Finally got to the big crawl space colony in the 110 year old house last Saturday. Well’s, the 85 year old homeowner, said he recollected the bees had been living under the floor below his easy chair for at least 5 years. What a day, getting to these bees and getting them out kicked my butt. Like a dummy :-P I took this job on without realising how hard it would turn out to be.
To start with the crawl space that I had to crawl into was only 3’ high with an air heater duct running thru it in the middle to get under. It was about 15’ back to the hive, dragging all my boxes, bee-vac , buckets, tarp and gear. Took me 5 trips to get everything back in there and set up lights to work. To complicate things somebody :evil: had a very long drinking problem that they were hiding from their wife and had pitched several hundred glass pint flasks back into the dark crawl space so I was crawling on by belly over bottles, rocks, and tons of broken glass each way. I wore my wife’s full length white bee coveralls over jeans and a thick shirt, with those leather cow hide bee gloves that come up past your elbows for protection from the glass.
Because the job was inside a house with no smoke, I used my robo bee-vacuum the whole way, vacuuming off all the bees from each piece of comb before rubber banding them up in the frames.
I would cut each piece of comb down 5” at a time to fit the frames, vacuum the bees off, and then rubber-band the comb in place, and drop it in a box and then repeat the process. I tried hard to put the hive structure back together just like it was inside the boxes.
Great queen, ended up with 3 medium boxes of brood, capped honey and pollen, 2 ½ – 5 gallon buckets of old capped honey comb pieces I will feed back to the bees, and 2 - 5 gallon buckets of nice light freshly capped honey comb for us to harvest. :)
Oh, and one thing I learned the hard way about, if you ever have to do a cutout sitting Indian style underneath a colony make sure to duct-tape your pants to your boots, took about 10 stings to the ankles and calves because the coveralls I was wearing kept creeping up above my boots. :'(
Should of had better pictures for you all, next year I'll learn how to video.