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Author Topic: My first cutout call for the season.. and it's a bad one!  (Read 3514 times)
Sean Kelly
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« on: February 19, 2009, 06:49:24 PM »

Got my first call of the year for a cut out.  Honeybees found their way into the chimney of an elderly woman's home.  The fire place is not used ever and the bees have called it home sweet home for the last 10 years according to the house keeper.  The HUGE problem is the colony is behind the brick, inside the cinder block hollow spaces.  God only knows how huge this colony is.  I told her that I will not be able to do anything without taking her chimney apart and that I don't do repairs, so a contractor would have to come back to put it back together.
Of course she doesn't want to do this so I suggested she just leave them alone and don't make a fire, or contact an exterminator.

Here's the interesting part:  She said she called a bunch of exterminators and they all said they are not "allowed" to exterminate honeybees in Washington and that a beekeeper is needed to do a proper live removal.  Whether it's a law or just a exterminator's gentleman's agreement, I thought that was really interesting!

It's amazing how much spotlight honeybees are getting with CCD in the news.  Even exterminators wont kill them now!!!

Sean Kelly
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fermentedhiker
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2009, 07:12:57 PM »

would it be possible to close up the all of the entrances and route them through a hive that you temporarily mounted there.  Using some sort of one way escape so the bees could leave the hive but not return and they would eventually be nearly all in the box hive.  At which point you could gas any that where left with CO2 and lug the rest home?
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JP
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2009, 09:33:47 PM »

Sean, more than likely there is only one scenario depending on how old the chimney is. You have outer bricks, a space (where the bees are) then the hearth bricks which are usually ceramic.

You could light the fireplace to kingdom come and it wouldn't affect the colony. The hearth bricks can withstand the heat because they are ceramic, like in a kiln. The bricks would melt and maybe just break into pieces without the void space between them and the hearth.

I have removed them from 3 chimneys and I had to remove the bricks to get to the hive. I put the bricks back on one, I had my contractor friend put them back on the other two.

On all three, the hives were at the top of the stack, like in most vertical spaces, working downwards.

The job is a lot of work. Good luck.


...JP
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iddee
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2009, 10:34:19 PM »

Search for "trap out". If you don't find the answer, PM me and I'll talk you through it.
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2009, 10:41:44 PM »

only problem with a trap out is that you leave 10 years worth of comb and honey.  eventually someone will get a nasty surprise!  seems she'd do better to leave them to tend the hive if she doesn't want to pay.
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2009, 10:54:37 PM »

Before 1903, people said you couldn't fly. They had tried and failed. Now people say you can't successfully trap out bees, because they tried and failed.

I trap out bees, remove all honey, and leave only comb. It dries to powder and there is very little left other than dust.
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JP
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2009, 10:57:49 PM »

Iddee has done a ton of trap outs and has it down to a science. He tells me the last stage involves robbing of the honey. So the honey goes, but of course the comb stays which would be attractive to swarms so beeproofing the chimney becomes paramount. When I'm as good as Iddee, I'll do trap outs, until then he gets the occassional trap out question from JP.


...JP
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2009, 02:28:32 AM »

i wasn't questioning whether or not a trap out can be done.  how do you remove all the honey?  leave it to be robbed out?  i have seen the result of unattended hives left in structures.  it's not pretty. 
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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.....

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JP
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2009, 07:30:23 AM »

i wasn't questioning whether or not a trap out can be done.  how do you remove all the honey?  leave it to be robbed out?  i have seen the result of unattended hives left in structures.  it's not pretty. 

I don't know of many who have become as proficient in trap outs as Iddee. I know the man has put in the leg work and has gotten it down to a science from years of trial and error. Hope you don't mind me saying so Iddee.

From our conversations he has told me that in the last stage of a trap out, the bees will rob the honey out of the void space.


...JP

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iddee
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2009, 08:18:42 AM »

Thanks for the kicker, JP. Yes, it is possible to make a successful trap out, but there are many more ways to do it wrong than there is to do it right. The two most important steps are:

1...Make sure all other entrances are closed the "FIRST" attempt. If they ever find an alternative route, they will search much harder after that. It will be near impossible to block them all once they do.

2...The timing of the cone removal is critical. Too soon, and the hive will recover in the wall. Too late, and they will not remove the honey. It will be fermented, causing an unwanted mess, as Kathy stated.

There are many smaller steps, but those two are where most people fail.
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2009, 08:52:29 AM »

Before 1903, people said you couldn't fly. They had tried and failed. Now people say you can't successfully trap out bees, because they tried and failed.

I trap out bees, remove all honey, and leave only comb. It dries to powder and there is very little left other than dust.

Agreed.  But perhaps you can add some of your experience on successfully getting the queen.   I hear many folks claiming methods of getting the queen to leave as well. I don't want to be a nay-sayer, but in my experiences with trap-outs,  I have never gotten a queen.  In fact, after ended up with laying workers in the trap hive too many times,  I don't even attempt anymore and always start with a queen in the trap hive.  I have a feeling most of these claims are wife's tales propagated by folks with little to no trap-out experience.  Would be great to hear from someone with lots of experience.

I did have a trap-out throw a swarm during the process once though.
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2009, 09:53:47 AM »

I do not try to get the queen. I start with a frame containing eggs from a hive I want to raise queens from. They use the larva from these eggs to start queen cells. After 1 week, I remove the box if there are more than 5 frames covered in bees. There will be numerous queen cells. I place 2 or 3 of those into the replacement box. I have gotten as high as 4 hives from 1 trap.

The queen comes out in all the trap outs. You just happened to be there when she did on the one "swarm", which was most likely an abscond. She will take the remaining bees and leave. Seldom will she go to the trap box, it is already considered queenright by the bees that have been trapped, as they have queen cells or a new queen. They no longer recognize her.

If the swarm has just moved into the structure, many times she will come out the first few days, and will accept the trap box about 50% of the time. It is the same as when a swarm moves in and then decides it isn't a good place, so they leave. When there is nothing coming in and they have no stores, they decide to go elsewhere. Your trap box may or may not be acceptable to her.

Once established, they will stay until the brood emerges and the stores are dwindling, then abscond, as they will in any hive during a dearth.
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JP
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2009, 10:28:39 AM »

Before 1903, people said you couldn't fly. They had tried and failed. Now people say you can't successfully trap out bees, because they tried and failed.

I trap out bees, remove all honey, and leave only comb. It dries to powder and there is very little left other than dust.

Iddee, I need you to explain the above statement please. Are we to assume that there is absolutely nothing left to the combs when your trap out is complete?

OK, so I understand that the honey is robbed out, not certain that nothing but dust from the robbed out combs would be left, I'd have to take your word on that one, or do you have pictures or documentation to prove this?

My guess is that combs would be left even after the robbing. I've removed colonies and have found old combs adjacent to those colonies on several different occasions.


...JP

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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2009, 10:34:29 AM »

Sean- welcome to the club of cutout beeks. You will learn more than ever about bees. Actually, this is an easy one for a newbie now that you are armed w/ Idee's knowledge! My first one was physically difficult, rained honey on me which resiulted in me getting stung minimally 100 times, vomiting on way home at convenience store. But, I got bees which are still alive today, learned from my mistakes and have done a handful since.
Idee great info. Cant wait to try a trap out!
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2009, 10:59:05 AM »


The queen comes out in all the trap outs.

Interesting.  Early on when I was still intent on getting the queen I built a queen trap into the trap on about 4 or 5 of them and never seemed to catch one.  So I just assumed they would not leave the brood and they just died when the hive dwindled to nothing.

Quote
You just happened to be there when she did on the one "swarm", which was most likely an abscond. She will take the remaining bees and leave.

Could be, but I don't think so as I still got a deep full of bees in the trap a week after the swarm.

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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2009, 11:01:11 AM »



Iddee, I need you to explain the above statement please. Are we to assume that there is absolutely nothing left to the combs when your trap out is complete?





Quote
OK, so I understand that the honey is robbed out, not certain that nothing but dust from the robbed out combs would be left


JP,  I don't want to speak for iddee, but I think he means over time it turns to dust, not right after it is robbed out.   Wax moths, meal worms, etc break it down.  Nothing like the mess of rotting dead bees and honey if the bees where just poisoned.

I'm sure you have seen the remains of abandoned comb in some of the removals you have done where the bees had been there a long time.  Same principle.






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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2009, 11:36:09 AM »

JP, Robo has the right idea. Yes, it will take time, but I am sure you have found old, abandoned comb in walls. When you take a handful of it out, it just crumbles. No body or consistency left, basically just dust still holding it's shape until you remove it. In that condition, it attracts no vermin, does no damage, and causes no harm.

Robo, I believe that, as in a dearth, the queen stops laying when the foragers stop bringing in nectar and pollen, so 1 week after the trap is set, I think she has quit laying. Then 3 weeks for them to emerge, meaning 4 weeks of trapping leaves NO brood.  Please notice, I said BELIEVE. I have not torn out a hive after 4 weeks to prove it, but the signs after trapping seem to point to it, and we have all seen it during a dearth.

As for the swarm, anything is possible with bees, as we all know. You could very well have set the trap during their preparations for swarming and they just carried it out. The queens I have witnessed leave the structure took every bee in the colony with her, other than the ones in the trap box. If there were still bees in the structure, you did likely have a swarm.
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2009, 12:05:10 PM »

I said BELIEVE.

As for the swarm, anything is possible with bees, as we all know.

That is the beauty of bees, the more we learn, the more we learn how much we don't know about them.  Amazing creatures!

Looking to be another good year for removals.  It is only February,  have 18" of snow still on the ground and have already received 2 calls for removals last week after 1 day in the high 40s. afro
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JP
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2009, 05:12:34 PM »

I figured you meant over time Iddee, the combs would get to that point, but the way I am looking at it is what is left would be attractive to swarms. Even if all the combs disintegrated into dust, propolis remains. Propolis will attract a colony as well. So the moral to the trap out story is to beeproof or that structure more than likely will get bees again.

One day I still would like to learn how to do them successfully, but oh, the learning curve!

Hope you don't mind me pickin' your brain some more, got two chimneys right now that are full of bees.

Holler at ya soon.


...JP

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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2009, 05:15:25 PM »

Congrads on your first cutout for the season. pdmattox didn't stay long enough after the conference or I would have made him do several. However I did take Dee, Dean, and Ramona to the aftermath of one I had just done. I was able to leave the hive box right next to the entrance and get most of the brood comb into it. So the bees just moved in to the box.

On the item of looking for queens. I do not usually look for queens in a cutout. Unless the hive is very old. A long term well established hive usually means sturdy stock. And while the brood frames can be used for raising another queen I do make an extra effort if the hive is more than three years old. When I do succeed (which isn't often) I usually find the hive is more like to survive the cut out. I still have stock from a compost bin cut out I did a few years back. It is not the original queen I caught but she was only replaced this past summer. The bees are still doing fine and I still use their brood frames for other hives when I can.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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