Ok, here's finally a short report on the bee removal....
We started about 9:30am last Wednesday morning. Thankfully we had electricity and the sheet of plywood came off the metal studs without a problem. We sat the plywood down and spun it around so the inside would face out.
On the near end of the plywood you can see comb that was being built adjoining the rest of the comb structure. We chose the correct side to remove as very little comb was fastened to this piece of plywood.
That is Mr. Nolen, my mentor, taking some pictures with his phone. Using my cheap Harbor Freight temperature gun we petty closely located where the colony was inside the cavity...on the cool morning the temperature difference between bees and no-bees areas on the plywood was around 5 degrees. Of interest is that there were several small hive beetles in the cavity. Naturally there were some within the comb area but what was really interesting was probably 30 or 40 of them at the lower, center edge of the plywood grouped together in a circle...there were a number of bees down there that apparently had them corralled.
Here is a closer shot of the colony. One of the combs fell as we were removing the sheet of plywood. These bees are very calm and gentle.
Mr. Nolen cutting out a comb...
Like I said, these bees are very gentle. We smoked the entrance (a 1" hole) lightly to begin with and after that the smoker only sat on the floor several feet away for the rest of the removal...it had gone out by the time we finished. Mr. Nolen wore his inspector's jacket and I wore a white t-shirt and cloth hat w/veil. I got a few stings but the trade off with being cool was worth it. Before we removed the plywood Mr. Nolen was standing in the beeline of the incoming pollen laden bees...they didn't bother stinging but rather built up a significant number behind him as they waited to get to their entrance...they were bringing in lots of whitish pollen and I saw a few with some pink.
Here is Mr. Nolen examining some comb...we started out looking for the queen. The bee-vac was something new for him to work with, he'd done many removals in the past with a bee brush and stated when we were through that the bee-vac is the way to go.
Mr. Nolen was a little bashful with the vac, which was probably a good thing. We only had one major blockage in the hose and I think a large festooning clump of bees did that. We worked through that and eventually he acquired a good speed with the vac. The whole time we were looking for the queen.
So, Mr. Nolen vacuumed and cut loose comb, I detail vac'd some and cut and rubber-banded brood comb into frames. Something else that was interesting is that there were plenty of drones and drone brood along with regular worker brood. So, midway through September and still producing drones.
Here's a shot of a frame of brood I rubber banded. I managed to get seven medium frames of open and capped brood.
We had removed all the large pieces of comb and the only thing left was honey comb in the channel of the metal frame work running across the top. I worked myself down it, peering into it and digging a little honey comb out. Finally I spotted her and got her in a queen catcher...it was nothing but clean-up then.
Nice, healthy leather colored lady. Sorry, I didn't get a shot of the queen but I might be a able to dig one up from another guy's camera that dropped in off and on.
This is a shot of the bees moving up after we removed the combining screen.
And finally, this is a shot (either that evening or the next morning) after the hive has been carried home and the bees are trying to figure out just what type of tornado that was that transported them to this unfamiliar area. I set the hive/trap on a pair of concrete blocks positioned behind the leveled ones that were to be the permanent stand...this way I only had to move them forward a couple of feet to there final position.
Here is where the story gets rough...
That evening as I'm putting things away, straightening up, checking on the bees, etc., my back starts to hurt. I figure I've done messed up in moving the four supers and equipment by myself...loading and unloading. Things go downhill from there...stomach virus with a capital V.
I will spare the graphic details, but the next 24 hours I was in bed, couldn't hardly walk the next day. I did manage Friday to put the brood box down on it's permanent bottom board and stand and set the supers on top with a cover and 1/2 gallon of syrup. But, Friday night was another bad night. Now today, a week later, I still feel flushed, aching, and completely zapped....I don't think I felt that bad when I cartwheeled a 300zx down through a river bottom back in the mid-80's and laid there all night before being found. What is this bull going around?
And that, my friends, is why there was a delay in reporting. Oh, I forgot to mention there was even a trip to the beach in the middle (the Friday night part was in Destin...oh boy!!!).<sigh> But we had a good time Saturday and Sunday (and I felt good).
Anyhow, I survived and the bees appear to be surviving. They're working on the second 1/2 gallon of syrup but we also have a goldenrod flow on so they're getting something there, too.
I know I forgot stuff, but that's it in a nutshell. I got a call today about bees in a lady's soffit and attic. I told her I would come look at it this afternoon, but truthfully...I'm really not up to dealing with it. We'll see...