit.  Two suits, then, one for DH and one for me!

i would lean toward doing a regular old cutout.  band the brood into frames and get the queen in there.  the others should follow.  you can shake most into the hive and place it where you want it.  when they figure out that you have taken the queen, they ought to move into the new home.  I'd use a queen 'includer' on that one for sure.  read through the removal section and you'll get lots of pics and ideas.

I have not wanted to do a cutout late in the season because I am afraid of trashing their winter stores right before our winter weather hits.  Those combs are attached to wood going in all different directions under that top board and I'm afraid the combs may really come apart when we try to pull the top board loose. I was planning on leaving them alone until Spring (Michael Bush's suggestion) but as I have been thinking about it, I've been afraid that if I don't time it right I could miss them swarming or even if they are in swarm prep, I might lose the queen in the move.  I was hoping to keep the feral genetics until I see if they are strong survivor stock or not or until I get a temperament change.

I guess I'm just trying to conjure up an "insurance policy" to make sure I keep them all until I can do the cutout in Spring- whenever that is around here- February?

I think they should have some experienced help to do it though. This is their first experience with bees and I don't know what they have for protection or what their intimidation level will be when surrounded by upset bees.

Experienced help would be fantastic, as we have no experience.  I think I'll be okay (as far as the intimidation part) if I am in a suit.  I have gotten rather attached to these bees.  Hopefully they will all just be buzzing around us and won't go all "Galaxy Quest" on me... Anybody know the scene where they are down on the planet getting what they need for an engine repair and they come upon creatures that look like little children.  The character Guy says, "Sure they look cute now but in a minute they are going to turn mean and ugly somehow and there is going to be a million more of them!"

Jane
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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2008, 10:06:02 PM »

You may want to talk to another beek. in your area.. but I don't think you have to worry at all about "winter stores" in your location. It's not like your snowed in and there are no bees flying or plants to visit.  Should have flowers blooming and pollen coming in year round. I'm a bit south of you here and I've got no trouble with that stuff. My suspicion is you are in the clear.
--Jeff
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edenviewgarden
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Jane


« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2008, 10:26:31 PM »


It should be easy enough to set up a hive body next to the garbage can.  From the looks of things it should also be pretty easy to cut the comb and tie it into frames.  Looks like a pretty simple cut out, a good one to get started on.  Maybe get a hand from one of the beeks from his local association to get past the rough spots.

Nice Spring project, plenty of time to plan and accumulate the equipment needed.

Spring would be nice as I have not even started collecting equipment.  Since the end of September I've just been trying to collect an education!  rolleyes

**Also if someone has not mentioned it.. be very careful with this situation.  I'm not trying to scare you. However, keep in mind If someone hits/kicks that can.. bumps it with a lawnmower or it falls over.. you can have an astonishing number of angry bees flying INSTANTLY.. we're talking thousands. This could be a life threatening situation.**
Good luck.
--Jeff


Jeff, I wondered where exactly you were when I saw a previous post of yours.  Thanks for the offer of help but I am just not set up to do this yet.  Maybe I should have done it when we first found them but I was too chicken, not knowing anything about bees. Waiting until Spring and having time to learn was more appealing in early October.

The garbage can is in a pretty safe location in the back yard behind a fence in a mulched bed.  The lawn mower stays a couple of feet away from it on the grass.  The can isn't sitting quite level but I'm not too worried about it falling over.  It is filled with some pretty heavy wood.  I didn't post the other pictures of the can with the lid on.  There is a lid on it to protect it from rain (I just take it off to take pictures of the bees).  There are no drain holes in the bottom.  I thought I could put holes in it if I needed to with a piece of rebar heated up with a torch to go through the plastic but I was worried about ants getting in.  I don't know that we could lift the can to put it up on a pallet.  It's heavy.  Then I wondered what effect it would have on the combs to move the can level when the combs have been built level vertically on a board that is not level horizontally in a can that is not level horizontally either?

You may want to talk to another beek. in your area.. but I don't think you have to worry at all about "winter stores" in your location. It's not like your snowed in and there are no bees flying or plants to visit.  Should have flowers blooming and pollen coming in year round. I'm a bit south of you here and I've got no trouble with that stuff. My suspicion is you are in the clear.
--Jeff

Wow-really.  All this time I've been worried about a problem that isn't even an issue?!  I have thought that beekeeping must be radically different at latitude 26.51 N.  There is nobody else in the continental U.S. with the same latitude except the Brownsville, Texas area!  These bees are still bringing in pollen.  I guess I should have asked more "local" questions at my first bee meeting.  Thanks.

Jane

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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2008, 10:37:11 PM »

no rush on it.  check with folks in your area so you know how they handle bees over the winter.  they can tell you about flows, etc.  do it when you are ready. in the mean time, see if someone can lend you a frame of drawn comb and set up a swarm box. if some of them take off, you may get lucky and end up with another hive.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
edenviewgarden
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Jane


« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2008, 11:04:27 PM »

in the mean time, see if someone can lend you a frame of drawn comb and set up a swarm box. if some of them take off, you may get lucky and end up with another hive.

Thanks, that's another option I was wondering about. 

Jane
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2008, 11:30:24 PM »

Planning is key here, don't let other's rush you.  Spring is still the best time to do something.  As for drainage of the can, drill a hole or 2 about an inch above the bottom to let any rain water drain out.  The puddle left in the bottom will discourage ants.  Such a small hole won't destroy the function of the can for holding junk or garbage.

On the subject of ants, they seldom bother the bees.  Inside the hive they keep to places the bees don't go or can get to readily.  They aid the bees by cleaning up the stuff the bees toss out.  I've never know a hive to be overrun with ants while there were still live bees within the hive.
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« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2008, 08:47:23 AM »

I know you hate to lose a swarm, but consider that after they swarm they will have half as many bees!  That will make a cutout job that much easier!

Looking at the way it is set up, you will have a little trouble getting them to move by themselves into a new box.  I suppose a puddle of beequick at the bottom might do some persuading.

Rick
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edenviewgarden
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Jane


« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2008, 10:16:06 AM »

I know you hate to lose a swarm, but consider that after they swarm they will have half as many bees!  That will make a cutout job that much easier!

Rick

Thanks, Rick. Very true! It's not the end of the world and I would have a brand new queen which I would be happy with, should she prove to be a good one.

Planning is key here, don't let other's rush you.  Spring is still the best time to do something.  As for drainage of the can, drill a hole or 2 about an inch above the bottom to let any rain water drain out.  The puddle left in the bottom will discourage ants.  Such a small hole won't destroy the function of the can for holding junk or garbage.


Thanks, Brian.  I have to say that I experienced a huge sense of relief when Michael first suggested waiting till Spring to cutout the bees.  It seemed an impossible task for me in early October, not knowing anything. I was cramming information as fast as I could to learn about beekeeping and my brain was on "tilt".  I was studing organic beekeeping and trying to figure out equipment (so many choices).  Lots of times I just stared at the screen and said, "Huh??!!...move on, it will jell after a while."

As far as saving the can for any other purpose, I don't really care about it.  It's old and we have given it to the bees.  I could pretty easily run a heated rod through the plastic to make a hole or two in line with the upper entrance. (Don't think I want to vibrate the can with a drill! LOL) The can is leaning slightly in that direction anyway so it would drain if needed.

---Thanks to all you guys for your input.  You guys are great!
Jane
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