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Author Topic: Swarm in brick (hole entrance) @ chimney base  (Read 2534 times)
Dane Bramage
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« on: May 04, 2009, 01:10:25 AM »

Had an interesting swarm call this evening.   

The swarm arrived earlier today at the base of the family's chimney.  In our correspondence I requested some pix (among other info).



I was able to get there probably about 3-4 hours after the swarm had initially arrived.  Problem is, they had all moved inside by then.  By the description of the initial swarm, I'm guessing a load had already moved in by the time the above photo was taken.  There are four holes in one brick at the base of this chimney.  It's a gas fireplace and no one has any idea what type of space is in there, nor why.   At any rate, the super easy swarm catch (show up, spray with syrup, knock them in, leave - all in 5 min) was a non-starter.  So what I did was position a "trap" (which is a full hive with one deep brood chamber w/drawn comb, some with honey stores actually, sprayed with syrup & a drop of lemongrass oil) so that the entrance was level and ~ 2-4" in front of the brick holes.  I'm hoping they are enticed enough to move house but I've not yet attempted to trap a swarm from such a potentially cozy (for them) location previously.

Any tips/advice?  If they do not move relatively soon (one or two days?) my only other thought was to blast their current home with some "Bee-Quick"

Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

Cheers,
Dane
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RayMarler
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2009, 01:45:57 AM »

before they get any comb build or brood started inside, you might try soaking some peiced of rag in beego and push into the space with a coat hanger, see if they'll escape out and into your box. if not, should be a fairly easy trapout since they just arrived and have no comb or brood yet.
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2009, 11:11:57 AM »

before they get any comb build or brood started inside, you might try soaking some peiced of rag in beego and push into the space with a coat hanger, see if they'll escape out and into your box. if not, should be a fairly easy trapout since they just arrived and have no comb or brood yet.


That's what I was contemplating Ray.  I use a blower solely for clearing supers but had ordered a bottle of Fischer's Bee-Quick during the winter out of curiosity.   I could use that... perhaps soak some cotton balls and then drop them in there.  They outta love that!  evil
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JP
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2009, 11:35:22 AM »

Varify first whether they are in the chimney or the wall. The thing with beequick is you want to get behind the colony or you run the risk of driving them further into the void space.


...JP
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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2009, 11:46:50 AM »

Put a cone on it. With no honey stored, they will come out within 2 or 3 days.
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2009, 11:56:34 AM »

Varify first whether they are in the chimney or the wall. The thing with beequick is you want to get behind the colony or you run the risk of driving them further into the void space.


...JP

Thx JP.  I don't believe there is any access to inside from where they entered.  None that I nor the owners could find at any rate.  We're all uncertain what purpose these holes in the on brick serve, but they are definitely there by design.  There's only one way for them to come in or out and I'm sure the owners (nor I) are not interested in knocking any bricks out to get to them.  If they don't come out after the fume treatment they gets the hose!


Put a cone on it. With no honey stored, they will come out within 2 or 3 days.

What's a "cone"?
« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 05:39:46 PM by Dane Bramage » Logged

JP
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2009, 12:01:44 PM »

So did we take the little blue pills or the little red ones this morning Scott? grin

My vote is trap out with cone, minus the beequick.


...JP
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2009, 12:07:16 PM »

So did we take the little blue pills or the little red ones this morning Scott? grin

My vote is trap out with cone, minus the beequick.


...JP

haha - no pills for me!  I am au naturel! (scary huh?)  I must research this cone of which you speak.
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bailey
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2009, 12:17:43 PM »

trap out without the bee quick is my vote as well.   the bee quick is expensive, and if you cant get behind the swarm it probably wont push them out.

look at trapout in progress thread in removal section, it will be the easiest bet and should be quick too.

bailey
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2009, 12:31:45 PM »

trap out without the bee quick is my vote as well.   the bee quick is expensive, and if you cant get behind the swarm it probably wont push them out.

look at trapout in progress thread in removal section, it will be the easiest bet and should be quick too.

bailey

Thx Bailey

I think the bee-quick would be an "if all else fails" last option.  I found the cone method as well.  I'll likely be good-to-geaux because their current entrance and the trap hive entrance are nearly touching.  Since they just moved in I'm hopeful they find frames of drawn comb w/some honey stores (I'd use some brood frames but it's early here after a cold and horrible Spring and I don't want to chance losing any brood) a much more inviting environment and just move right over.   Still - if I did need to use some fume-tech could be that a cotton ball would actually drop under them and, with only the one entrance, they'll have little choice (can't chew through brick!).

edited to add ~> I think I'll try a variation on that cone concept.  The holes in the brick are perfectly round & I've some old hive bodies with one hole each.  So I'll seal up all but one hole, route some tubing from that into the trap hive.  They will then have to traverse the trap-hive to gain access to the chimney.  Should that help?  I'm sensing the homeowners are getting a bit anxious.  If the bees don't emigrate after a couple of days I'm going to drop a fume bomb in there.

Cheers,
Dane
« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 03:05:56 PM by Dane Bramage » Logged

iddee
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2009, 03:09:02 PM »

The tube will defeat your purpose. If you do that, you are just wasting your time. If you want to talk about trapping, pm me your phone number.
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2009, 05:12:43 PM »

The tube will defeat your purpose. If you do that, you are just wasting your time. If you want to talk about trapping, pm me your phone number.


Thank you kindly for the offer iddee.  I'd prefer to conduct any discussions here, for the benefit of the forum members.  But if you'd rather not, no worries.  Smiley 

It's very rainy and relatively cold here = the bees aren't leaving their homes.  Forecast is for same until this Friday.  rolleyes That, in combination with the fact that the bees just moved in, had me considering the "tube" as a potential solution. 

I appreciate the merits of an escape cone.  I think I'd use that straight away if the weather were conducive, but I don't see them venturing out and exposing themselves to the elements.  Hence, I thought a weather-proof "tunnel" might provide them the shelter and incentive to scout, forage.. hopefully move.   Given that the queen pheromone won't dissipate like with an escape mesh-cone I could see them simply robbing the trap and bringing it back.  But, again, brand new swarm, so they've no where to store anything yet.  Perhaps that will swing the odds in my favor.  If not, I suppose I can wait until the weather improves and use the escape cone.

So - I suppose the questions for this particular situation are:
  • What is the effectiveness of a cone-escape + trap when it's so cold and rainy that the bees aren't out?
  • Is providing a weather-proof path to the trap beneficial in adverse weather conditions? or, even though they've just moved in and surely have no comb built yet, will they likely just rob the trap at worst, ignore it at best?

Cheers,
Dane
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annette
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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2009, 05:16:29 PM »

Very interesting stuff and I am following this with interest, so in this regard glad you are sharing on the forum.
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iddee
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« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2009, 05:24:44 PM »

I'm not trying to keep anything from the forum. I also wasn't thinking of a 5 minute phone call. I just can't see typing 40 to 100 pages here when a 1 to 2 hour phone call would be needed to cover all bases.

So all I can do now is suggest looking here.

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,20301.0.html
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2009, 05:51:23 PM »

I'm not trying to keep anything from the forum. I also wasn't thinking of a 5 minute phone call. I just can't see typing 40 to 100 pages here when a 1 to 2 hour phone call would be needed to cover all bases.

So all I can do now is suggest looking here.

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,20301.0.html


100 pages?  2 hours?!?  shocked Almost sounds like real work!   Wink  ha - no worries iddee!  I wasn't insinuating your attempting to keep anything from the forum and sincerely do appreciate your offer.  If this is all redundant info and a non-unique scenario then there's definitely no sense in going over it again.  That's exactly what the forum archives are for (thx for the link!) & I'd ask your forgiveness for my intellectual sloth.  I'm not a serious swarm trapper but if there's an easy one to be had I'll do it.   I had no idea that this one was anything other than bees clustered low on the side of a chimney until I arrived (neither did the family, actually).  Else I'd likely have referred them elsewhere.  But, a good opportunity for me to learn something new so I'll dig in now that I'm already vested.  darn!   Wink

Cheers,
Dane
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RayMarler
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2009, 12:54:22 AM »

I was wrong again, don't use the beego.
Use the cone.
The tube won't work, they won't move out of the wall or bricks, they'll just use the tube and nuc or beebox as an entrance to where they've chosen to bee. plug three holes and put a cone on the fourth, the bees can come out but can't get back in. put a frame with eggs in the nuc and a frame with honey and the rest foundation. The bees can come out of brick but can't go back in so will go into hivebox to take care of brood and raise a queen and build a hive. The queen may come out also since this is a fresh swarm, but maybe not since they been in there a day or two already.
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2009, 11:56:17 PM »

Well, I was hoping for all the complications  Wink  but... lo & behold, the bees didn't care.  They've already all moved into the box I placed (likely sometime early today).  So I won't get a chance to do all the nifty stuff.



I put duct tape over all but one of the holes in the brick and did stuff a fume-soaked cotton ball in there ("fire in the hole!!") just in case there were any stragglers (& to discourage any wayward bees from returning there).  I'll pick it up early tomorrow before the foragers are out.

Cheers,
Dane

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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2009, 07:32:25 AM »

Good for you Dane Smiley
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JP
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2009, 09:58:45 AM »

I want details, did you get the queen?


...JP
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2009, 10:10:52 AM »

Thx Irwin!

I want details, did you get the queen?

I'm guessing so, but haven't verified that yet.  After seeing all the activity (many foragers going & returning) from the hive I placed, and none from the former/chimney location, I only popped the lid momentarily. They're in there alright!  cool With rain and temps in the 50°F's, I didn't want to disturb them.  I'm going to put the excluder between the entrance when I take them this morning and leave it there at least until I can confirm if it's queen-right.  Sunny & ~ 70°F forecast for this weekend.

Cheers,
Dane
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JP
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« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2009, 10:43:51 AM »

So you stuffed the cotton ball in the hole after they moved into the box? This is what I'm reading into it. If so, and they moved in on their own, you were very fortunate it went down like this. Usually there is a tussle.


...JP
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My pictures can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2009, 11:00:18 AM »

So you stuffed the cotton ball in the hole after they moved into the box? This is what I'm reading into it. If so, and they moved in on their own, you were very fortunate it went down like this. Usually there is a tussle.

Yes - they had already moved into the box when I arrived.  The residents had e-mailed me with a report of them only coming & going from the box, not the chimney any longer, and that was ~ noon.  I'm guessing they moved fairly early in the day.  When I got there (~4pm) it was same situation... I observed all the activity coming and going from the box and none from the chimney (watched for about 10 minutes), popped the top and verified a "load" of them inside the box.  I dropped the fume bomb in the chimney after taping all but one hole just to be safe.  I wouldn't want them moving back in there but also didn't want to seal it up 100% in case there were a few stragglers.  One unusual (for me) observation ~> there were several (~30) bees laying scattered in the grass nearby.. some still crawling.  I'm guessing they got chilled in the move or something? 

Easy is gooooood!  grin
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bailey
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« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2009, 09:42:59 PM »

you probably wont get that lucky again!
good job though.

they must not have had enough room to set up shop in the bricks.

did you use old brood comb in the bait hive or just lemon grass oil?

bailey
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most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2009, 11:20:29 PM »

you probably wont get that lucky again!
good job though.

they must not have had enough room to set up shop in the bricks.

did you use old brood comb in the bait hive or just lemon grass oil?

bailey


I bet you're right Bailey!  Thx. Smiley  I'm sort of puzzled what it is about the brick chimney they didn't like myself.  It seemed the perfect hive but who knows what's inside there.  Maybe it is more exposed than it would seem as well.   No bees had set up there before (& the house is ~ 20 years old) and then there were the dozens of chilled ones outside. 

100% old brood comb (8 frames), one or two with some capped honey at the perimeter, all sprayed with some 1:1 syrup w/a drop of lemongrass oil diluted within.

I'll take lucky when I can get it.  grin 

Onwards - occurred to me today that networking with arborists is likely a really good way to increase one's swarm calls.  I guess that's obvious.  I wasn't looking to do more but had one company at my place today getting an estimate for insurance claim together on a recently fell tree @ my apiary who got excited when he saw all the hives.  They encounter them fairly often and he's got one in a hollowed out elm (about 16' up) that they topped recently.  The property owner wants to try and save (as opposed to just kill) these ones prior to having the tree fully removed.   Sounds interesting.

Cheers,
Dane
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« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2009, 10:55:31 AM »

Dane, fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun.  You are coming upon unexpected experiences and journeys, what a blast, good for you.  Have that wonderfully great and awesome day, health.  Cindi
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