Some folks called and requested help with honey bees in a downed tree. A storm smashed this large oak to the ground and it contained a bee hive.
The trunk was cracked from top to bottom and no longer weather tight. I made a cut or two with my chainsaw, and the whole thing came apart. There was very little comb, only about three or four frames worth. I was able to get a little more than half of the bees into the hive.
After several hours of messing about, I decided to let the rest of the bees migrate into the box on their own. I had spent a lot of careful time trying to locate the queen. I never did, for sure. My buddy found a ball of bees on a dead queen. She had been dead awhile, I assume, because her body was nearly dried up. She had a couple of holes as if she was decomposing. There were at least 10 capped queen cells. I am not sure if the queen was killed a week ago when the tree fell, or what.
Anyway, the bees that made it into the hive were fanning at the entrance. Not fervently, but pretty impressively. They were facing into the box. I watched for a bit, and it seemed that more bees were picking up the fanning. There were still many bees, that had been in the air, that landed back on the tree trunk. I decided to set the box right on the location that originally held the hive.
I called the folks (65 mi round trip drive) to see if they could see if there were still bees on the tree. They said that the bees were going in and out of the hive, but there were still many bees on the tree.
Will they, given enough time, go into the hive with the brood etc? I am sure there are many things I will do differently next time, but for now I hope they go in a day or two.
Thanks for any thoughts