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Author Topic: Bees in stall wall, Robo Vac tips needed, any tips or suggestions welcomed!!!!  (Read 4617 times)
Intheswamp
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« on: September 07, 2012, 01:59:40 AM »

My mentor and I will be removing some bees at a closed down dairy farm in a week or so.  It is late in the season and would've loved to have had this back in the early summer but...  The owner doesn't want to kill them but has stated that they have to be gone one way or the other by the 21st so we've got two weeks to get them out.  I went and checked them out today.

The bees are under a large pole shed in the wall of a stall where bulk material was stored.  There are cement walls going up just past waist high and then sheets of plywood screwed to either side of red steel studs.  There are several of these walls making up several "stalls". 

There's maybe 20 sheet metal screws to remove.  We *may* have to stand on a very short step ladder but I doubt it...the bees basically are right there within arms reach.  The bees appear to be very calm bees as I don't think I got seriously buzzed standing right beside them today.  This appears to be a perfect first removal for a newbee like me.  When I first saw them I was somewhat intimidated...there were bees at each end of a 13' stretch of wall with the largest cluster in the middle of that stretch.  As it turned out a short 5' section is empty.  It is awesome standing in the stall as there is no way to miss the constant loud buzzing going on.

The wall is a relatively thin wall...maybe a 4" hollow.  I'm thinking that the comb will be long and narrow.  The owner showed me a place on another stall wall where he had removed a colony last year...the comb residue showed that they were long and narrow.  I'm taking it that this comb will be somewhat difficult to rubberband into a frame in the proper orientation.  Would I be better off to prepare some comb with thread running horizontally on one side to lay the comb on and then tie it in with more thread running horizontally, too?   Would it be ok to lay the brood comb in at 45-degrees (on it's side)?...that way I could put longer pieces in the frames.

When I begin removing the plywood should I expect the comb to be attached to both pieces of plywood?  One side of the wall tends to catch the evening sun and would be a "warmer side"...would this encourage the bees to attach or not attach the comb to that side or do they even pay attention to that? 

As I mentioned Rob is shippng me one of his vacs and I'm anxious to put it to use.  I decided to begin my beekeeping journey with all 8-frame medium equipment and that is what I will be using with the vac.    I really don't know how big this colony is, I think it is fairly large (but I could be fooled).  Anybody want to recommend a number of boxes to go between the top and bottom of the vac?  Presently I'm thinking of one empty medium on the bottom with two more mediums with foundation in them above the empty one.  I think it would be plenty of room but would it be way too much room?

Any suggestions on using the vac and removing these bees are greatly appreciated.  G3 and Rob, thanks for the videos that you posted...those have helped me a lot in understanding the vac.

The property owner told me that he also had a colony in a tree...that's three known colonies on this property.  I'm thinking this is a good area for honey bees...several large lakes on his property along with a small river running through part of it.  I think I'm gonna work on getting permission to put out some swarm traps out around there this spring. Wink

Thanks for your help.  Here are some shots of the area...   Ed



Another view...







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Intheswamp
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2012, 02:06:31 AM »

After looking at the photo with the written notations I figured I'd comment on them.  The bees on the right side were a small group of bees that were working hard fanning.  Pulling back the plywood a little bit down below them and looking into the wall from the end I saw that it was empty to the next metal stud.  The bees in the top center of the wall were clustered pretty closely and on the opposite side of the wall from them there was a double handful of bees.  The bees on the lower left side were clustered but not fanning much, if any...there was a good bit of traffic with bees leaving and arriving at that hole...I think this is the main entrance and the others are ventilation(?) holes or Huh  I also got to wondering if there might be two colonies.  The loudest hum was where red "x" is and the word "Comb ?" is written.   I was happy to see how calm they were.

Ed
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 09:08:59 AM by Intheswamp » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2012, 02:39:32 PM »

I would expect the comb to be running parallel with the plywood but still attached to both pieces of plywood in spots.   It is always fun trying to take off a whole sheet of plywood at a time.  I would start at one corner and try to get a look inside as you go.   Having a knife on a long stick that you can slide in from the side and cut any connected comb off the plywood as you pull it off is a big help.

As far as how many supers, your current plan of 3 mediums should be sufficient for a normal sized colony.  If you think it is a big one,  I would add another medium.   too much room below the cut-out shim should not be an issue as long as the seams are tight or sealed with duct tape.   Only draw back should be weight.   But a little extra weight is a lot better than not enough room and overheating bees.

If your worried about mounting the comb,  I find frames cut in half with wire stapled to the outside work great.  Just use them like a book around the comb. http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/cut-out-frames/

good luck and remember to NOT use too much suction.   In fact,  stop along the way and look down through the cut out shim to make sure you aren't killing the bees.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 07:44:27 PM by Robo » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2012, 07:29:04 PM »

good luck and rememberNOT to use too much suction.   In fact,  stop along the way and look down through the cut out shim to make sure you aren't killing the bees.

At least I think that is what Robo meant to say.

I was going to suggest using a "flat hoe" to scrap the comb off of the sides of the plywood.

I would not put an empty super on the bottom of the stack in the bee vac, they will not have any thing to crawl up onto, if you have to use an empty I would suggest on the top of the stack.

I think once you pull the plywood back there will be comb from stud to stud and hanging down a couple of feet. Rubber bands are quick and easy and can be put on horizontally as well as vertically.

If you are finding lots of runny nectar in the combs be extra careful not to suck it out of the combs, it will make the bees all sticky and they will die.
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see my swarms and cut outs at https://www.youtube.com/user/soapy22bullet?feature=mhee

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2012, 07:45:30 PM »

Yes, sometimes my fingers can't kee up smiley
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2012, 09:09:28 PM »

Thanks for the feedback, guys.  I'm really hoping this works out good.  It seems late to be doing this removal, if something happens to the queen I don't know whether the colony can make itself a new queen and her get mated.  But, the guy has put a deadline on them so we're going to give it a good shot.

Robo, when you say you figure the comb will be parallel to the plywood do you mean the plane of each comb will be parallel with the plywood?  Looking at where the owner had removed the hive last year the wax pattern remaining on the plywood  shows that they were spanning the cavity from plywood to plywood (he didn't put the plywood back on) which would've made that comb at a 90-degree angle with the plywood.  I asked the owner if he remembered if the comb seemed to stick to one piece of plywood more so than the other...he said he didn't remember one being apparently favored for attachment but that comb stuck to both sides as they removed the one piece of plywood.  

What size are the holes for the vacuum hoses?  I measured my old Craftsman 5.5hp vac and the actual connector (has the thumb latch on the vacuum end) measured 2.25" o.d.  The hose itself "seemed" to measure 2.5" but this was just holding a tape measure up against it so not up to NASA standards. Smiley  I've got another shop vac that I bought at one of those give-away-sales at Lowe's a few years back that's been sitting in storage that I've gotta check the hose diameter on...I think it's about the same as the Craftsman.

G3, I had thought about using an empty super on bottom to give the bees a larger area to "arrive into".  I understand that when the bees arrive they leave the high-pressure area of the hose into a much more gentle atmosphere but I didn't want them bumping into frames hanging down.  Apparently, though, they do fine with the space furnished by the bottom board of the bee vac.  Losing the empty at the bottom will make more efficient use of the vac chamber and make it less bulky and more manageable...especially if I decide to go four supers tall.  I'll lose the bottom empty box.

I'm wondering, too, about how many supers I need for brood...do ya'll think two supers for brood will probably be enough?  8-frame medium supers, remember.   Of course this leads to checking my frame inventory, too.  

I'll be going the rubberband route...I'll be prepared to go vertically or horizontally.  G3, I hope you're right about the comb going from stud to stud, but that would be a very wide comb.   I believe these studs are roughly 8' apart.  The screws are only around the perimeter...none in the field.  Something tells me I'm probably going to work with a lot of narrow comb...I really hope I'm wrong!

Things that I have been  thinking over and over about....too much vac pressure, sucking up too much nectar/honey, and the bees overheating inside the bee-vac.   If I get things together in time I'm going to practice with some styrofoam peanuts before heading to the site.  

Oh yeah, the idea of the knife on a stick or the flat hoe is a good one...one or the other will go with us! Wink  

Thanks for the help, but I'm sure I'll have plenty more questions!
Ed

ETA:  I picked up on the pressure thing, I tend to complete a thought and drop words as I type, too.  It's a gift!  grin
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BabcockFarms
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2012, 09:46:47 PM »

Enjoy this moment, a make a video or take lots of pictures and post for us to see the fun you will be having....
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2012, 09:51:13 PM »

The hose itself is is about 2 1/2" but the hard plastic connectors are 2 1/4", I use a 2 1/4" hole saw and it is a snug fit, might even need to hit it a lick with some sand paper.

The comb can run in any direction and just might run in several directions, nothing is a given when it comes to bees............Rule #1 Bees are bees and do as they please!
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see my swarms and cut outs at https://www.youtube.com/user/soapy22bullet?feature=mhee

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!
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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 10:58:11 PM »

Ron, I don't know how to post photos.....just kiddin'. grin    I suspect that I will take a few. Wink

G3, thanks for the specs!  That works out great!  And thanks for posting Rule #1...I'd been trying to think of the wording of that for several days and it is so true! Smiley

Ed
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« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2012, 12:05:07 AM »

Looking at the pics I'm wondering if perhaps you have more than one hive there.


...JP
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2012, 12:36:31 AM »

Looking at the pics I'm wondering if perhaps you have more than one hive there.


...JP
JP, that crossed my mind but other things tell me "no".  But, I'm a rookie. Wink

There is a strong "hive smell" when you get near the wall.  Those two big clumps of bees were definitely spread out.  It was warm that day and the afternoon sun was striking that side of the wall.  I figure the width of the cavity is about 4 inches so it would probably warm up pretty quickly. 

The bees to the left were just hanging out, there was a fair amount of traffic into and out of the quarter-sized entrance there. 

The larger cluster at the top center had no bees coming and going...they were simply clustered there. 

The small group of bees at the far right upper corner numbered maybe a few more than what is in the picture...looking into that first section of wall via a crack below these bees we were not able to see any comb from our vantage point (might find some, though)....these bees were fanning their striped rears off.  If there is no comb in that section then they were simply trying to cool the cavities down.  Must be passage between the two sections.

I'm planning for a single colony, but think I'll throw a couple of extra boxes onboard "in case".  The problem will be if I use the Robo-vac on one colony I'll have it full of bees....I guess I can let my mentor show me how to take them without a vac, eh? Smiley

My mentor has only seen the pictures that ya'll have seen.  He thinks we need to work from the opposite side...same set up with sheet metal screens and plywood.  That side would be a little better protected from rain and sun.  We're doing the removal on the 15th so that gives me a week to get my stuff together.

And JP, thank you and Schawee for the videos that ya'll have posted...they're a tremendous help to many beekeepers and even folks like me!   Thanks.  Wink

Ed
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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2012, 07:27:04 AM »

Robo, when you say you figure the comb will be parallel to the plywood do you mean the plane of each comb will be parallel with the plywood?  Looking at where the owner had removed the hive last year the wax pattern remaining on the plywood  shows that they were spanning the cavity from plywood to plywood (he didn't put the plywood back on) which would've made that comb at a 90-degree angle with the plywood.  I asked the owner if he remembered if the comb seemed to stick to one piece of plywood more so than the other...he said he didn't remember one being apparently favored for attachment but that comb stuck to both sides as they removed the one piece of plywood.  

What size are the holes for the vacuum hoses?  I measured my old Craftsman 5.5hp vac and the actual connector (has the thumb latch on the vacuum end) measured 2.25" o.d.  The hose itself "seemed" to measure 2.5" but this was just holding a tape measure up against it so not up to NASA standards. Smiley  I've got another shop vac that I bought at one of those give-away-sales at Lowe's a few years back that's been sitting in storage that I've gotta check the hose diameter on...I think it's about the same as the Craftsman.

Yes, most times I find that they will draw the comb in the widest plane,  but off course when your dealing with bees,  nothing is a given.  The vac uses the standard 2.5" shop vac type hose.   I just emailed you the directions that will be with the vac, so you can read ahead of time.

Rob...
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« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2012, 11:19:57 AM »

That makes sense to me that the bees draw the comb in the dimension that gives them the largest comb.  I would think that with a tight fit three combs could hang in the cavity parallel to the plywood.  I refer back to Rule #1 (tnx G3!). Wink  We'll find out next Saturday!

I was wondering about something.  After the brood frames have been placed on top of the cut-out shim and the shim has begun to be withdrawn there will probably be stragglers gathering around the old comb area or onto the bee-vac itself.  Is it ok to run the vac some after the cut-out shim has been removed or in the process of being removed? 

I was thinking about ventilation.  When putting the brood box on top of the vac would installing a ventilated inner cover between the vac top and brood box be ok?  I was thinking that for the time following the cutout that the vac top could be removed and the ventilated inner cover could be strapped down as the top giving the bees plenty of ventilation...back at the bee yard just put a regular telescoping cover on top of this.  A day or so later when the vac bottom is replaced with a regular bottom board and the shim is removed a regular inner cover could be installed.  Worth the effort?  Was that explanation of my idea as clear as mud?  Undecided  Smiley

The long, narrow "crevice" nozzle appears to be the preferrred nozzle for bee vac'ing.   Are any other nozzles handy to have...maybe the small fan-shaped one for covering slightly wider swatches of comb area?  Or does the larger intake area require an increase in the pressure/velocity inside the hose that is too high for the bees' welfare?

Ed
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2012, 11:50:55 AM »

Somethings that I'm curious about in vacuuming a cluster like the large cluster of bees at the top of the wall.  I understand that the clusters are gently vacuumed just as bees on the combs are but... 

*When vacuuming a cluster like that do you start at the top surface towards the middle of the cluster or do you start around the perimeter of it? 

*Is there any problems to be aware of if a clump of bees breaks free and is sucked into the vac?  Clogged hose?   Would a clump being sucked up denote possibly too much vacuum?

*Would it be best to nudge them with the crevice tool or with the open, round end of the hose?

Probably some mundane questions, but figure the source.   grin

Thanks,
Ed
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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2012, 04:43:05 PM »

The comb being build for the largest surface are makes great human sense but it has to have something to hang from. Sometimes the shortest distance makes more bee engineering sense. We will see.

The top of the bee vac has a ventilated top built into it, just remove the sliding top and PRESTO!!

The swarms or clusters of bees I have sucked up are mostly hanging on from the top and the rest of the bees are hanging on to each other. I like to just suck up a few at a time from the bottom and edges, if you start at the top and dislodge the ones that are hanging onto the structure there will be a big clump fall. Sucking up a big clump at one time can and will clog the hose, and they will pile up just inside of the bottom board preventing more bees from entering. Leave the vac running and give them a couple of minutes to move up into the frames of foundation or drawn comb.

I like to use the open end of the hose most of the time, crevice tool the other times, and even some homemade tools the rest of the time  Wink
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see my swarms and cut outs at https://www.youtube.com/user/soapy22bullet?feature=mhee

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!
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« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2012, 11:58:52 PM »

Thanks for the tips on vacuuming the clusters up, George, and for the info on the ventilated top.  I'm looking forward to the cut-out.  We'll find out which way the comb hangs next Saturday! Wink

Ed
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2012, 12:43:52 AM »

Trucks (mostly) loaded.  Gotta get some sleep.  Getting up in the morning and heading over to the dairy farm.

I have no idea if I've got what I need.  My mentor will probably look at all the stuff in the back of my truck look at me in dismay and say "You don't have a ____ in there."

"____" will be that very important thing that I'll probably forget...like my head.  rolleyes

Ed
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« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2012, 08:18:56 AM »

I sure no matter even if you forget something you can always fashion something out of duct tape and bailing wire.  grin

Good luck, and I'm looking forward to seeing pictures or even better video.
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Ron Babcock

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« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2012, 08:51:41 AM »

Good luck. Please let us know how it works out.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2012, 09:58:46 AM »

I inquired about electricity the first time that I spoke with the owner it was one of those "of course we have electricity" answers.  This past week the owner apparently decided to have the power meter moved and one of his hunting club customers/buddies to do the re-wiring of a service box.  rolleyes   Anyhow, we didn't attempt the removal.  I probably should have persevered without electricity but I had studied up exactly ZERO on doing that.  My mentor has done vac-less bee removals before but we didn't even have a bee brush with us.  Well, spent lots of time getting gear together, truck loaded, getting there, unloading, hunting electricity plug to plug, phone calls, reloading, etc.,.  The guy doing the "electrical" work (some type of funky connection to his camper that seemed a bit non-standard to me) showed up.  After talking with him the "30 minutes" to get electricity that the owner had mentioned turned into at least "an hour" from the guy doing the "electrical work"...and this included burying the electrical wire in conduit.  We heard all of this and loaded the truck back up and left.  We were there three hours, plus equipment preparation, loading, unloading, reloading, and unloading again.  A rather aggravating trip.

I'm going to call the owner this afternoon and see about possibly salvaging the removal.  My problem is that he wants the bees gone by this coming Saturday...we're taking the granddaughters to the beach this weekend.  60-70 percent chance of rain is predicted for the first couple of days this week with Wednesday being the first clear day, but I really don't want to be in the itching stage from bee stings while out of the beach in the sun building sandcastles.

It was really a downer...basically killed the evening before detailing up my gear, finished loading early Saturday morning, got up there a little after 9am, piddled around unloading and assessing the situation, spent a substantial amount of time trying to find electricity (talk about a mess, I should've took pictures of that snarled wiring laying outside the pole barn), several phone calls to the owners voicemail, finally got in contact with him, then had to wait for him to get in touch with the "electrician", blah, blah, blah.  The owner didn't think we'd need electricity...duh, does he wonder why I inquired about electricity in the first place?  <sigh>

Maybe we can work something out on the bees.  He implied earlier that the bees had to go "one way or the other"...I'm pretty sure he was implying spraying them.  evil.  That's a good hive of bees...they were bringing in TONS of whiteish pollen...it impressed my mentor at the amount they were steadily bringing in.  Undecided

Ah well, we'll see what transpires this afternoon.

The failed bee remover...  Sad
Ed

PS...I hope the owner has good insurance because I was *not* impressed with the electrical work going on...helter skelter.
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