Hi, I'm new to bees and bee removal so please spare me the condescending replies. I realize this isn't a job for the inexperienced person, but we all have to learn sometime. I have a friend who is newer to beekeeping but had never done removal. So the two of us decided to tackle removing a hive that is at least a couple years old that was growing in a relative's barn. Our idea was that we would remove the barn boards, find the queen, put her in the bottom box with an excluder, put the old comb into the upper box and brush/shake the remaining bees into the box in hopes that they will utilize the existing comb and live happily ever after. This is what we did and how it went, along with the issue that we have at this point, I hope someone has a simple solution about something we overlooked, as we ARE new. Thank you.
We removed the barn boards, revealing a very large colony, tightly compacted inside four sections of boards. We carefully took pieces of the hive apart and found the queen, we put a small piece of comb that the queen was on, into the bottom box. At this point we began removing the entire colony. We carefully scraped away pieces of the comb and put them into a box. We put all of the comb from the original colony into boxes, stacked the boxes together and left it for the night, hoping that the returning bees would populate the boxes, then we could take them away. Well here comes the problem. A couple days later, it seemed to have worked, and we were coordinating transportation of the colony. The following day, I got a phone call saying that there were LOTS of bees flying around all over the back yard, I went back later that day and found what seemed like MOST of the colony perched against the side of the propane tank. The plan was to go in at dusk, brush them into a box and transport them immediately. When we returned later, the bees weren't there, we found them in approx 1 1/2 foot diameter circle about 2-3 inches thick, lying on the ground, we tried putting a box next to them and smoking them towards the box, but they didn't want to cooperate.
The Story continues....
So, I went back the next evening, found them in a circle on the ground again but in a different spot. I took an extra box (thinking they might have been too cramped) separated the comb in the box to thin it out and again, put a box next to the circle, and smoked them toward the box. This time it worked, I was able to get most all of the bee inside the box. So I left the boxes over night, coordinated a transport for this weekend, good to go right? NO. The plan was to move them tomorrow (Sunday). I went back by today to check on them, they are AGAIN, in a circle on the ground, I'll try to get them back into the box tomorrow so we can transport them quickly, but my questions are:
1. How do I make this colony want to live in my box?
2. Should I just remove all the old comb and make them start new? I do have frames but I'm not using them because there is SO MUCH comb.
Please note - one thing I did not add to my story is that we tried separating the honey combs, from the brood combs, the brood combs are what we put into the boxes, the honey combs we put into a bucket and set it next to the boxes. At this point we just want to get them moved from my relative's property, but long term, we would like to keep this colony happy and healthy so that we can use them. Please help! Thank you much.