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Author Topic: first cutout  (Read 1277 times)
sjr
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« on: February 20, 2009, 05:55:56 PM »

I have some questions about a cutout.  Some honey bees moved into a guys yard last spring, in an old wooden box that was built for his tortoise years ago.  I haven't been down there to take a look yet, but he says it is easy access just about ground level.  I plan on going there with my brother-in-law to get these bees and hive them. 
   
I don't own a beevac, what is the best way to remove the bees from the comb?  Should I remove most of the  bees first and then start to cut the comb out?  I was thinking of smoking, then sweeping the bees with a bee brush into a dust pan.  Then dump the bees into a 5 frame cardboard nuc.  Then cut the comb, tie the brood comb into frames.  Toss the comb with honey into a 5 gallon bucket and putting the lid on it , then putting empty comb into another bucket. 

Another question: should I take the nuc box of bees and frames home the same day or leave it there to pick up at a later time?

Can anyone with experience with cutouts suggest step by step how I should go about this?   

thanks,
Steve
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2009, 10:45:34 PM »

depends on the size of the box that the bees are in.  if you can take the whole box home, it would be nice. you could put it over or under a super and let the bees move on their own.  if you have to cut it out, i would not try to remove the bees first. 

everyone has their own way of doing things, but this is what i usually do.  1st, i look for the brood comb in hopes of getting the queen right away.  if you can find her and move her into your super, the rest is easy.  if i don't see the queen, i start cutting out brood comb and putting it in frames, always watching for the queen.  watch the comb with eggs and young larvae because that's probably close to where she'll be.  once she is  in the super, the other bees will start to move in with her.

chances are, your comb will be hanging from the top of the box.  you may have to start from the outside of the hive and work toward the middle.  the outside comb should be your honey comb and that you can throw in your bucket.  when you reach brood, then do the above.

if your comb is hanging down from the top, and you can remove the top and hive intact, you may be able to set it over an empty super with a super and frames underneath.  again, you would wait until the bees move down and then remove and clean up the comb.....however, the wait 'til they move method can take time and allow them to build messy comb in the mean time.

pictures of what you are dealing with would help.

if you have the option of leaving the super where the hive was until dark, you'll get more of the stragglers.  you can then close up the entrance and take it home.
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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
abeeco
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2009, 02:24:13 AM »

As far as "getting the queen" goes...(my own way of doing things)

I have found that if possible (usually not optimal circumstances, of course)

It is best to start with the outside honey combs, work in towards the center of the brood nest, and leave at least 2 brood combs for last (dark area -between them is where you are most likley to find the queen if you didn't already get her)

This is as opposed to starting at one side and working towards the other, or working towards the "back"
You will often times chase the queen into the depths of who knows where if you go about things this way.
Or as opposed to going for the brood combs first, in which case I think you may chase the queen towards the outside- but this is just my personal approach...

If there is danger of comb colapse change your strategy to deal with this first and foremost...

-sweeping bees "can" bee an easy way to get them upset, the nice thing about a beevac is that it seems to demoralize / or confuse them enough that they don't get so upset - if you have a shop vac you can build a bee vac in less than an hour, just adjust your air flow (air bypass) to barley suck bees off comb.  but if bee brush is your only option go for it.

Not sure how big the tortise box is, but like kathy says if possible try to screen it off and move it to your bee yard, then cut the top off and try to get bees to move up into your super

 leave nuc box and probably move it that night, once the bees have stopped flying.  You should be able to tell whether or not you got the queen in the box by then, if not there will be a cluster of bees whereever the queen is...  if it looks like you are "low on bees" there is probably a cluster around the queen somewhere nearby.

good luck!
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sjr
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2009, 03:10:38 AM »

Thanks for the very helpful reply Kathyp.

I don't have any pictures, but I stopped by the site today on the way home from work to take a first look.  The wooden box is 18" wide, 24" long and only 12" high.   There was an opening for a tortoise to crawl into 12" high by 18" wide.  Plywood was nailed on the top to form a roof.  It is partially covered by grass, and a bush.  The wood may be partially rotted out.  So it doesn't look like I can bring it home, I will have to do a cutout there.  

 I will have to cut some branches out of the way to fully access it.  Maybe I can pick  up the box and move it ten feet or so to an easier working area (if the tortoise box doesn't fall apart when I lift it).  I could pry off the top, maybe that would be easier than trying to reach into the opening.   Then I figure the comb would be hanging from the top and I could turn it upside down and start working on the comb.

 So if I find the queen I should tie that comb to a frame right away, correct?  Once I get the rest of the brood tied into frames and in the nuc box, I let the rest of the bees march into the opening until sundown.
steve  
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sjr
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2009, 03:22:09 AM »

thanks for the suggestions abeeco
I do have a 2hp shop vac.  I would be interested in converting that to a beevac.  There  must be  directions on how to convert somewhere on this forum then.
 So if I were to use a bee vac, then I would suck up all the bees (from outside combs to inside), tie the brood into frames and shake the bees from the vac into my nuc box?
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Robo
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2009, 07:59:49 AM »

I use a beevac for ever removal.  Here is mine
http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/bee-vac/
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JP
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2009, 11:45:27 AM »

Quote--- "So if I find the queen I should tie that comb to a frame right away, correct?  Once I get the rest of the brood tied into frames and in the nuc box, I let the rest of the bees march into the opening until sundown."
steve

You could also put her aside in a hair clip queen catcher and they will attend to her while you're performing the transfer. You could slip her in when you're done.  http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/prodinfo.asp?number=341

Here's a few pics from a swarm trap that may give you some ideas, 2nd pic you can see the queen catcher




...JP


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kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2009, 12:17:15 PM »

Quote
So if I find the queen I should tie that comb to a frame right away, correct?
 

if you can, or do it JPs way.  i wouldn't spend a lot of time on searching for the queen.  as was pointed out, sometimes she goes deep and is hard to find.  sometimes you get lucky, like the last two i did, and she's just there.  if you get the chance to get  her in your hive, it really helps.

good luck.  just remember to take your time and relax.  once you start, there really is no rush, so do it right.  check out the list above for cutout equipment. 
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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
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