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Author Topic: Help with cutout?  (Read 2004 times)
jeremy_c
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« on: July 21, 2009, 06:11:44 PM »

I got a call today about doing a cut out. There's an old barn in a stone quarry that's going to be tore down (structurally sound, just in the wrong place). A friend got permission to salvage anything he can. He came across a honey bee hive and called me. I went out today and worked on it for about 4 1/2 hours and my techniquest just were not working. The bees were very upset. I was able to recover about 1/6 of the hive in that amount of time, which just isn't going to cut it. The bees were so angry with us being there by that time, we decided to call it an evening and let them bee smiley I hope that was not a mistake as their hive is now fully exposed. The panel we removed to get to them was an inside panel, not the exterior panel, so they are not in the sun light or wind, however, they are exposed.

How do I get the bees off the comb so I can cut it out? What I did today was smoke, the bees moved, I cut real quick and then put the comb in my hive. Soon, the bees had no where to go and began haning from other comb like a swarm, so I then used the swarm method of squirting them w/sugar water, and brushing them into a bucket, which then went into the hive. This is where they started to get pretty upset. As it stands now, there are way too many bees on the comb still to smoke and have them move out of the way for me to cut.

The hive is a well established hive, I would assume. In one area, they had old, very brittle comb that they were no longer using. The active area was 4' tall by 2' wide and 7 layers deep. There was also miscellaneous comb hanging above the old comb, but it was small sections compared to the main section.

I think I have bit off more than I can chew this time but I gotta finish the job. I don't want to just leave them there now that we have done so much disruption. Further, when the barn is destroyed, they will simply be destroyed with them, which no one wants.

Any advise is greatly appriciated!!!

Jeremy
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lotsobees
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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2009, 06:37:16 PM »

Couple things Jeremy..

1) If you can get a significant amount of comb AND the queen into a hive and prop the hive up right near/against the wall next to the hive, you might (should, dare I say) coax them into the hive overnight.

2) Doubt there is time, but do a quick search of the forum about bee vacuums... they work great for this scenario.

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mherndon
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2009, 07:40:03 PM »

A homemade be vac with a generator for power if none is available at the barn.  This would have been easy with the bee vac we made for our cutout.  If your handy with wood, you could make one in an evening.  If your not, I had an idea about using two trash cans at Wal-Mart that would work.  A smaller trash can set down in a larger one.  The inside can should have a flip-top lid.  You need 1/8" screen or smaller.  Cut holes into small trash can and put screen wire with heavyduty glue to hold bees in.  I'd cut 12-14 1 and 1/2" holes in the small can around the sides.  I'd then cut one larger hole in the bottom of the small can and screen it also.  This larger screen would be pulled away later.  Now in the flip top lid, cut a hole for the vacuum tube sucking up the bees.  Use duct tape to secure flip top and also the hose.  Now to the larger can, cut two holes near the bottom, the size of your vacuum hose for a tight fit.  Use duct tape on the other hole to regulate the suction for the bees.  With a shop vac hooked up to the larger can and the smaller can duct taped inside to seal the cracks, you have a bee vac chamber to catch the bees.  Be careful to ventilate the bees during breaks, or leave the vacuum running.

Don't laugh too quick, it will work. 

Mark
 

Now with all the bees vacuumed out of your way, cut the comb and place it into one hive body or more.  To introduce the bees, cut a hole into an inner cover or plywood and set this on top of brood boxes.  Set the smaller trash can with bees over the hole and pull off the screen wire for the bees to go down in the brood chamber.  I know this sound complicated, but I know it will work.  I would build this style only because I had checked it out before building the Robo design.  The whole setup should cost less than $20 dollars.  The small can (8 gallon size) I priced was $4.50 and the larger can was $7.50.  The smaller one does just fit to the larger can at the top with plenty of room for airspace between the cans on the inside for an even draw for the vacuum.
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Robo
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2009, 08:31:18 PM »

Yes, a bee vac is the answer.

Take Mark's advice and Rube Goldberg something up in a hurry.  His idea of Walmart garbage cans is a great example.  You basically need two containers where one fits inside the other.  Have the business end of the hose connect to the inside container and the vacuum connect to the outer container.   If you plan on doing more cut-outs or swarm collections, than your gonna want to build a more functional unit, but in a pinch,  you can throw something together that will work.   Just make sure you put some type of bypass hole in the outer container so that you can adjust the suction at the business end.

good luck....

rob
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mherndon
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2009, 08:46:52 PM »

I have had some 8 gallon buckets that held pool chemicals.  This would work great with a five gallon bucket sitting in a hole in the lid of the bigger bucket.  The 5 gallon bucket would be the bee chamber is this case.  Both of these designs would also allow a bag system similar to the swarmcatcher design on the internet.  It uses a bag like a 5 gallon paint strainer bag tied to the incoming hose to catch the bees.  When one bag gets full, tie it up and put on another.  The bag system would be more difficult to get the bees out of and into the brood box unlike placing the bee chamber on top of the inner cover. 

Robo's design is still the best if you have time to make it.

Mark
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2009, 07:04:56 AM »

How do I actually get all the bees off w/a bee vac even? i.e. the comb is 7 layers deep and they are at their broadest side facing me. So, I can only get to 1 side of the comb w/the bee vac. The back side of the comb is inaccessible until I cut it out. Which will then expose a new layer of comb.

Jeremy
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wildbeekeeper
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2009, 09:09:12 AM »

vaccuum off the bess from the face of the comb as it is facing you....once the face is clear, you can cut off as big as a portion as you want...I usually cut the comb and lay it along my arm with the back side facing up...it is usually covered in bees.... which I then vaccuum off.  the comb goes in the frame and in the box...then I vaccuum off the bees from the face of the next comb, cut it off, lay it along my arm and vaccuum the bees off the back, so on and so forth.  definately need a bee vac for those big colonies.  it takes the numbers out of the air and confines them and makes the colony easier to work with as you move along.  good luck!
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sean
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2009, 10:33:04 AM »

You can try smoking them, cutting out the comb while still smoking them then close off the area. place a hive body right next to the closed off entrance(or as close to) preferably with some drawn out frames. Leave there for a day or two
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2009, 10:59:23 AM »

Oh, one more thing. With the bee vac, do I just use the end of the hose, the brush attachment, the crack cleaner attachment or does it matter?

Jeremy
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mherndon
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2009, 05:01:38 PM »

The crevice tool unless you have a car floor tool. (2 to 3 inches wide)  That is the one I liked the best, but the crevice tool should work also.

Mark
 
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2009, 08:00:06 PM »

Whew, is a cut out worth it? I built a Bee Vac yesterday evening and put it to use today. Due to work, I couldn't start until 2pm, but we went till 7pm and we're still not done! This is day 2, granted day 1 was probably a huge waste due to my techniques (and not having a bee vac). Anyway, I have 8 frames of capped brood, 4 frames of honey and we have 2 5 gallon buckets smashed full of comb w/honey that we are going to later harvest w/the smash and strain method.

We are through 3 of the 7 brood comb "wall hangings". So, 4 more to go. But it seems that with each comb we do, the quicker the next go as it seems there are fewer and fewer bees in the hive, thus less time bee vac'ing.

Over all, if all of them are like this, I'd really have to think if I would tell another person that I'd do a cut out. What do you think? How long does it normally take? Am I just ultra slow? I have been being careful, maybe that's my problem, I just need to realize I'm going to kill some bees, I'm going to mess up some usable comb. Dunno.

Jeremy
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Coge
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2009, 08:43:57 PM »

Jeremy,
I have worked with bees most of my life. My Dad got me started when I was just a kid at home. The only thing I haven't tried is a trapout, but I may try one soon. I have a barrel full of bees in the woods covered with brush. The last cutout that I did was in an old barn. I had two hives full of honeycomb, broodcomb and bees. Less than a week later all the bees were dead because of hive beetles. That was my first experience with shb. I will not let that loss cause me to quit. I don't do this because I need the bees or the experience, but because I enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it then the best thing would be to not do any more cutouts. But if you enjoy it then don't quit.
Coge
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mherndon
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2009, 09:59:02 PM »

I've only done 2 cutouts.  Both took about 3 hours of actual doing the cutout.  Getting everything ready adds more time.  The first cutout was without the bee vac.  The second was with.  Lost a lot of bees on the first one, but with the bee vac, it was amazing at how the hive went back to normal.  All they had to do was clean up the honey from the cut comb.  I won't do another without a bee vac.  Also, the bee vac method, we were able to take the bees home that day.  Without it we left the box overnight to recover some of the stragglers.  More expense in making two trips.

I can't imagine a colony being as big as you describe.  Did your bee vac work alright?  What did you put together?

Mark
 
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2009, 03:33:01 AM »

I'm taking my measuring tape with me tomorrow to measure it's dimensions exactly, just for my own records. I'll report back. I am notorious for bad estimates on sizes, but I don't think I'm too far off on this one. On the right, lower side of the hive, there was 6 combs deep of 2' wide by 3' that was very old an abandoned. Some of it almost would crush into little hard pieces.

I built something very quickly smiley I'm no wood worker, so I went to the lumber yard, purchased 1 1x8 and made an outside box the same dimensions as a standard 10 frame hive. Then I cut a piece of it that fit inside the box. In this piece I cut out 1/2" from the top, 4" tall, and 2" from each end a square hole. I put screen over that. I then put this piece inside the box I made on the right side of the box, dividing the box into 1/4 section, then the other side was 3/4. I then put a piece of plywood on top. Drilled 2 holes in the top over the section that was only 1/4 the real box. There, I could insert the sucking end of the shop vac. The other hole was to control the airflow. Then I put some weather seal foam tape on the bottom of it and cut another piece of plywood to match the bottom. Oh, at the top of the 3/4 wide side, I put another hole where I hook the hose to actually suck the bees through. The box sits ontop of the hive I am putting the bees into. When I think I have enough bees in the bee vac, I slide the bottom out, give it a couple raps on the top, then put the bottom back in and start the process over.

Jeremy
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2009, 08:25:08 AM »

cut outs are only worth it when you are getting payed to do it. While you are getting good experience and learning from this one there is just no such thing as free bees. If you are doing it to get the bees I would suggest buying nucs or packages. much easier with a lot less work. When I do a cut out I use very little smoke if any at all and spend most my time vacuuming bees on average I am not there more than 3 to 4 hours from start to finish
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2009, 07:09:45 PM »

The hive was 2' wide by 3' 3" tall. It was 5 combs deep. The bottom had some weird swirls that made me count 7 initially. I got all the bees into my hive w/the bee vac, but about 1/2 hour later (while cleaning things up) there was a bunch of other bees congregating where the comb use to be in the wall. I left the hive there and will pick it up tomorrow.

If there are still bees on the wall, do you think I should leave the hive there for a few days or something else?

Jeremy
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mherndon
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« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2009, 09:08:48 PM »

If you still have the vacuum set up, there should be a cluster that could easily be collected.  After that, I'd be out of there.

Mark
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2009, 09:12:37 AM »

Just to complete this thread... The bees are in my apiary as of about 30 minutes ago. They are coming and going from the hive exploring. Will I do it again? I'll wait and see how this hive goes smiley I was able to get 14 frames of brood and 2 frames of honey. The person who was doing the salvaging purchases honey by the gallon. He is not a bee keeper but uses quite a bit of honey. He took home 2 5 gallon buckets full to the brim of honey comb. I am unsure of how much honey he will get from that. We did mash it down into the bucket a little, but didn't do any serious mashing to get it in there.

I was unable to spot the queen. There were plenty of larva and brood. I did not take the time looking for eggs. I am a bit concerned because there seems to be a lot of drone bees! I hope I didn't pickup a hive that is queenless with a laying worker. There were quite a bit of worker brood and also quite a bit of drone brood. I did look for the queen as I was vaccuming, but I did not slow down the pace any looking for her because of time. I guess I'll know in a few weeks if there is a queen or not. Any suggestions on when to look? I don't want to disturbe them too soon, but I don't want to let this huge hive go for too long w/o a queen.

Jeremy
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« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2009, 09:19:53 AM »

Congratulations on a job well done!! You certainly are diving into beekeeping headfirst, hey? What an incredible experience!
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lotsobees
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« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2009, 10:11:05 AM »

Way to stick with it and finish the job, Jeremy!
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