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Author Topic: Preparing to capture first wild hive!!!  (Read 2418 times)
bassman1977
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« on: July 03, 2005, 06:25:11 PM »

My wife's cousin has a wild colony in a tree in his yard that he is allowing me to take for myself.  I was wondering if anyone can give me tips especially in there area of tying brood to frames and all that.  Doesn't the brood and eggs have to be positioned in the frame a certain way?Specifics will be extreamly helpful.  I haven't seen the colony yet and since I need to purchase a few things before hand, it probably won't be until next week when I do the harvest.  Also, I was hoping to start them off on the right foot with small cell foundation.  Another thing to keep in mind is that I don't have a bee-vac.  I appreciate it.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2005, 08:15:44 PM »

Is this a hollow tree or are they in the brances?
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bassman1977
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2005, 09:33:34 PM »

This is an established hive in a hollow tree.  I guess he found it a couple months ago.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2005, 09:42:02 PM »

So I guess you are planning on cutting the tree up a little.

If you get any brood nad manage to get the queen at the same time, you're doing great. Cut the brood so it fits in a frame. Keep it right side up if you can. It can be held in with rubber bands. Believe me that is the easy way to go.

Get the rest of the comb out of the tree, and then just leave the new hive close to the old hive. They should all find the new home by night fall. Sometimes they don't. I figure the times they don't I might have not got the queen (dead or Alive) away from the old hive.

There is away to use a screen cone to capture the bees. It takes awhile to do this method. I don't know much about it. Perhaps someone will explain it.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2005, 10:14:49 PM »

This sounds like it will be fun.  How about small cell foundation, will it be tough to get them onto that or just stay with the regular stuff for now?
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« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2005, 10:39:47 PM »

What would be tough about it?  I don't give mine a choice.  

Did you, or are you going to coddle your children, wondering if your being too tough on them?  Would you give them everything they wanted and make them work for nothing only to boot them out on their own one day to fend for themselves against this cruel world we live in?

I treat my hives like I do my children, I make them work for a specific goal in mind, and I give them the resources they need to have the best fighting chance to take care of themselves.  They can fight the mites on their own, and don't need me to fight their battles for them.  Periodically they need my assistance, and I am there for them when they need me, but for the most part by raising their brood in a shorter time frame, they are winning the war on varroa.

If you want to make it easier on your bees, give them frames of starter strips, with a frame of small cell foundation in the middle of the box.  They are used to drawing natural comb already, let them continue.  Take measurements of the cells once they have drawn out the foundation, to see whether or not they are of natural size or not.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2005, 10:59:40 PM »

All the ones I have gotten are small cell. How long have they been in the tree? I bet you will find they are smaller bees. If not 4.9 then probably 5.1
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bassman1977
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« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2005, 11:26:38 PM »

Definately good points.  I have been wanting to do either starter strips or small cell.  Guess this is a good time to start.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2005, 11:37:19 PM »

I tend to tie them into frames and leave them.  Pay attention to which side is up when you cut it out.  If they've been wild a while they are probably already small bees and will probably do fine on 4.9mm foundation or starter strips etc.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2005, 08:58:20 PM »

I had a look at the hive this afternoon.  They sure are an active bunch.  Must be a pretty huge hive.  The tree is enormous both in girth and height.  I got a little history on the hole they are living in.  Apparently there have been bees living in that hole years ago and it has also served as a home for chipmunks and squirrels.  I don't think it's going to be feasible to take that hive just yet.  I don't really want to start hacking into that tree.  When I was first told about this hive I was under the impression that they were inhabiting a dead tree or one that was a little smaller.

The other day I was checking out Dadant's website and they have a magic potion called swarm catch.  http://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=26_53&products_id=329&osCsid=5002e2ef1f31be1d488e4119994e61f3.  I don't think it will work unless there's a hive about to swarm but I think I will try to use that if we notice they are getting ready to buzz off.  Eventually these ladies are going to want to leave their current home and what better of a place for them to land than in my bee box?  I just wish their were some alternatives to catching that hive without tearing that tree apart.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2005, 09:12:25 PM »

There is a drumming method. You make a cone out of screen. Attatch it around the bee entrance of the tree and the other end only has a 3/8 inch opening. This you place into the hive body you want the bees to go into. You then drum rapidly on the tree and in about ten minutes all the bees are suppose to come out of the tree into the new hive. I have not tried this. This is only hear/say. You ofcourse don't get the brood this way. Later you can let the bees rob out the old nest so they at least have the honey.

Another slower way is you put the screen as mentioned and the workers leave to forage. Then they can't get back into the old home. With this I think you might want some brood in the new home for them to take over. I believe that after awhile, long while, even the queen comes out to see where everybody went. With this method I think you even get the brood as it emerges. Then later let the bees rob out the tree, if there is anything left.

Might do a search for "Drumming Bees"
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2005, 09:29:10 AM »

bassman1977;

Here is a copy of a post about how I treated a simular situation.  This worked well for me but it takes a while.  It depends on how far up in the tree the hole is.  You have to decide how practicle it is in your situation.

Use as it fits.

Fuzzybeekeeper



About 20 years ago I had a simular situation with a hive in an old house. I didn't want to tear up the wall so I plugged all the holes the bees were coming out of except the main one and then put about an 8 inch cone of screen wire with a hole at the outer end just big enough for a single bee to leave over the entrance. The bees will leave out the end of the cone but will be unable to find the opening to go back in because they fly straight to the hole and are blocked by the wire.

I then used a rope to pull an existing two deep hive under the ladder until it was as high as possible and the entrance was as close to the screen as possilbe. What happens is that when the forager bees from the house return, they can't get back into their old home. Since they are carrying pollen, they are accepted in the hive I put near their entrance. After a couple of months (this isn't a fast process) all the bees have hatched and left as foragers and with no worker bees to feed the queen, she dies. I don't know how long this takes, exactly. Perhaps someone with a little more knowledge could work out the timetable for this.

I then removed the screen and now the bees in my hive went back in and robbed all the stored honey out of the wall.

Up side of this: When I released the ropes holding my hive up under the ladder, I was almost pulled up and almost met the beehive on the way down like the story of the guy with the bricks posted on this forum about a month ago. I had no idea the hive could be that full of honey.

The down side: You still need to open up the wall and remove the wax because in the summer with no bees to ventilate the wall the wax will melt and run down the walls and into the house. It will also begin to stink as the wax moths get to it. However, you can now do it at your leisure without bees to object.

You don't really get an extra hive this way, but you can sure build up a small hive or a newly installed nuc.

Just an idea.

Fuzzy


Here is the site for the entire conversation:

http://www.beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=2498&highlight=
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bassman1977
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2005, 03:45:11 PM »

That's incredible.  That might actually work.  I'll think on that and see if it's worth my effort.  I'll keep everyone posted on the results if I go forward.  Thanks for all the input.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2005, 04:13:47 PM »

Going back to the small cell foundation for a minute...when going about the change from the large cell to the small cell, is it ok to just take out any unused frames and replace with the small cell then replace everything else when the time comes?  This is probably going back to the "make your bees work with the tools they have", but I just want to be sure.  My guess is that it's ok and that I can change over little by little until everything is completed.  Thanks!  grin
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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2005, 11:26:26 PM »

No, it's not that easy.  The brood nest typically has a structure and order to it, there is a method to their madness.  Typically the center of the broodnest consists of the smallest cells, with the cells graduating in size as the frames reach towards the outer edges of the box.  It is imperative to feed the smallest cells into the center to maintain this structure.  Don't just interchange the unused frames and throw them all back in like a shuffled deck of cards.

Here is an excerpt I wrote in response to another keepers questions regarding feeding in foundationless frames to encourage them to downsize those cells.

Here is the top view of a 10 frame box, of the first stage in regressing your bees.

[Drawn Foundation]
-[Foundationless]-
[Drawn Foundation]
-[Foundationless]-
[Drawn Foundation]
[Drawn Foundation]
-[Foundationless]-
[Drawn Foundation]
-[Foundationless]-
[Drawn Foundation]

Position the frames containing the smallest and most uniform cells in the middle, make sure frames containing a large amount of honey and drone comb are on the outside of the box. If there are full frames of honey, put them in the top super to bait them up.

After those foundationless frames are drawn, take the largest cells, whether it be the frames that are on the outside now, or two of the foundationless frames just drawn, and put them on the outside of one of the top boxes. Spread the gap in the middle of the box, it will now look like this, if you only took the two out side frames.

-[Foundationless]-
[Drawn Foundation]
-[Foundationless]-
[Drawn Foundation]


[Drawn Foundation]
-[Foundationless]-
[Drawn Foundation]
-[Foundationless]-

Analyze the cells to determine which are the smallest, and whether or not the cells are smaller than the drawn comb in the center of the brood nest. If they are smaller, they get positioned in the middle. If not, push the two previously drawn frames back to the middle and insert another foundationless frame on either side of these. Determine whether or not you have two more frames that need to be moved out in order to make room for smaller cells.

When inserting foundationless frames it is critical to make sure this frame is flanked with nice uniform comb and not wavy frames. And make sure the end bars are tight against each other to achieve the most straight and uniform foundationless comb.

As you are going to be acquiring smaller cells, you may want to modify your end bars as Michael Bush has suggested. The cell depth is directly proportional to the diameter, when it comes to rearing brood, so as we get frames of smaller cell comb drawn, the center to center frame distance will no longer need to be 1-3/8". Michael has suggested shaving 1/16" off each side of the end bar which will give you an end result of 1-1/4" center to center spacing of your frames. If 10 frames are modified in this manner you now have enough room to fit 11 frames in a ten frame box. And with this method you can now insert a foundationless frame into the exact center of the brood nest in the above examples. This method has worked very well and seems to help encourage the drawing of smaller cells.

Whatever you do, I would not suggest condensing the foundationed frames in the middle of the brood nest if you are trying to regress your bees. This will defeat the purpose, as the colony seems to graduate the size of cells from smallest to largest, starting in the center of the brood nest.
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