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Author Topic: First Post - Feral Hive Removal - SUCCESS!!! UPDATE!  (Read 2373 times)
simmonds
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« on: May 03, 2012, 12:02:43 PM »

Hi folks!  My wife and I are new this season to beekeeping and are having a GREAT time with our newly hived colonies in the backyard in the garden.  It has been very enjoyable and it is fun to sit in a lawn chair and watch these amazing bees do all that they do.  Coming back to the hive full of pollen, heavy and seemingly drunk and trying to hit the landing ramp is very funny!

The question though is about a feral colony living under our house (under the master bathroom).  They have been there just over a year and really are no problem there but they found a place in some dry rot to enter under the floor just under the shower area of the bathroom.  We are going to repair the dry rot and these bees have to come out and find a new home.  I tried contacting at least a dozen bee folks in my area and NONE want to come and give this cutout a try.  It is in a kind of hard place to comfortable access although if I stick my head under the house and peel the black plastic barrier away I can see the hive right at the edge of the house extending back in a ways...not sure how far though.

This weekend we are going to attempt this ourselves and I think with the help of reading this site and making a checklist of things needed we should be okay.  I built a simple bee vac this last week partly of my own design that seems to work good (have tested it out on some flies, and wasp nest or two and all test subjects survived no problem).  I will be doing this laying on my back with only a few feet clearance and am a little worried about how this will all go down...especially being our first one.  

If anyone has some words of encouragement or some tips I would be so grateful.  The weather here in Oregon is getting better and things are looking up!  Thanks everyone.

Chris and Julie



Crappy picture of the hive under the house:


Bee Vac 1:

\
Bee Vac 2:


Bee Vac 3:


Frames:

« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 01:29:05 PM by simmonds » Logged
hardwood
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 12:29:03 PM »

Make sure you watch some of the videos in the bee removal forum to study up....good luck!

Scott
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2012, 12:33:54 PM »

there are several beekeepers from s. oregon on here.  i am a few hours from you.  do let us know how it goes, and if you get in a jam with it, PM me.  we might be able to help you out or help you find someone who can.
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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.....

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simmonds
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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2012, 01:11:30 PM »

hardwood -  Thanks for the suggestion...I will watch and study the videos.  Thanks!

kathyp - Thanks!  You are really close to me.  I will PM if I get in a Jam and will also let you know how this whole thing turns out.


Here is a picture of the front edge of the hive under the house viewed through a mirror.  Sorry for the bad picture, it is a picture of a picture off my cell phone.



Here are a few pictures of my Bee-Vac I built and am kind of proud of how it turned out.  It is very light and uses a modified bee package box which is also part of the front cover.  I think I will build a second front cover/inner box assembly so I can switch them out if it gets full.  I sucked up a few wasps with this and then left the vac run for a half our and when I turned it off all the wasps were in the inner box and alive and well.  Seems to work good.

Edit:  Sorry guys, I cannot post the images...I guess my post count it too low and this site does not allow it for spam reasons.  Sad
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David McLeod
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2012, 02:23:05 PM »

Just some tips off the top of my head.

-Take your time.
Going slow keeps the bees calmer and let's you think through and plan each move.

-Have a plan.
Layout your tools so that you can grab what you need when you need it. I am fully set up with my cutting table and vac with my
knives and frames and bands ready to hand.

-Hire an assistant.
My wife, who is not a beekeeper, loves cutouts and is invaluable to me for handing what I need or able to take the combs from and band them.

-Schedule well.
I like to schedule for good foraging weather, a busy bee is happy bee, and time it so that I am wrapping it up at dusk when the last of the foragers are coming in.
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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2012, 02:27:54 PM »

Scott just posted a great one doing the exact same cutout.

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,37379.0.html
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simmonds
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2012, 04:08:41 PM »

David -  Thanks for those great tips!  My wife and I are starting to feel encouraged.

iddee - Thanks for that great video link.  That is a lot like our situation except ours have been under there for well over a year!  Should I expect a hive of that size to be under our house as well or is it possible it will be much smaller?

I, unlike the guys in the video will be wearing gear...I am new at this and allergic (slightly, just some area swelling...not gonna stop me from enjoying this great hobby).  I do have an eppi pen just in case  shocked

I think good preparation and cleaning the area under the house and putting down some clean tarps will be helpful.

Sure wish I could post photos here.

Chris and Julie
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2012, 05:30:21 PM »

Since you don't seem to be in a panic, have you considered smalling up their entrance and doing a "trap out"?

Have fun!
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simmonds
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2012, 05:55:25 PM »

Sundog... not sure what a "trap out" is?   embarassed
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iddee
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2012, 06:00:57 PM »

Your hive will likely be much larger. I would have two deeps ready for brood. DO NOT try to frame up honey. It is too heavy and drippy. Brood only goes into the frames. Being a larger hive doesn't make the job any different. Just longer.Take your time, take breaks, and go one step at a time.

Do not use the epi unless your tongue or throat begin swelling. Epinephrine can be as dangerous as bee venom.

Scott and Peggy have been doing it so long they don't even feel a sting anymore. Cheesy
You are sensitive, not allergic.

You can post pics by pm'ing them to any moderator. Buzzbee and Robo are on most often. They will post them for you.
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2012, 06:02:04 PM »

A trapout is:

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,20301.0.html
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simmonds
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2012, 07:34:34 PM »

iddee:  Thanks again for the help.  I think we will stick with the cut out option.  I will have two deeps ready and already have the frames ready...I am using cotton string to tie in the brood comb, not rubberbands.  I guess I need to make a second inner box for the bee vac as I wasn't aware so many bees were going to be in there...or maybe make a large screened box that I can dump them in from the bee vac container.  Any other ideas?

We are really starting to look forward to this.

Any preference on the time of day we should start?  Saturday is supposed to be mostly sunny, highs around 60 and the sun has been setting after 8pm.  Sunday is supposed to be highs near 70.  Of course this is western Oregon so the weather can change in an instant.



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iddee
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2012, 07:53:42 PM »

I would wait a few weeks. I start from 10 to 11 AM on a sunny day that is above 70, above 60 when starting.
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simmonds
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2012, 08:24:51 PM »

I would wait a few weeks. I start from 10 to 11 AM on a sunny day that is above 70, above 60 when starting.

We just really need to get to the repairs and be done with it by next weekend.   Cry
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2012, 08:25:15 PM »

any reason for the string vs. the rubber bands?  you might find it difficult to get the string tight enough to hold the comb in the way you want.  the bees will remove the rubber bands in short order...or build around them  grin

i usually put 4 fat ones on each frame before i start.  makes it easier to slide them over and hold the brood.  your fingers will be sticky and if you are wearing gloves (as i do) you'll have heavy, sticky, fingers.  the less you need to do, the easier.

also allow at least 3 hours and since it's your first, maybe more.  it will depend on what you find when you get in there.

spend some time in the removal forum reading about how to remove comb, where to start, and what you will need.  you have some advantage being at home, but you don't want it to be any more frustrating that it has to be!
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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 #15 on: May 03, 2012, 08:26:21 PM »

i think you picked a good weekend for it.  the weather is supposed to be much warmer and dry.  i would take advantage of that and not wait.  you never know what oregon weather will do.
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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
simmonds
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« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2012, 09:11:36 PM »

Kathy, I chose the cotton string method simply because that is what I had when prepping the frames.  I nailed 3 tiny nails into the top bar of the frame and 2 on the bottom bar and zigzag the string and tied off on one side.  The other side has the same little nails but a length of cotton string only tied  off one one nail.  With this method as I hand the comb to my wife she should be able to lay the comb right in the frame then zigzag the last string to secure it in place securely.  I took a frame and laid a heavy book in place and tied it off and it held the book really well.  I could even flip and rotate the frame and the book stayed put.  I wish I could post pics I would show it as that would probably explain it better.  I saw this method somewhere, don't remember where now but it looked simple and sure enough it was.  I think the bees can remove the cotton string pretty quickly and easily.

I agree, the weather this weekend will be ideal (for Oregon weather anyway)  Wink

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« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2012, 09:12:27 PM »

X2 on not saving the honey. The only time I try to save honey is on the unavoidable late season jobs. Just set the honey aside in a clean bucket and use for yourself this early in the season. As long as your area has enough of a flow for them to replace it otherwise feed the honey back to them.
Deeps are great if you have large combs. Most of my cut outs come from joist systems like yours and anything smaller than a 2x12 joist usually fits a medium or shallow frame after trimming away the honey.
I am slowly using up all my shallows for cut outs and switching to mediums. I do carry both deeps and shallows so I have options depending on what I find once I open it up.
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« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2012, 10:28:21 PM »

Do what you have to do. I have a few better chances than you do, being in NC. Just start early and give yourself plenty of time.If you don't finish the first day, just set the hive near the bee entrance to the house and start over the next morning.
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« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2012, 01:26:43 AM »

sounds like your string thing will work fine.  i am into lazy beekeeping and that sounds like work  evil
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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 #20 on: May 04, 2012, 09:09:58 AM »

Your response to a bee sting is not allergic, instead a normal reaction.  A true allergy will effect your ability to breathe.  Great you have an epi pen.

I really think you should get some rubber bands.  I know you already have done a bunch of work, but how you going to move the string and keep it tight without ruining the brood comb, not as solid at things look on the vids you have looked at.  If you don't start till Sat, you have time to drop by office depot or something and get a box, they are cheap, even wally world carries those big ones. 

Yes, I am looking forward to a nice weekend.  My girls have been very upset this week trying to forage between downpours.
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simmonds
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« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2012, 10:50:08 AM »

Thanks again everyone for the fantastic responses.  We really appreciate all the help and suggestions and we will be picking up a package or two of large rubber bands to have on hand in case we need them.  The cotton string method I read somewhere on the internet before I discovered this site and became a member...if only I had come here first I could have saved myself alot of work angry grin

I sent some pictures of my homemade vac and a lousy  pic of the hive through a mirror along to the mods so maybe they will post them.

My wife stopped by our local bee supply to pick up one of those hair clip looking queen traps and boy I was surprised to learn that little thing was 15 dollars!  Yikes!
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« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2012, 11:01:43 AM »

those are handy to have, but don't feel you need to cage her if you find her on some comb and can just dump her in the hive.  they are nice for protecting her and for moving her if she's in the way.  most of the time i find her on a piece of comb and just let her crawl into the hive.  JP and Co. like to compete to find her.  smiley
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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 #23 on: May 04, 2012, 11:35:40 AM »

Sweet!  The mods  posted my pics at the beginning of the thread!  Thanks so much.

Chris and Julie
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« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2012, 01:12:37 PM »

looking forward to the after action report  grin

one suggestion on the bee vac.  it looks nuc size?  be sure not to over fill it and to empty it often if it's getting full.  try not to suck up any honey.....  guess that's more than one....

good luck. let us know how it goes!!
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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
simmonds
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« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2012, 01:54:17 PM »

looking forward to the after action report  grin

one suggestion on the bee vac.  it looks nuc size?  be sure not to over fill it and to empty it often if it's getting full.  try not to suck up any honey.....  guess that's more than one....

good luck. let us know how it goes!!

Thanks again Kathy!  The vac is rather small...will probably only hold up to about 3 pounds of bees so I am planning on emptying it a few times as I go.  Maybe make a observation window on one side of the vac with plexi glass so I can see inside.  Should I just dump the bees straight into the new hive and frames as it fills up?  If I find the queen should I place her into the new hive and use a separator so she cannot get out or is this necessary or what is the best way to do this?
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« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2012, 08:11:59 PM »

Just dump them as you go. If you can get the queen in the clip, leave her in it and in the hive for 24 to 48 hours. it's not that important, tho. If she is in the hive, she will stay most times. Looks like you have planned well and are ready for a successful cutout.

Your bee supplier needs a horse whupping. Those clips are 3.50 each here.
http://www.dadant.com/catalog/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=queen+clip&search_in_description=1&x=0&y=0
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« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2012, 08:58:23 PM »

Chris and Judy,

Did you checkout the video Hardwood did assisting me with a cutout? http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,37379.0.html
Your hive sounds like it is in the same general location as the one that he and I removed this past Wednesday.  It was just inside the opening under the house, under a layer of insulation and it was located under the vanity in the homeowners bathroom. We vacuumed up 2 full boxes of bees and there were still more clinging to the comb.  Scott estimated between 6 and 8 lbs of bees. It sure is difficult and a little nerve racking lying there on your back with bees falling in your face or buzzing around your ears, knowing that any minute one is going to sting your face.  It helps to have an assistant that can hand you things that you can see or reach yourself while lying on your back. I think between Scott and I we only took 3 stings.  Do you have any bee quick or bee-go.  I use bee-quick and it is nice to have in case you need to run bees out of an area that you cannot reach.

Good Luck with your cutout. Take pictures and let us know how it goes.

Dean0
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« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2012, 09:50:57 PM »

any reason for the string vs. the rubber bands?
I would consider a change in plan to use rubber bands instead.  With rubber bands, the bees will chew through them and they will fall to the bottom.  The one and only time I used cotton twine,  they build comb right to it and it became a royal pain not to mention  as mess as they built new comb centered on the string.

Just a suggestion.  Good Luck and take pictures/video.
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« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2012, 01:14:28 PM »

Julie and I would really like to thank everyone for the encouragement and tips that lead to a very successful cutout on Saturday!  We ended up with about 5 pounds of bees and 10 full frames of brood and the bees seem to be doing great in their new home only 30 yards away from their home under the house.

We started at about noon and finished the job about 7 p.m.!!!!!  I know, I know...don't laugh too hard we are very new at this, our first cutout and we have only been beeks for just over a month.  We took a break half way through and grabbed a bite to eat and a nice rest thinking we might be only half way through when in reality we had already removed all the comb.  After the break I spent quite a while trying to access further under the house to remove the insulation layer and discovered we already removed the entire hive and comb so we spent the rest of the evening cleaning up the old hive and all our tools etc..  

I had prepared 10 frames with the cotton twine and 10 frames with rubber bands as suggested by some of you.  My wife started by filling the cotton twine frames and it worked really good.  We used all 10 of those frames and were finished so we didn't get a chance to try the rubberbands, but I can tell how much more easy the rubberbands would have been.  Next time we will be using rubberbands.

My bee vac worked really well and we figure we had a 99% survival rate at least with the vac or even better!

We made one call to kathyp half way through and she really helped us feel good about the job and encouraged us through.  Thanks Kathy!  And deanO, thanks for the video link...we had watched it several times and it also provided great encouragement.  Our job was almost identical except we only had about a foot of clearance at the most and it was very muddy and wet below the house...also we wore bee suits as we are not nearly as brave as some of you folks yet.

Thanks again everyone for the help on this.  We are already looking forward to our next cutout or swarm catch!  grin

Chris and Julie
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simmonds
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« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2012, 01:21:50 PM »

Oh yes, forgot to mention...Julie and I only received one sting each from this.  Me on my hand through my leather glove when I reached way back into the hive with the vac, and Julie on her arm below here armpit when one of the ladies got trapped there as she lowered her arm.  Hardly painful at all and neither of us had any kind of reaction to it!  Woo Hoo!

On Sunday Julie did get one sting right next to her eye...our foster son panicked when a bee landed on him and he flicked it right into Julies eye trapping it behind her glasses.  That one she sad was VERY painful and hurt for hours!  Cry

Still we had SOOO much fun this weekend and are really loving beekeeping!

We took quite a few pics and a tiny video that I will try to post up soon.

Cheers!
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« Reply #31 on: May 07, 2012, 01:29:50 PM »

by the time you called me, you had it in the bag.  good job to both of you!!
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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
lenape13
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We survive together, or not at all!


« Reply #32 on: May 07, 2012, 01:31:19 PM »

Congratulations on a job well done. You're old pros now.
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jmblakeney
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Location: Anderson Co., Tennessee,

James


« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2012, 02:20:42 PM »

Great to hear that you got them....  Looking forward to pics and vid.   G3 and I done a cutout yesterday, started at ~11 and ended about 6.  Each one is different and takes different amounts of time. 
I couldn't help but snigger a lil when you told of your foster son flicking the bee into your wifes glasses.  I think that happened to G3 and I both yesterday.  Neither got stung though.  Those stings around the eyes really swell my eyes shut for 2-3 days.

Thanks for posting your experience.

James
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"I believe the best social program is a job...." - Ronald Reagan
Riggs
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Location: Lowgap NC


« Reply #34 on: May 07, 2012, 02:55:51 PM »

Really glad to hear it went well, you will be/are hooked for sure now.
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ME Girl
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Location: Fairfield, PA but I am from ME


« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2012, 04:47:40 PM »

Good for you!  I will never forget my first cut out with my husband.  We had fun be he got a little annoyed with me trying to make sure all the bees got into the hive( we had a lot of young bees that just didn't seem to know what was going on and we didn't have a bee vac yet). It was nice though to save the bees (house was getting torn down).  We have had both feral bees and package bees and I think that the feral ones have always been healthier and nicer bees.  Just my opinion.  Congratulations on a job well done!
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simmonds
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« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2012, 05:08:12 PM »

Thanks everyone!  It sure was fun.  I was carefully vacuuming the bees off each brood section one at a time, and right when I was sure (90% sure anyway) that I saw the queen she disappeared into my vac nozzle! shocked  Drats!  I really wanted to put her in my over priced plastic queen cage...oh well, they seem to be doing great so far and I cannot wait to open them and check the progress (in a week or two of course)!

As far as being hooked...you betcha!  Already posted on CL for swarm and hive removal...also hung one swarm trap on the property and have two more ready to go up as soon as I scout out a good location.

Chris and Julie
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David McLeod
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« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2012, 07:47:53 PM »

Congrats! Now get rid of that overpriced PLASTIC clip because sure as God made little green apples you will step on it or otherwise bust it up. I bought two to start and after I had to replace both of them a few times I bought a metal one and still have it.
Now since you're a veteran at cutouts, you want a job? I'm booked into next week on cutouts.
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iddee
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Location: Randleman, NC


« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2012, 09:48:24 PM »

Sounds to me like it took you just the time I told you it would.  Kiss

Good Job. I had no doubt you could do it. I could see you were planing it well.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
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