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Author Topic: Honey Bees Newb Removed into boxes but won't stay in boxes  (Read 806 times)
robhsmith
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« on: August 04, 2012, 10:51:57 PM »

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.
 



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jaseemtp
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2012, 01:26:46 AM »

Do you still have the queen and is she alive?  If you do, I would put the queen excluder on the bottom board and then set your box ontop of that.  That should keep her in the hive.  I assume you do not have a queen catcher or an queen cage to put her in.  One thing that I would try after the excluder is to get every one in the hive and if you have a screened bottom board, lock them in the hive for a couple of days.  Make sure they have access to some 1:1 syrup. Good luck and let us know how it goes
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buzzbee
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2012, 12:35:27 PM »

Did you happen to fasten the brood comb into frames in the box? You can also put the queen in a queen catcher and place between a couple frames for a couple days until they acclimate to the new home.
http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Queen-Catcher/productinfo/341/

We try to avoid being condescending here.
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buzzbee
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2012, 12:37:38 PM »

Is there a possibility that there was more than one colony and multiple queens? If so,it may increase the chance for absconding if a queen is still on the loose.
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robhsmith
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2012, 02:59:32 PM »

Hi guys thanks for the quick responses, also thank you for avoiding condescension lol.

Buzzbee - I would assume it was all one colony as all the pieces of the comb were connected to each other in one area behind the barn boards. I did not fasten brood comb to frames in the box. How would I fasten them? Also I'm thinking at this point, (about a week later) it might be too late, I've learned a lot in the past week and I would assume, unfortunately I've lost most if not all of the brood. However, I assumed that if I can make the hive happy, and a healthy queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day, the colony would recover quickly. I don't have a queen catcher right now but that does seem like a great idea and I will look into doing that, but like I said in my original post, the goal at this point is just to get them out of there.

Jaseemtp - The queen is definitely alive, I went down there today to check on the bees and, AGAIN, they were perched on the ground in a huge circle. I again, put the boxes near them and rearranged some things, and gave them a little smoke, the bees filled the box very quickly, but I watched them close and LUCKILY, found the queen, I was very careful with her but I picked her up and put her into the box, once she was in, the rest of the bees filled the box FAST. Doubt she'll stay again though without a queen catcher that buzzbee mentioned. How do I make 1:1 syrup? I've read posts about 1/2 water 1/2 sugar? can I just put it in a small container or is there a special way to do that?

Again, thank you guys very much for your help. One more question though, what should I do with the old comb? I mean...there is a LOT of it. Can I get rid of a majority of it and leave some in the box? I would assume they would get to work building a new home right away. Thanks again!
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hardwood
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2012, 03:08:07 PM »

If you just drop the comb into a box without putting it in frames the bees will make a mess for you. If the brood is wasted discard it or render out the wax/honey if you wish. I second the recommendation to use your queen excluder as a "queen includer" (between the bottom board and the hive body) to keep the queen in the box for a couple of days. There are tons of videos to guide you in the bee removal forum.

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/board,77.0.html

Scott
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AllenF
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2012, 04:08:08 PM »

Use cotton string, or twine, or rubber bands to attach the old combs to your frames.   The brood comb that you save will help anchor the bees and give them a real boost in survival.  And second the caging of the queen.   Use an excluder, wire cage on the side of a frame, or any queen cage.   Bees will follow her.   If she ain't leaving, the rest of the bees will stay. 
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