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Author Topic: So I have this colony in my soffit I want to keep until spring...  (Read 1263 times)
JWK
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« on: September 23, 2012, 03:38:30 PM »

For those that responded or might remember, I'm the one who needed a bee suit asap.  That problem was solved by a beek friend of mine who graciously loaned me one of hers.

I got the yellow jacket colony out.  That was not fun.  I did fine for the initial clean-out.  I got the soffit removed and luckily their colony was just before the honey bee colony.  I pulled out the paper-like comb and vacuumed up most of the yellow jackets as they swarmed around the area.  Didn't get stung once.  I had long johns on and sweat pants over that with a hooded bee jacket.  Worked great.  Anyway, that night I went out to vacuum up the stragglers.  Hmmm, there weren't as many as I thought.  Oh, well.  Took care of them and then went into the house.  I started yelling and ripping my pants off as fast as I could.  Got stung five times on one leg.  After all this went back out to figure out what happened.  Why I got stung and why there weren't as many stragglers were both answered.  I had unknowingly left a few pieces of comb on the ground (I have a fairly thick ivy-like ground cover growing here and didn't see them).  These pieces were smaller than a fist but just crawling with yellow jackets.  Of course while I was out there looking up at where the nest used to be and wondering where the rest of them were, I was standing right in where the comb pieces were.  I'm lucky I only got five stings.


OK, so then I get to the honey bee colony this morning while it was nice and cool (downright chilly for you southerners).  I got the soffit off and found the bees right away.  I was glad to see they had set up original house right at the end of the overhang.  BUT, they have started to build comb into the house area under our main floor.  This is still easily accessable, but I will need to cut out this new comb and seal off that area. Now once that is sealed off, the bees will have a space that is about 16" wide and 20 to 22 inches long by about 8 inches deep.  I will need to cover this and leave an entrance/exit slot for them.

1.  Is this enough space for them to last the winter?
2.  How wide should the opening be for the entrance/exit?
3.  The colony is now completely exposed underneath.  How much time (if any) do I have to get them covered up?  Night time temps are now down in the 40s.  I can tack some cardboard up there temporarily, but I plan on screwing in a fitted piece of plywood.

Any info or advice out there?

If all goes well I will be ready by spring to cut them out and move them to my own hive.

Thanks for any help.

 
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2012, 07:07:56 PM »

no advice on your project...but i would have waited for the YJ nest to die off over winter!!   evil
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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David McLeod
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 07:11:47 PM »

I'm with Kathy on the yj but on the bees just close her back up with a 1/2' or so entrance. I'm already scheduling my cut outs for spring.
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Evan W
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2012, 08:52:38 PM »

The bees will not waste precious honey building more comb this late in the year. Don't remove more than that is necessary. So whatever space they have now let them keep, if at all possible.
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JWK
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2012, 09:27:10 PM »

I had to take care of the YJ in order to reach the bees.  I have to do something about the bees because I cannot get at the comb if they continue to build farther inside the floor joist area in between the main floor and the basement floor.  I need to scrape that new comb out and seal off the area going to the inside and leave them to just the outside soffit area.  I talked to a beekeeper tonight who thought they will not have enough room on the outside area and it will be too cold and they will not have enough food.  This colony is from a mid August swarm.

I don't want to destroy the colony but I can't have them building inside my house without having a reasonable way of taking it out in the Spring.
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Evan W
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2012, 07:12:01 AM »

You might want to ask a few of the experienced members here on Beemaster. Just look at the removal forum.
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JWK
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2012, 08:40:46 AM »

Thanks, Evan.  I think I will try to contact a couple of the experienced members I find on the removal forum.  I have learned so much in just a couple of weeks from this forum it's almost unbelievable.

At this point I think I'm going to close them off from the weather and just give them shelter for the winter without removing any of the new comb or trying to close off the area going under the house.  I just went out and took a good long look at the original comb and new stuff.  Unlike the previous colony, this group is building their comb parallel to the floor joists.  They go five rows of comb before they run out of room and have to start over.  The new comb is still easily accessable and is only about 3 to 4 inches long from the top in the middle.  I'm thinking (from what limited knowledge I have gained so far) that they really won't be able to build much more comb before winter and I'm probably looking at what I'm going to be taking out in the spring right now for the most part.
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kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2012, 10:35:46 AM »

the will contract in size over the winter.  if you get at them early enough in spring, you should be able to easily remove them and with less mess.  by then you not only will probably have fewer bees, but you won't have so much honey to mess with.

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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
hardwood
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2012, 11:38:22 AM »

Just make sure you wait long enough for drones to fly in case you injure the queen.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
JWK
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« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2012, 04:00:59 PM »

the will contract in size over the winter.  if you get at them early enough in spring, you should be able to easily remove them and with less mess.  by then you not only will probably have fewer bees, but you won't have so much honey to mess with.



Thanks, Kathy.  That's pretty much what I figured at this point.
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JWK
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2012, 04:02:21 PM »

Just make sure you wait long enough for drones to fly in case you injure the queen.

Scott

Scott, can you tell me more about this and/or give me a link to help me learn more in this area?  Thanks.
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hardwood
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Location: Osteen, Fl (just south of Daytona)

Alysian Apiaries youtube.com/MrBeedude


« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2012, 06:28:52 PM »

Any colony that you remove and wish to keep there is always a possibility of injuring the queen during the process. If that happens the bees will need the resources to make a new queen and she needs to mate well...you need mature drones for that. I don't have to worry about it as much down here in FL as you do. Don't fret too much though, they start making drones as soon as the first pollen is available and the drones are mature in around 30 days.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
David McLeod
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 07:15:09 PM »

Don't worry about that section in the joists. It's pretty much to late in the year for them to build much more comb, in your area especially. If your nights are already in the forties they will go into winter with what they got on board now. I don't know your area but down here an August swarm wouldn't make it on there own without feeding heavy, maybe in a late fall with a strong goldenrod flow but not on an average year as this looks to be.
You will need to get in there as soon as it's warm enough to do so if you don't want more comb built though. You know your area better than I but down here our flow starts in late March with the first trickle of fruit tree bloom, usually wild plum. With nectar coming in they will be building comb in earnest.
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Georgia Wildlife Services,Inc
Georgia's Full Service Wildlife Solution
Atlanta (678) 572-8269 Macon (478) 227-4497
www.atlantawildliferemoval.net
georgiawildlifeservices@gmail.com
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