This is a post about my first trap-out from a huge old oak tree which is about 24 miles from my place out here in the Hill Country of Texas. I have but one picture at the moment which you will see below. I'll update the post as I go out there.
The tree has a knothole about 6.5 ft up about 2 inches across. I made a 12" cone out of #8 hardware cloth and inserted it through a 3" hole on a 12" square of 3/8" plywood. I trimmed and sliced the part behind the plywood and stapled it down. I predrilled some holes at the corners of the plywood and during installation these holes are where the wood screws went through to the tree, and I also used small washers to keep the wood screws from pulling through the plywood when it was screwed down tight.
Then I made a tinfoil donut out of about 6 pieces of 16" tinfoil, it was about 6" across and about 5" deep. This was placed behind the plywood and squished towards the tree collapsing and creating a tight seal against the oak's bark. Then I screwed the wood screws into the tree at which time the bees started coming out of the cone. Here's the cone itself:
I had setup the hive already on a stand, but because of the size of the tree and where the homeowner had a trailer parked I couldn't get the hive to a position really close. As it stands it is about 2 ft from the knothole and cone and I thought this would be a problem knowing it was to be very close, almost touching. I don't have any pictures of that yet though, I will once I go back to check in on them.
The morning of the installation I raided one of my hives for a frame of eggs, which also had some open honey on it as a bonus for the tree bees. I also put some drops of Lemon Grass Oil at the entrance. And throughout the whole installation I was spritzing them with sugar water as well to keep the air traffic down a bit.
It all went pretty well, or as expected at least. They are hot little tree bees too, I was stung in the back of the head missile style while I was setting up 30 ft away. I suited up in more of a hurry after that. After it was all done they crowded on the cone and began bearding off of it before I had completely packed up. As far as I could tell all was going to go as planned so I advised the homeowner of what was going to be happening over the next few days/weeks and how I would call for updates. Here's the cone on the tree about 5 minutes after installation:
I started the trapout on 5-22, and now on 5-31 he reports that they are mainly going to and from the box, with only a handful still on the screen at any time. As far as I can tell it is going swimmingly at this point. I will be headed out there at the 13 day mark to check for queen cells and possibly to replace the box with a fresh one. Hopefully I can get a queen cell to transfer to the fresh box at that time. The box I would take away would be transferred to a clover field currently in bloom.
For those interested in the remuneration angle I am doing this one for gas money + incidentals as they are retired and really good people in their community. They were referred to me through the county Ag Extension office where I had registered earlier this year as a bee removal person.
So there you go, all the current info on my first trap-out. Thanks to all have previously posted info and pics on this topic, it made it possible for me to do this. I will post more pics when I go back. Wish me luck!