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Author Topic: Transferring comb of a captured colony  (Read 1590 times)
Inglebee
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« on: December 15, 2010, 02:13:58 AM »

I am new to beekeeping and have been waiting for a nuc colony which keeps getting delayed. (sigh)

Some friends of mine have a swarm that moved in a few weeks ago that I am thinking about capturing and hiving them in my still empty hive.

I have watched a swarm being caught and hived before but was wondering what the differences will be with a colony that has been settled for a few weeks.  The way I saw it done was to catch them in a box, wait till dark to collect, seal and move the box in the car then hive them the next morning by placing them in front of the hive with a sheet leading to the entrance.

My plan is to cut the comb away from where it is on the side of their shed, place it in a box below and then follow the same procedure, but I am wondering what to do about the existing comb.

Is there a different mehtod I should use to hive them (i.e. place them on top)?

How important is it to try and put some of the captured comb in the new hive?

What is the best way to put the comb in the new hive without creating a disorganised mess in there?

The swarm was sprayed with sugar syrup last time but this is a bit different, so should I need sugar syrup or just stick with the smoker?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Cheers
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hardwood
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2010, 06:26:19 AM »

Hello and welcome! First off, where in this great world are you located? It's not the right time of year (northern hemisphere) to preform a cut out as colder temps will chill the brood.

Take some time to watch the bee removal videos in the "honeybee removal" forum to get an idea how most of us go about it and then post any questions you may have. We're all here to help.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

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hardwood
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2010, 06:28:22 AM »

I just noticed that you posted in the Aussie forum...maybe if you put your location on your profile we won't have to ask?

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
Burnsy
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2010, 06:41:45 AM »

Should not be that much comb if they have only been there a few weeks.  Tie their combs into a foundationless frame (elastic bands seem popular to do this but my bees here seem to chew through them before they attach the comb so I would use twine on a bailing needle and stitch it to the frame or wire).  As you pull the combs down find the queen and put her in a clip cage.  Put her in a new hive with the frames of comb and other empty frames.  Wait for the rest of the bees to join her, take your new hive and colony home, sounds easy doesn't it tongue
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Inglebee
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2010, 09:20:27 PM »

Profile updated with my location. Perfect weather here at the moment, low 20s (Centigrade of course).

Thanks for the tip on how to tie in the comb (have plenty of bailing twine) and I will take a look at the videos tonight for more info.

I will grab one of those clip cages too, I was wondering what the liklihood of crushing the queen might be and knowing my luck I would be about a 1 in 1 chance.  Wink

Cheers
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2010, 10:06:20 AM »


I will grab one of those clip cages too, I was wondering what the liklihood of crushing the queen might be and knowing my luck I would be about a 1 in 1 chance.  Wink

Cheers

Practice on drones first. They are more plentiful than your queens  grin
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2010, 05:28:41 PM »


I will grab one of those clip cages too, I was wondering what the liklihood of crushing the queen might be and knowing my luck I would be about a 1 in 1 chance.  Wink

Cheers

In my experience my first question would be what is the likelihood of actually finding the Queen... i've done a few comb removals - some large, some small, and only once have i ever actually found the queen and that's because i stumbled across her walking around on a leaf! what will complicate the matter even more is if you're eyes aren't accustomed to spotting a queen. You might spend more time looking for her (running the risk of her dropping off, or you dropping the comb) than you otherwise need to...

My suggestion would be this:

- Cut the comb one leaf at a time - carefully!
- Carry it in it's original orientation
- Put the box that you will be putting the frames in to close to the location you will be cutting the comb
- when tying the comb in to the frames work over the box - if she falls off she will fall, hopefully, in to the box
- after you have tied all the comb in to the frames and gotten the majority of the bees in to the box set the box as close to the location of the comb as possible and then watch!

What you will be looking for is bees in the box sitting at the entrance or at a lid opening and pointing their abdomens out and fanning - you should, over time, see the bees start orienting to the box rather than where the comb was. I find giving the original comb location a good smoking gets any bees stuck there mobile - once you see that then you know your queen is in the box - if you see the bees start to orient to another location then the likelihood is that the queen is there. IN a few days check to make sure you have eggs - don't be hell bent on finding the queen though - leave that for later

just my 2c worth
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2010, 05:31:37 PM »


I will grab one of those clip cages too, I was wondering what the liklihood of crushing the queen might be and knowing my luck I would be about a 1 in 1 chance.  Wink

Cheers

Practice on drones first. They are more plentiful than your queens  grin

Handling the Queen with the right amount of force is daunting! i am still not confident doing it and would feel more comfortable doing it gloveless! I prefer not to handle the queen if i can help it and would only do so when absolutely necessary (like caging a queen for an introduction or putting her in the mail)
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hardwood
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2010, 06:03:31 PM »

When you get towards the end of the cut out if you haven't set eyes on the queen leave one comb hanging. If the bees start to cluster around that piece of comb there's a good chance the queen is on it some where. Look very carefully at both sides of every comb you remove. She can usually be found on the brood comb but if she's nervous she could run anywhere. The key is to watch everything closely and watch what the bees are doing.

With your spring weather it can be surprising how fast they can build comb. I've done them where after only a week (or so I was told) they had 6-7 fully built combs and 3-4 of those were brood so take both a nuc and a full ten frame box to make sure you're covered.

Good luck with it, keep us posted.
Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
JP
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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2010, 06:49:39 PM »

The deal with the hair clip queen catcher is to allow her to walk in and go towards the back of the catcher. This only takes a second in actuality but once she is in and clear of the catch end, close the thing. This will ensure that you don't pinch her.

Don't obsess over finding the queen during the cut out.

Take your time, don't smoosh more bees than necessary and secure mostly brood comb sections. You can have some capped honey along the edges of some of those brood sections within your frames, just don't put entire honey comb sections between frames.

Keep your cuts clean, your new set up clean. You don't want honey dripping, this will attract ants.

Work from the outside in when removing those comb sections, leaving a section or two in the center, as mentioned, if in fact you still have not caught the queen.

You can even take a break at this point, may even need to, to allow the queen to settle onto/in between one of the remaining sections.

If you still do not see her and feel she is in a spot you can't physically get to, by all means give her time to come out, if you can afford the time.

She will in most all cases come out and the bees will also in most cases try to rebuild right where the hive was before you removed all those comb sections.

There are other options and scenarios depending on the situation at hand.

Stick with it and you will persevere.


...JP


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hardwood
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2010, 08:11:03 PM »

Love that line JP..."We all must endeavor to persevere."

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2010, 07:58:21 AM »

Heres the link to the removal forum:
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/board,77.0.html
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2010, 09:24:42 PM »

Should not be that much comb if they have only been there a few weeks.  Tie their combs into a foundationless frame (elastic bands seem popular to do this but my bees here seem to chew through them before they attach the comb so I would use twine on a bailing needle and stitch it to the frame or wire).  As you pull the combs down find the queen and put her in a clip cage.  Put her in a new hive with the frames of comb and other empty frames.  Wait for the rest of the bees to join her, take your new hive and colony home, sounds easy doesn't it tongue

I did a cutout on the weekend that had been there for four weeks! they have filled a 1m3 compost bin with 15 leaves of comb!
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