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Author Topic: help me remove bees from a downed tree  (Read 3317 times)
beefree
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« on: July 09, 2005, 10:38:16 PM »

A friend of a friend called today to say they had an 80 ft tree fall that had a hive in the fallen portion (it broke about 15 feet above ground) and would i want it?  Of course i want it.  Any of you who have done this kind of thing before, please tell me what worked for you, didn't work, wish you could have tried, etc.  So far the plan is for me to take a deep with frames and rubberbands for any comb i can get, a deep with foundation just in case it's that big, a bucket with lid for comb that i can't rubberband to a frame, and straps, newspaper and duct tape to seal all this up before putting it in the van with me.  And a chainsaw, and a handsaw (and hopefully i won't need them, since the hive is partly supposedly exposed where the tree broke off.  Also my handy dandy knife to cut comb with.  I have swarm capture pheromone, would it be at all helpful to put it in the deeps?    Please answer quickly as i will have to do this tomorrow or Monday.  Thanks.

Beefree
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stilllearning
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2005, 11:14:51 PM »

Quote from: beefree
A friend of a friend called today to say they had an 80 ft tree fall that had a hive in the fallen portion (it broke about 15 feet above ground) and would i want it?  Of course i want it.  Any of you who have done this kind of thing before, please tell me what worked for you, didn't work, wish you could have tried, etc.  So far the plan is for me to take a deep with frames and rubberbands for any comb i can get, a deep with foundation just in case it's that big, a bucket with lid for comb that i can't rubberband to a frame, and straps, newspaper and duct tape to seal all this up before putting it in the van with me.  And a chainsaw, and a handsaw (and hopefully i won't need them, since the hive is partly supposedly exposed where the tree broke off.  Also my handy dandy knife to cut comb with.  I have swarm capture pheromone, would it be at all helpful to put it in the deeps?    Please answer quickly as i will have to do this tomorrow or Monday.  Thanks.

Beefree


Sounds like you have a good idea on how to start.
Be prepared to get stung. I would take an axe, not too sure how
they will react to the chain saw it might work better the axe can split the
log which sounds like it is probably hollow. Smoke them and keep the
smoker handy. I dont know about the pheromone as I have never used
it. The more of the hive you can expose the easier it will be for you
sticking you arm up into a hollow tree is tempting faith. This is one of those situations where what you see is what you get.Good luck and keep us posted.
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Wayne Cole
Jerrymac
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2005, 01:13:07 AM »

I have used power saws and other things on walls and didn't get much reaction, but one little knock with a hammer really sets them off. Probably would be the same with an ax. I would use chain saw.

I have some bees in a hollow log and another colony in a hollow tree I plan on removing this next spring. I plan on chain sawing as close to the hive as possible. Then carefully use the chain saw the length of the log, just cutting in shallowly until I find the right depth so as not to cut into all the wax. Probably still gonna be messy.

Another thought is to cut the log as close as you can to the hive, then sit it up with a hive body on top. Place a bee escape between the log and hive body so the bees don't get back into the log. In addition to this you might try drumming on the log after setting up the hive body and bee escape. Steady light drumming is suppose to drive ALL of them out of the log in about ten minutes. I have never tried this.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2005, 01:04:22 PM »

This was told to me from an experienced hive catcher just yesterday.

From what it sounds one side of the hive is already exposed.

Use a chain saw and start taking small sections out.  Once you get a little bit of the other end of the hive exposed, slice through the center of the log (longways) and split the log open.  Don't take the saw in too deep.  Just enough to get the log split open.

You're going to want to make sure you know which way the comb is so when you do crack the log open, the comb doesn't break loose and fall on the queen.  That will have a high probablility of killing her.  

He told me to just throw all the comb (brood and all) into a bucket and let them rob it once they get to their new home since you might lose the brood anyway.  Personnally if you can save some, that's a bonus.  Be prepared for robbing and possible bee wars if you have other hives nearby that can get to the extracted comb.  

Have fun!
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latebee
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2005, 02:24:10 PM »

I have done tree removals a few times.Don't forget your smoker,it really helps. A chainsaw works fine,just be careful because you will be making shallow cuts with the tip of the bar to rip the log lengthwise. Cut it in manageable lengths and then rip two cuts opposite of each other. Sometimes the comb cuts out nicely,other times it is a mess.Go slow,and carefully. If you plan on doing this more than once a bee vac would be a good thing to build for future removals. Just make one from the plans here on the beemaster forum. When using a bee vac--make SURE the vacuum is adjusted low enough to GENTLY suck the bees in. When doing this the bees should almost be able to resist the vacum,if it is too powerful,you are gonna have a whole bunch of dead in the box. It will surely kill them. I would also take a plastic tarp to place on the ground under the spot you will working in. A piece of screen on the entrance of the deep for transport is handy too. I have tried drumming and it has never worked for me,it only seemed to get the bees angrier.
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JP
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2005, 05:11:17 PM »

Beefree,
Let me make a few suggestions. Try & locate & catch the queen. Bring a queen catcher with you. I'm told 50% of the time you don't get her (I didn't find the queen in my large hive I removed recently) I made some mistakes, that I will learn from. Try & secure ten frames of brood comb in that deep, that's right all ten frames. If you use a beevac, try & limit as much as you can the amount of time they are in the inner box. They go hungry quickly without food, spray them with sugar water or add honey over the screen surface if you have screen sides. Bring lots of clean buckets with lids, 5 five gallon buckets is not too many for a large hive. Wear your bee suit! Use your smoker, sparingly, & good luck!!
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2005, 05:23:27 PM »

also, you don't need the swarm capture pheremone if you get the queen. Will you be able to leave that deep for a day or two to get most of the returning bees? If so, I would go back the second night to remove the deep, assuming you can leave this deep next to the tree for a few days. Also be careful with lighting if you use any, If so go with a small wattage bulb, not more than 150 watts, not too close to the hive. The heat from halogen lights will sometimes make them go into sting mode, trust me, I know. JP
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beefree
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2005, 09:09:02 PM »

Well, i finally got a close look at the tree/hive this evening.  This surely looks a lot easier than i thought from the description of it over the phone.  For starters, the tree literally broke off right at the bottom of the hive, thus avoiding the whole 15 foot ladder issue.  Second, it is apparently a rather new hive, because all the comb i can see (about the size and shape of a football) is white.  And the number of bees visible at 5:30 this evening would easily fit into one deep.  And last, but definitely not least, they didn't react to my investigations.  So perhaps this is a good hive for a first-timer.  I hope.  Assuming Dennis doesn't rain on them before I can get to them again.  Or some nosy raccoon, or the bear that's been hanging out at the mall.  Wish me luck!
Beefree
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latebee
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2005, 12:08:54 AM »

Good-- Beefree said<it is mostly white wax>from my experience be extra gentle when handling the white wax as it breaks apart very easily.There  is probably some darker wax in further that you cannot see.Sounds as if your first  feral extraction will be fairly easy. Have a ball!!!
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Phoenix
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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2005, 12:59:17 AM »

If it's possible, just take the whole trunk with you and temporarily have a natural hive in your backyard.  You can cut flat across the bottom, where the tree broke off, and nail on a sheet of plywood to close it off.  Then figure out how far up the tree the cavity extends, and cut above the top of the cavity, block the entrance hole the bees get in and out, and away you go.

When you get it home stand it upside down, cut a hole in the sheet of plywood, set a hive body on top without a bottom board of course, provide a top entrance and exit so the bees have to travel through the hive body to get out.  Pretty soon they will have moved up into the hive body and will eventually leave the tree completely.
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SignQueen
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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2005, 10:33:41 AM »

What a great answer from Phoenix! Thats the kind of answer a new beekeeper loves to hear.  

When my father was a child (60 years ago) they kept their bees in tree trunks. I would love to keep one now, if only to show my 30 or so nieces and nephews, grandson and all the neighbors who have taken so much interest in my new hobby.

This forum has helped me so much, I rarely ask questions because they are already being answered.
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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2005, 10:48:43 AM »

SignQueen

check out the picture at the top of this page

http://www2.gsu.edu/~biojdsx/obshiv.htm

Dave
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2005, 10:48:50 AM »

Making a "gum" is the simplest.  If you do a cut out, put all the honey into a bucket.  You can harvest it if you like.  Put all the empty comb in another bucket to salvage the wax.  Tie all the brood into combs.  It's well worth putting the brood in the combs.  It will attract all the stragglers to the new box and it will give them the means to make a queen if you don't get the old one.
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Michael Bush
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2005, 10:54:07 AM »

Quote from: Michael Bush
Tie all the brood into combs.  It's well worth putting the brood in the combs.


Michael? Are you awake yet? Don't you mean frames?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2005, 11:39:04 AM »

I guess I'm not.  Yes, tie it into FRAMES.  Smiley
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Michael Bush
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SignQueen
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« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2005, 01:49:57 PM »

ms132872

Thanks, I love it.

I wonder if my husband would go for one of those in the log home we are building next year, it would fit right in with the decor. We have logs everywhere from clearing the land. I could put the exterior PVC tube in a window frame, the tube towards the sunlight, feeder tube inside. I am going to show it to him, I'll let you know what happens
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beefree
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« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2005, 09:56:06 PM »

just wanted to thank everyone for their advice, and to let you all know what we finally did...

the hive was a little longer than expected (aren't they always?).  There were five very long (3-4 feet by 5 inches or so) combs.  I was amazed at how straight and well spaced they were...better than what the bees in some of my box hives with foundation make!  They were all very new (white or pale yellow).  Four of the five were solid capped brood, the fifth was half brood and half honey (unfortunately, the honey side got chainsawed, so we didn't get much of that).  Best-hubby-ever came with me to help, which was wonderful, cause we needed to chainsaw (can i use that as a verb?) in order to get to the comb that i couldn't reach from the bottom/open end.   The bees didn't react at all to the chainsaw, or to my ripping the hive open with my hands and handy-dandy pocket knife (the tree was so rotten, it was spongy in places).  

 We rubberbanded all the brood into empty deep frames and slapped those into a nuc, stuck the comb honey into a bucket, picked up clumps of bees by (gloved) hands and by knocking them onto newspaper and dumping them into the nuc (they were surprisingly easygoing about the whole operation).  Looked very hard for the queen, but never saw her.  Did find a small amount of eggs, so i know she was there when we started...there really wasn't ROOM for much in the way of eggs because of all the capped brood, i have never SEEN so MUCH of it in one place in my life.  I think we got her into the nuc, tho, because the bees clumped up into it, and began landing on the outside of the box, and this was without the pheromone, which i left in the deep on top of the log, to go back and pick up tomorrow night.  We did learn not to OPEN the vial of pheromone, because the bees rushed right over to see what that was about when we did it.

We also learned that a bee brush would have been very helpful...they stung my gloves a few times when i tried to brush them off the log and onto the newspaper to dump into the deep.

It was a very good thing that the tree was so rotten we could peel off strips to get to the comb, too.  This meant we only need one lengthwise cut with the chainsaw to get things started.   A pry bar would have been nice.
 
This was so fun that i want a bee vac, but hubby wants another Glock as a reward for putting up with my silliness.  Men.

Have a great week and thanks again!

Beefree
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2005, 10:41:00 PM »

I haven't found a use for a bee vac.  Smiley  They kill too many bees for me.  I also haven't found a use for a Glock.  I'd prefer an old fashioned wheel gun.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2005, 12:28:27 PM »

Wow!  Sounds like things worked out just right for you!  Congrats!
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latebee
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« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2005, 06:08:02 PM »

I am glad to hear everything went well for you. I'll bet you can hardly wait for the next feral extraction! Cool
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