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Author Topic: Ironbark Cutout  (Read 1580 times)
Lone
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« on: October 18, 2009, 09:04:44 PM »

Hello,

We did a cutout to an ironbark tree last Thursday.  This is my third one.  The first absconded the next day, and the other one was dead in a couple of months.  So I am still learning!

Anyway, it was a shame to cut down such a big old ironbark tree, but this paddock is being cleared, and the bees were the reason the tree wasn't cut down earlier.  They were so quiet I didn't use smoke at first, and four young boys came to inspect and chew on some honey without getting stung.  They had built to halfway down the trunk.  Gone are their days of using crosscut saws and wedges, and the chainsaw man cut a window to exactly where the comb stopped.  Ironbark can be hard and it was quite thick, so he didn't want to cut at the fork initially, which still had bees inside.  So we smoked and smoked until the bees thought it was a bushfire and conveniently swarmed onto a fallen branch.

I have heard of bee vacs and trapouts, but does anyone ever use smoke to move the colony out?  This certainly was quick and easy, and we assume the queen was in the middle of the swarm.

I got some emergency ventrilo advice before I left, and I put two good brood slabs into a frame with rubber bands.  It was very tempting to likewise put honey in, as they had made it exactly the size of the frames.  Kathy told me it would be messy, but I also phoned my mentor who said in no uncertain terms I would regret it for the rest of my life and end up in an asylum.  So early the next morning we raided the other hives for honey and brood.  I could only find a half built empty comb so the queen could start laying straight away, so I will check on the weekend to see if it was satisfactory.  I wanted to use a nuc box, but compromised with a 10 frame as the old fellows wanted to use 2 or 3 supers straight away as they used to do in the days when they brought a colony back in a sugarbag by buggy.  I don't think this is a huge colony of bees.  It was amazing where they were, though, a mile and a half from water in all directions.  They must have set up in the wet season.  They had been there at least 3 years.

There is a good honey flow on at the moment, so they are fairly well set up.  They have guards at the entrance during the day but not at night.  I'll send some photos.

Lone
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2009, 09:32:52 PM »

good for you!  look forward to the pics. 

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my mentor who said in no uncertain terms I would regret it for the rest of my life and end up in an asylum

now that's funny!   grin
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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
Lone
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2009, 09:41:34 PM »

http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/8957/dscn1376v.jpg

http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/3519/dscn1381k.jpg

http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/7558/dscn1383g.jpg

http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/2773/dscn1384no2.jpg
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weBEE Jammin
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2009, 10:51:38 PM »

How are the girls doing? I would feed them some 2/1 sugar water for a couple weeks to help them out.
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Koala John
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2009, 06:27:11 AM »

Good job Lone and I hope the end results are great  Smiley
That's the first I've heard of forcing a colony out of a tree wit excess smoke - very interesting and thanks for sharing.

Regards,
John.
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JP
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2009, 08:46:17 AM »

I've never caused an established hive to abscond with heavy smoke, but I'm not saying it wouldn't work in certain situations, like in your experience.

Most of the hives I remove are in void spaces of buildings. I've tried heavily smoking several, but never had a mass exodus. I believe it could work if the void space is air tight.

I wonder if Ironbark and Ironwood trees are related. I have some Ironwood. Its the heaviest and hardest wood I've ever come across, but perhaps a type of African wood someone showed me years ago that was like steel.


...JP
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Lone
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2009, 11:50:00 PM »

Thanks for the replies.

Kathy, I'm sorry the photos aren't too good and I haven't worked out how to use imageshack very well - something different seems to happen every time.  This is probably a small window of opportunity, while it is still dry and there is a honey flow, to be able to borrow honey and brood from the other hives. 

WeBee, welcome to the forums and thanks for sharing your experience and ideas.  I'll do an inspection on Saturday and let you know.  I can see bees on top of the middle frames and they were bringing in pollen by the second morning.  I reckoned that we gave them honey supplies and there are flowers out so they wouldn't need extra feeding.  I got a big jar of honey from them I could feed back but I don't think they'll need it.  I've never fed syrup before and due to my fear of the unknown I'm hesitant to do so.  They stayed past the critical 24 hours so it looks like they are happy. Probably they were glad to find a new house so soon after being driven from their old one by a fake fire.

John, thanks, and we did use smoke once before with a swarm that had found a hollow mango tree and had only just gone inside.  We ripped some bark from the bottom of the tree and there was an opening to smoke.  Eventually they swarmed again onto a low bamboo branch.  How are the bees going down south?

JP, you might be right about the area having to be airtight.  I suppose you could try it before taking panels off the walls.  I would love to try a trapout some time after I do some more reading.  I did look for the queen but with an unopened section I thought she could be underneath comb there.  I don't understand much about how or how far a queen can fly in an emergency.  The swarm didn't sit far away at all.  In a spring swarm does a queen prepare somehow so she can fly a long way?
I don't think ironwood would be similar to ironbark.  Ironbark is a kind of eucalypt like most of our trees.  There are several varieties.  There is a red ironbark down south, and we have a broadleafed variety here as well as the common one I don't know the name of.  I know they do use the wood for posts and things, but maybe it tends to split.  It's certainly the worst one in a thunderstorm and they say it can explode when hit by lightning.  I think ironwood would be a harder wood.  My favourite tale about ironbark is a story by Henry Lawson, called The Ironbark Chip.  A team was working on a railroad and substituting pine wood or something instead of ironbark.  They were painting it, just to save travelling further away for the proper wood.  But the inspector came...and I won't give the plot away  Smiley  We are waiting for the ironbark buds to erupt here.  It won't be long.  Ironbark honey is popular on the shelves.

Lone
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Lone
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2009, 11:57:56 PM »

Here's the story

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Iron-Bark_Chip
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Koala John
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2009, 07:11:34 AM »

Hi Lone,
Thanks for the link, I love Henry Lawson.

Bees down here are going very well thanks, the hives in Melbourne are booming, bringing in lots of nectar. One of them got ahead of me on Sunday and swarmed, I watched as they landed in a nearby tree and when I got back two minutes later with a ladder and box they were gone  Sad  Fastest disappearing act I've ever seen!!
My bees in central Victoria are a few weeks behind and I'm hoping the Yellow Box will yield well in coming months, but I have no idea what they are going to do.
How are yours going up there?

Regards,
John.
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Lone
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2009, 12:52:51 AM »

Hello,

We checked the hive yesterday and as I imagined, there was a bit of waxmoth.  Also one of those frames of the wild brood had a bit of honey in it.  It was up against the edge to discourage the queen from laying in it, and it had gone mouldy green.  So I see Kathy and Dan were right! 

There were eggs, but I didn't see the queen.

I only have a 4 frame nuc box, so I moved them into there - 2 frames of brood, one of honey, and an empty drawn comb.  It was drawn in a honey super though.  I don't know the difference between the cells.  Could that be used for brood?

This week I hope to get some pine and make a second story for the nuc box, and work them gradually to a 10 frame size.

John, there is still a bit of a honey flow on, a slow one.  I hope we can extract before the wet.  You will have to be faster next time yours swarm!  We haven't seen drones here for a long time.  I guess that means there is no intention of swarming.  The queens are still a year old or younger, except for this new one.  I've asked the local beeks if I can go requeening with them, and then maybe I can buy a sparey for this one.  Where do you have hives in Central Vic?  My relations are all around there, and I wonder any living thing can survive the cold.  I planted 3 yellow box trees.  So perhaps in 20 years I'll get a teaspoon of liquid gold. 

I rode around NSW for a year on my bike, and for a bit of direction, I went to most places Henry Lawson wrote about or lived at, like Leeton, where he went to sober up when prohibition was in force, and Lahey's Creek, about which he wrote a series of stories and poems.  My favourite was Ilford.  He wrote a story about a house that was never finished there, because the man had gone mad in the Australian bush when his wife died.

Lone
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kathyp
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2009, 10:20:57 AM »

lone, you might want to reconsider requeening that hive you just got.  i try to save those feral queens.  they are usually more diseases and mite resistant.  if she is not to your liking you can change her later?
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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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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2009, 07:53:49 AM »

Hi Lone,
A Henry Lawson bike tour - what a sensational idea! I didn't know he had a problem with the demon drink, I must read up more about him, you've inspired me to delve a little deeper, thanks!

I have hives just outside Castlemaine in central Victoria. It is cold but you do get used to it pretty quickly, as do the bees. In fact they really seem to Winter well there. Main crop is Yellow Box which is a great honey, but there are also Red Gums, Red Box, Stringy Bark, and a little Iron Bark and Yellow Gum in places, so they generally do quite well without needing to be moved at all.
I'm not sure how old my queens are, but that's one aspect I haven't paid any attention too - I fear that no matter how many precautions I take against swarming, if I have older queens in some of the hives they will swarm regardless. Time will tell if I lose any/many more swarms, but perhaps I'll be better prepared and will re-queen next year.
Best regards, John.
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Lone
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2009, 10:35:18 AM »

Hello,

Thanks for your replies. 

Kathy, I think you are right.  They are beautiful dark gentle little bees.  I was thinking that the population is pretty low, and maybe the queen is getting past it.  But perhaps conditions are slightly better here (at least the water supply is), and she might be happier to increase the numbers.

John, there is a painting exhibition here tomorrow by Lawson's nephew.  Perhaps I can meet him and ask about his uncle.  While you are reading up, maybe you can read some of his short stories, or his poems.  I didn't see Buckolt's Gate when I was travelling, but I saw it on a map at a museum, in Gulgong I think it was.  That was a good story.  A lot of his work was based on fact. 'Arry Aspinal's Alarm Clock, something like a Dicken's tale, was his reminder of his own clock he put on a piece of metal when he was young, because he was partly deaf. The story of Giraffe and his hat is inspiring, and his perception about people was amazing - like in the story about sheltering the escapee, and the injured man with the crows circling. He preferred to write about it than live it though!  Maybe you can find the letter he wrote on a rare droving trip complaining about everything.  He might not have been as well known for his humour as was Paterson, but so much of his work was hilarious.  I think I laughed as much as the big buck rabbit he wrote about on the wrong side of the rabbit proof fence that was laughing so hard at being on that side of the fence Harry just had to pick it up and put it in the pot, which didn't stop the rabbit laughing.  The Mystery of Dave Regan was funny, too. There were a couple of places he wrote about I couldn't even find on a map at the National Library.  One was Solong.  There is a place in NSW called Molong, however.  Another was Reedy River.  Reedy River was a poem made into a song and a musical which unfortunately I haven't seen.  I met the song writer a few years back, but that is another story.

Lone
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Koala John
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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2009, 07:11:06 AM »

Thanks Lone, I've read a few of his poems a couple of days ago when I was in the bush of central Victoria amongst the bees, and found it quite inspiring! I'll probably spend some more time over the Melbourne Cup holiday (our state holiday for a horse race for all you non Australian readers!) on Tuesday reading some more. I've seen the musical version of Reedy River many years ago and really enjoyed it. Something else for me to re-visit, thanks Lone!
Best regards, John.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2009, 10:02:26 AM »

I'll have to look for that lawson guy over here, good writing.
we have a tree in our desert southwest called ironwood - doing anything with it is a little like trying to carve steel with a rubber knife.
That ironbark looks a little like a mesquite. (except mesquites are a good bit more gnarly)
good luck with the new bees.
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