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Author Topic: Bee Tree Trapout #1  (Read 1466 times)
superhoney
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« on: June 01, 2012, 12:53:03 AM »

Hello all,
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!
Superhoney!
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2012, 08:10:00 AM »

It all looks well and should be successful, except the 13th day visit. They will start cells from 3 day eggs, IE: one hour larva. The queens will emerge on the 13th day. You may lose all but the first one out.
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2012, 12:35:35 AM »

Thanks Iddee: Hmm, I guess I am a little fuzzy on the math. I thought I had 16 days before emergence and I was beating the timing. Is it that the eggs were already laid and the by the time I collected them and the time they are out of a hive and not being taken care of in the trap box still counts on the clock towards the 16 days and that's why it is 13 for emergence? I think what I'm not catching is the 1 hour larva part too--

Looks like I should scoot down there with another box then ASAP. If I snag a queen cell do I have to yank another frame of eggs for the replacement trap box? I'm thinking I have read 'no' in my researching, and only a queen is needed. Right? And if I have many cells I can swing by the tree trapout #2 I setup today and plunk in a queen cell there too to speed the queen-righting process up? 

This is my first season doing these and I am still learning the finer points of trapouts, and it seems that's all the bee removal activities I'm going to get around here anyhow. But I'll take it, and them.

Thanks for the info!
Superhoney!
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iddee
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2012, 08:56:12 AM »

Day 1... Egg laid

Day 3... Larva hatches

This is when they decide it will be a queen

Day 8 or 9... Cell is capped.

Day 16... Queen emerges

When you place a frame in the trap, they choose cells that the egg is hatching. IE: Day 3.

13 days later the queen emerges.

The first day being day 3 confuses a lot of folks. Using the timing above, you can move capped cells on day 13 or 14 most safely, using them in other traps, nucs, etc. Before 13, the larva is very fragile, day 15 and you may have an early emergence.
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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"

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superhoney
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2012, 01:57:36 PM »

Ok, now I got it! I think then this is day 13 of 16 already. I think that's right now.

I didn't have any filled in frames of wax to spare as they are all out in bait hives and trap boxes but I had a thin piece of plywood I drilled 5/8" holes in. This was to provide a way to transport the queen cells so they could dangle without damage. I also don't have any neat queen raising gear yet so I'm flying by the seat of my pants at the moment in this area. Queen raising is the topic of study for this coming winter.

Today my plan for the cell removals is the triangle cut out, and placed in a round hole in the destination comb. Seems like something I could pull off so I'll be trying it today.

I am headed there as soon as I finish this post to see if there are some ready to go.

Which is now! Bee back later with tales of success, or grand failure!

Thanks again for all the help,
Superhoney!
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superhoney
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2012, 07:43:25 PM »

Hey all,
Ok I'm back! All I can say is wow, that was the most intense bee activity I have witnessed in the short 3 years I have been keeping bees. However, it was successful in that I did get the box checked, they had 2 queen cells of which I stole one for the new box, and replaced the box that was there. The original trap box that was there was plum full of bees and they had already drawn out 3 frames and stuffed 2 of them with honey, and had capped brood on the other which I think was the original frame of eggs it started with. Every other blank frame had bees in solid nets festooning from top to bottom. Woot!

I did get stung once from one that crawled up my pants leg-I got the full dose on that one removing the stinger once I pulled off my suit, and had one flying around inside my veil for a bit until I ended that. But wow are they hot. I will absolutely need to re-queen them. At one point it felt like I was getting rain drops on me, but was only them running into me. It was so intense I did not get any other photos (camera was in the truck during all of this) and at the end was only concerned with absconding myself from the scene. Sheesh they were angry and we giggled all the way home.

And the person I was going to deliver them to is out of town so they will be in the back of the truck overnight until I can get them placed tomorrow. Hopefully if all goes well with the queen cell I placed in the replacement box I will get another box of bees out of it as well, but we will see.

I am officially hooked on free bees having lost so many paid for bees. I can't wait to go back!

Well I'm off to relax and let the adrenaline drain away. I'll have to open the hive back up around dusk to let the swarm of stragglers clinging on the outside of the hive at the moment to go back inside (since they hung on the whole way back), then later when it's dark and they've gone inside I will go close it again until it's delivered to the clover field tomorrow.

I'll update again once I am calm enough to take pics in a maelstrom of bees. I'll say it again---golly I love this hobby!

Superhoney!
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marktrl
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2012, 01:09:15 AM »

Since you gave them the young to make the new queens you won't have to re-queen. Remember in a trapout you most likely won't get the queen from the original hive.
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superhoney
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2012, 03:44:31 PM »

Oh no doubt I have to requeen with known genetics, they are very very aggressive, even for me. Their final destination is a clover field, and perhaps to be over there permanently so they need some new genetics, calmer, less sting-you-in-the-face-at-50-ft genetics. My personal hives have natural queens and are a tad hot, I must be protected at all times to work them and I'm ok with that. But those hives are 1/4 mile off the highway up a steep hill so I'm not worried about foot traffic up there and accidental stings, it's my property after all. But the property of someone else means I have to be safer for them.

I gathered the first box yesterday and transferred a queen cell to the new box to get them off and running, but again more than likely I will need a requeen on that one as well and any others coming from this tree. I do have another tree I'm doing where the bees don't pay attention to me at all, it is night and day between the two trees. I would have liked to gather those genetics, even being wild they are many degrees calmer than this trapout.

At the moment I am still waiting to deliver the hive to the field as the HO is out of town...tap tap tap...

Thanks for the posts!
Superhoney!
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iddee
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2012, 04:03:39 PM »

What Marktrl is trying to tell you is the tree genetics will not be in your hives. They will be the genetics of the hive you got the frame of eggs from. The queens in the cells are from your hives, not the tree.
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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"

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superhoney
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 12:01:56 AM »

Oh right right I wasn't clear enough. I meant to say that my wild bred queens (and their hives) are too hot for 'public', the part I'm ok with because of the location of the beeyard, and those were her eggs in the trap box. The trapout hive has now been placed in an area that has had no European genetics kept/imported for many years, and I'm told that most feral colonies where we live are now aggressive. An already aggressive virgin queen is about to emerge in the trapout hive and will be in amongst all of these hot feral drones mating making new bees like the ones in the current tree which will be too hot to handle.<-my expectation. Does that sound right now? Older more experienced beeks in this area always say requeen if there's any aggressiveness in hives you keep around other people just to be safe.

Oh and about this hive: I placed it this evening, and by the time I packed up to go there were orientations going on. I'm sure they will like their new home amongst the clover.

Sorry for the confusion, I hope my thought process is better stated now.

Superhoney!
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blanc
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2012, 09:38:28 PM »

I have done two cut outs with agressive bees but once they settled in the bee yard they are very calm.. Some are more protective than others no matter how much you smoke em.
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superhoney
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« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2012, 11:47:24 AM »

Hello again, I have an update and a question or two.

So this tree seems to be tapped as the HO says there is no activity around the cone anymore and activity to and from the box only. He did not see the queen abscond with the few remaining bees in the tree as I would expect this is the last step before cone removal. I am headed there right now to check and see if all activity in the tree has truly stopped.

My question is how do I tell when to remove the cone to let them rob out the honey? If the queen has not left the tree yet is this going to be a big problem? I only ask because it's 48 miles away (not 24 as previously misstated) and can't make handfuls of trips 'just to see' what's going on. I might be removing the cone today if I see absolutely no action from the tree. The tree guy they have doesn't want to plug the hole for fear of water rotting the inside of the tree further so we may be putting some screening over it permanently to keep bees out. What does everyone else who traps these trees do?

It is also my understanding that they should be through robbing in a few days after the cone is removed. Right? Then I can pickup the trap box full of tree honey, take down the stand and deal with the remaining knothole. Is all of this correct? Am I missing anything obvious?

If all is as it seems I have acquired 2 boxes of bees with queens from this tree and am very happy at how well it went (the bee tree #2 has not been as smooth.)

Again, thanks for the advice and helps, I couldn't have done it without all the info.

Superhoney!

PS The first box did indeed calm a bit after their queen emerged, meaning they only chase me 30 yards instead of 1/4 mile.  grin
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iddee
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« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2012, 12:37:01 PM »

If my math is right, the trap has only been on the tree 5 weeks. Unless SHB or something killed the colony, it is NOT over.
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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"

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superhoney
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2012, 05:48:32 PM »

Thanks iddee, I wish that were true. When I went to investigate there was no activity at the cone of any kind, and no activity in the #2 trap box I had placed last week or so. I did see a tiny bit of comb, the empty queen cell I placed when placing the #2 box, and 4 bees in the box. Other than that it was a ghost town.

I am not sure what happened, but the tree colony being overcome sounds plausible. At the knothole I could smell a very pungent scent of honey, perhaps a whiff of fermentation as well. When I took the tinfoil muff off of the tree I could see larvae crawling around, I guessed hive beetle. The HO did not witness any swarms coming from the tree, although it could have happened I suppose. I removed the cone to allow for whatever robbing would occur from wild bees. The HO wants the opening wired at the end of the week, will this be enough time for the wild population to rob anything out of the tree? Or will they go take anything if it's all potentially ruined by beetles?

It is disappointing not to have the second box of bees, but the HO is happy they are all gone so there's that anyway. And I did actually get a box of bees too so I am counting this kind of successful, and will learn from it as well.

Thanks again,
Superhoney!
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iddee
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« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2012, 11:10:57 PM »

If they rob, they will be done in 2 days. I doubt they will rob after SHB infestation.
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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*
superhoney
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2012, 09:44:32 PM »

Okeedoke, I'm all set to go tear down the hive and stand this week and that will be it for this job then.

Thanks again,
Superhoney!
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