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Author Topic: moving bees  (Read 7097 times)
Understudy
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« on: December 26, 2005, 01:34:20 PM »

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope Santa did not bring anyone coal.
I am a big honeybee fan. I was very happy when I saw lots of them running all over my plants and flowers. I kept remarking to my wife that the nest shouldn't be to far away with the number of bees that are in our yard.

Well today I found out where they are. They are in my neighbors boat. They have formed a hive under one of the seat chambers just below deck. Now my neighbor is being understanding of the bees but he would really like to finish working on the boat. The problem is the deck of the boat is the flight path in and out of the hive. So he is not real keen on being the subject of bee aggression.

Problem number two is I would like to move them into my yard. Which is next door. That means less than 2 miles from the orginal hive location. So if I don't do this properly as I understand it they will move right back to the boat.

Here is my world conquest plan. This is not a smal hive it is probably 50,000 + bees. They are actively building a large nest. The smell of honey is incredible. I want to put up a piece of wood in front of the entrance to the below deck area with a small hole in it. I want to then put a langstroth hive right in front of the plywood. This so that the bees can keep their current orientation. I then want to gradualy move the hive into my yard.

Here are my questions:
1. What size langstroth hive should I use? (shallow, medium, deep)
2. How long should I leave the hive in front of the opening to allow for the transfer of operations to the new hive?
3. How gradually should I move the hive in order to end up with them in my yard? The total move will be about 60'.
4. What will happen to the current queen?

Oddball ideas I am thinking of sticking with. Do most of this at sunset or shortly after when I suspect most of the bees will be home. I plan on doing a separate feeding for the bees of granulated sugar just after a move. I figure a well fed bee is a happier bee(relatively speaking).

Here is what I don't want.
I don't want dead bees in his boat. The honey and nesting material left behind with dead bees will not smell good after a while and if I can make the bees transfer most of it less to clean up.
Bees that are looking to make an example of me. If I piss them off in a major way I suspect that this move will be very difficult and they will remember who caused the problems.

Here are some outside issues.
His boat is still going to have a lot of crap in it after we are done with this. What is the best way for him to be able to clean it up? (boat owners here please speak up)

Current plans are to get the hive, bee keeper outfit and a smoker to help with the move.

If you have noticed a huge gaping flaw in my plan or just have some helpful hints please speak up.

Living in West Palm Beach, Fl.


Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2005, 02:47:25 PM »

I have moved bees. Suggestions for consideration.
If the boat can be moved. (Similar method used by fellow beekeeper for a hive in an old abandoned car.)

1. Observe the points of entry the bees use. Move the boat during dusk or non active hours. Before moving the boat seal off the exits with screen to prevent them from escape. Leave the screens on for a day or two after you move them. This will allow their navagational senses to re orient.
2. If the boat is trailered move the boat to your relative new location where you want the hive. Allow them to settle down for about a week before you remove them from the boat.
3. Meanwhile construct an in line bee vac and prepare a swarm hive.
4. Once they have aclimated to their new location, a few days, move them into the capture hive and move the boat away from the area until you can clean it up.
5. Clean out the combs and wash with lots of hot water. Install a pad of fishers bee quick or other scent or scent mask in the boat chamber to discourage them from returning. Seal the entrances.


Good luck.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2005, 02:57:18 PM »

>Problem number two is I would like to move them into my yard. Which is next door. That means less than 2 miles from the orginal hive location. So if I don't do this properly as I understand it they will move right back to the boat.

If you get them moved into a box there and settled in (a day or two) and then move the whole hive to your house with a branch in front of it a few bees will go back for a day or two but then, most likely, they will settle in at your house.

>Here is my world conquest plan. This is not a smal hive it is probably 50,000 + bees. They are actively building a large nest. The smell of honey is incredible. I want to put up a piece of wood in front of the entrance to the below deck area with a small hole in it. I want to then put a langstroth hive right in front of the plywood. This so that the bees can keep their current orientation. I then want to gradualy move the hive into my yard.

How are you going to get the bees and comb out of the boat?

>1. What size langstroth hive should I use? (shallow, medium, deep)

It's irelevant to removing the bees but relevant to what you want to keep them in.  I converted to all mediums and then to all eight frame mediums, so I would use eight frame mediums.  I prefer a 48 pound full box to a 90 pound full box.

>2. How long should I leave the hive in front of the opening to allow for the transfer of operations to the new hive?

They will not transfer to your hive just because it's in front of the entrance.  They MIGHT, if they run out of room in the seat, store some honey there.  It's doubtful they will EVER build a brood nest there.  A cone might work, if you can stop all other exits and you can make the cone just the right size to let them out and not back in.  Otherwise, a cutout is usually the most effective method, but that would require dissasembling the seat and cutting out the brood comb and tying it into frames.

>3. How gradually should I move the hive in order to end up with them in my yard? The total move will be about 60'.

Go for it.  To it all at once and put a branch where they ahve to fly through it to get out.  This will trigger reorientation.  Otherwise what other people do (and I have never done) is move them two feet at a time.

>4. What will happen to the current queen?

With your current plan, the same thing that will happen to the bees they will all stay in the boat.  Assuming you use the cone method so they can't return to the boat and you put a queen in the hive, then maybe you'll get them to accept the new queen.  I've never had a lot of luck with this unless there is some brood and the queen is free in the hive.

>Oddball ideas I am thinking of sticking with. Do most of this at sunset or shortly after when I suspect most of the bees will be home.

I never work bees at dark.  I'd start in the morning so you have time to get done before dark.

> I plan on doing a separate feeding for the bees of granulated sugar just after a move. I figure a well fed bee is a happier bee(relatively speaking).

Bt they don't eat granulated sugar unless there's nothing else available.  They will suck up syrup quite quickly.

>Here is what I don't want.
I don't want dead bees in his boat. The honey and nesting material left behind with dead bees will not smell good after a while and if I can make the bees transfer most of it less to clean up.

Again, your best bet is a cutout and you remove it all. If you get most of the bees out with a cone and get them to move into the hive and then IF you can incite them to rob the old hive out without moving back home there will still be a lot of dead bees from the fighting associated with the robbing.

>Bees that are looking to make an example of me. If I piss them off in a major way I suspect that this move will be very difficult and they will remember who caused the problems.

Not for very long.  Probably as long as it takes for you to wash the smell of the alarm pheromone off your clothes.

>Current plans are to get the hive, bee keeper outfit and a smoker to help with the move.

Smoke is usually helpful in keeping them calm.  It will move some bees but won't get them to abandon their hive.

This is all best done in the Spring, of course, but I don't know how long a nectar flow there is there.  Maybe year 'round?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2005, 03:40:26 PM »

Okay I am grateful for the information. This answers some questions and brings up others.
So first more information.
Moving the boat is not really an option, it is a good idea but the thing we want is the bees out of the boat so he can finish working on the boat.

Questions:
1. There is no way I can cause the bees to move their currrent honey stores to a new location?

2. What size does the cone have to be?

3. What is an aggression test that I read on other section of the forum? and what is the best way to conduct one? I figure this will help me with knowing how bad it can get.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Finsky
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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2005, 04:23:07 PM »

First it should be a nice day when you start working. It it is evenging or threath of rain,  even nice hive will come mad.

It they give to you stings, stop working. The smell of poison get them mad. Take brood cake one by one and see what happens.

if your calculation 50 000 is right, 2 langstroth boxes will be full of bees. It is 10 lbs bees.

You should first cut all brood away and move them to new location aside that old place. When the last comb have vanished bees will notice that they hive has moved and they start to search it.

OR is it possible to move tha boat?
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gottabee
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« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2005, 09:06:43 PM »

Sounds like you could use some expert help. Here is a link to the florida state beekeepers association. There is a link to a chapter in Palm Beach. Most chapters have great people who will be glad to help.
http://www.floridabeekeepers.org/
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2005, 09:13:37 PM »

from under the boat seat?

Can you dismantle the seat and the underseat compartment as a unit and remove it from the boat?  If so, then you can then move the assembly to your desired location and then work on removing the bees from the seat/compartment assembly.

A bee vaccume would be good to have.

If the above is not an option you will have to get under the seat in the compartment and start cutting the comb loose from it's attachment points.
The comb will be attached, hopefully only at the top, or, hanging down and free from other attaching points on the side of the comb. If the comb is hanging in rows that would be ideal.

Things to consider about the comb. There should be some comb with possibly all honey. Some comb could be empty or partially empty. Some of the comb should have brood, honey and pollen and there you should encounter the most bees. If there are the number of bees that you state there should be lotsa comb for sure. I doubt that a novice can accurately judge bee numbers in feral colonies though. Furthermore once the comb cutting begins the honey smell will waft in the air and there will be more bees than you can imagine buzzin around from other feral or kept hives nearby.

The empty comb is easy, cut it away and place in a bucket for melting later.
The comb filled and capped with honey should be carefully handled and placed in some sort of pan high enough for the comb to stand against the side for your consumption or feeding the bees later. Avoid crushing the honey filled combs as much as posible and keep the container covered or robbing and bees feeding will drive you nuts

Once you are at the point of cutting out the comb the bees will be really really a-buzzin round ya. Those bees will fly around like in a swarm if they are as numerous as you state, and, if you have never done this before you will probably be distracted and uncomfortable with your situation. Believe me,  it will be distracting if you are not well protected and stung.

If you think you can master the technique then you must take some of the comb with brood, pollen and honey and place same into an open frame and somehow make it stand up and stay in place with heavy duty rubber bands slid around the frame. If the comb is long a deep frame is recommended and you cut and trim to fit snug. If the comb is short a medium frame will serve better.

As you cut the comb away the bees will travel away and towards the remaining comb or into some hiding places, if available, to get away. Some, or, maybe many of the bees will stay with the brood comb and
if you are careful, they can be placed in the box with the comb you have inserted in the open frames.

You have to cut ALL the comb and fill as many frames as possible with it, preferably brood, pollen and honey filled.

Now for trapping the bees and placing them into the box??? after all the comb is cut out.  That will depend on the working area and the under the seat location you describe does not appear to be very roomy, but a combination of brushing some of the bees into a container or scooping them with a wide scraper and pouring them into the hive box will start the tranfer.  If you  can place the box, with bottom and cover, near the colony area more than likely the remainding bees will march in the box if you knock the bees down to a floor or flat surface. Probably hard to do in a boat in my minds eye. Failing that. just leave the box overnite in the boat and see what happens. The bees will congregate/cluster around the queen so be careful when brushing. If you can find and capture the queen, place her in the box and your bee removal will more than likely succeed.

I have, I hope, provided some techniques that I have used that have worked for me. I do know boats but have not done any removals from them. I have removed bees from pop-up campers though.

As far as stings go, well you and/or your clothes will be stung and that cannot be avoided IMO. You could try spraying a light spritz of sugar water on the area, comb and bees which could help calm things. Smoke has not always worked for me when busting up a feral colony.

You will kill seemingly many bees and that can't be avoided so
If you are squeamish about killin bees then this project is not for you.

Good luck
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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2005, 11:09:46 PM »

Okay it seems very logical to start this in the early morning hours before the bees are active, so I will do that.

Thanks for the information on the local chapter of beekeepers in my area I will be making the call to them.

As far as the boat seat goes moving the seat goes that is a no. The seat is part of the fiberglass frame. It has a fiberglass hinged top. There is a seat cushion on top of that. There is a small gap of space between the hinged seat cover and the seat chamber. That small crack of space is where the bees come in and out.

I have a 15 gallon shop vac can I modify that to be a bee vac?

I am hoping that it is not attached to the top because the way to access it is to lift the hinged seat cover which means everything will come up at once.

I am not worried about getting stung the desire is to try to minimize it with protective gear and killing as few bees as possible. The less dead bees the   less likey they are to get angry off.

The advice on how to deal with the combs is great and I am going to take it.  

Keep throwing ideas and information at me, it is all greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2005, 06:44:17 AM »

>1. There is no way I can cause the bees to move their currrent honey stores to a new location?

The most reliable and straight forward way to remove the bees is to remove the comb.  The only way to remove the comb is to get access to it by disassembling the seat.  Once you do that you just cut the comb out as outlined above and tie the brood into frames and scrap the honey comb for honey.  I don't like bee vac.  They kill a lot of bees and a brush and a knife work fine for removing a hive of bees.

>2. What size does the cone have to be?

The cone method is not so reliable.  But if you'd care to try it, it involves taking a piece of screen wire and forming it into a cone shape.  I usually use some wire to stictch it together and then staple it onto the surface surounding the exit so they come out the cone instead.  The tip needs to be tight enogh to let a drone out but not let a worker in.  If you unravel the last comple of rows of wire you can get some wires that are flexible but stick out so a drone can squeeze through coming out but none can squeeze through going in.  Search on "cone method" and I'll bet you'll find some discussions on it.  I have used it to reduce the population of a feral hive many times by brushing the bees clinging to the cone and moving them more then 2 miles away and repeating until the population is more managable.  All attempts to actually get them to abandon the hive, have failed when I've tried it.

>3. What is an aggression test that I read on other section of the forum? and what is the best way to conduct one? I figure this will help me with knowing how bad it can get.

Normal EHB can get pretty angry when you're tearing apart their home.  I would wear a full bee suit with a zip on viel and duct tape on the zipper "gap" at your neck and around your ankles and gloves.  AND plan to ge stung.  Sometimes they are suprisingly docile, but usually tearing their home apart will get them worked up.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2005, 11:45:05 AM »

I have a 15 gallon shop vac can I modify that to be a bee vac?

Sure thing. In fact you can vacuum them right into a modified hive. Dont forget to plug all the hive exits if you use this idea and install a screen on the inside of the vacuum end to prevent them from going on up the vacuum hose.
Here is a helpful link

http://www.beesource.com/plans/beevac/index.htm

I would love to see your results. TAKE PICTURES!
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2005, 10:25:36 PM »

The bee vac is a great idea, Thank you for the link. I will definitley use one o f those in my efforts to relocate the colony.


Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2005, 07:04:34 AM »

You might want to take a look at this:

http://www.beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=2775&highlight=bee+vac
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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2005, 09:56:43 PM »

Nice link. I like the idea of the clear hose that is smooth on the inside. However I may use that with the double box method. I think it is easier to transfer the bees with the double box method.
I haven't had my shipment arrive yet. However I may take this weekend and build the double box. That way when the rest of the equipment comes in I am ready.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2006, 10:03:21 PM »

Okay small update to the plans.
I received my supplies today. I have a deep hive box with 10 frames
A smoker and bee veil and some gloves. Over the weekend I built a bee vac container out of two 5 gallon buckets.  I am going to paint the hive with white latex paint tomorrow.

The plan is possibly to don the gear and do an inspection of the boat before the weekend. Then early Saturday morning give the bees their eviction notice.

Questions is how bad is it to inspect a bee hive at dusk. This is usually when I get home?

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2006, 07:37:35 AM »

>Questions is how bad is it to inspect a bee hive at dusk. This is usually when I get home?

They won't be in as good of a mood as they would be in the middle of a nice afternoon, but if your just looking they PROBABLY won't care.  But you don't know their demeanor until you meet them.  Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2006, 12:38:37 PM »

OMG!
I can't believe it I went into a bee's nest!
I could have sworn my parents said if I messed with a bee nest and got stung it was my own fault. I would probably get grounded if I wasn't 38 years old.
This was an incredible trip.  As I mentioned yesterday my items arrived and I was going to take an advanced look. I would also take some photos . Well I have done both. I used smoke like I was trying to get lung cancer but I did not get stung. They flew around me, but never really bothered me at all. It was like they were saying when you are done would close the door behind you.
The comb was attached to the bottom of the seat and side wall of the seat chamber. It took some real strength to lift it. I split some of the comb in the process. It leaked honey eveywhere. The boat is going to require some serious cleaning. I think I overestimated my orginal count of bees it is probably around 20,000 which is less than half of my orginal estimate but it was my first guess. I also took about 10 minuets and cleaned a lot of obstacles out of the way for the weekend cleaning. So when I go to move the bees this weekend I am not tripping all over everything.

Okay please make comment on what you see in the pics I am sorry for the poor quality but I was nervous.

If you click on the full size you can probably make out the details a little better.

http://www.understudy.net/images/boat_pics/index.html

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2006, 12:46:41 PM »

Quite a small colony. What about 10 000 bees? About one half of Langstroth box?


Strangely dark brown honey and brown combs. Are you going to fix those combs inside frames? Did they have brood?
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« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2006, 01:26:10 PM »

Looks like a clean, easy cutout.  Forget the beevac.  Cut the combs loose with the bees on them and tie them gently in the frames.  The queen should be on the comb somewhere, so be careful with it.  Leave the hive there for 24 hours.  If you got the queen, the bees should mostly be in the hive by then.  If they all go back into the seat, the queen is still in there most likely.  After 24 hours, close the hive up at dark and move it home.  Use Michaels branch trick to get them re-oriented.
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« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2006, 01:39:31 PM »

I am not sure about the brood.
No bee vac  needed , ok will do.

Keep those comments coming.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2006, 06:38:22 AM »

If you fix comb into open frames you should do so standing the comb up-right or just as you removed it from under the seat.

Comb is built with the cell slightly slanted upwards, if that makes sense.

If the comb is not wide enough to fill a frame you can piece two or more sections in the frame. The bees will, if you succed, glue the comb sections to the frames and to each other.  They will even build comb to fill in empty spaces sometimes.  You want to try and keep the comb as flush as possible with the frames.

The colony looks small.
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