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Author Topic: Bees in a pole.  (Read 1178 times)
millipede
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« on: June 05, 2013, 12:07:01 AM »

I was asked today to relocate a hive that have taken up residence in a metal gatepost. The problems I am facing are as follows.
1. The post is heavy steel and immobile. I suppose if I owned a big enough tractor I could move it but I don't.
2. The top of the post has a flat steel disc welded to it.
3. It is anchored in a VERY large block of cement.

As well as what I wrote above, this is what I have to work with.
The post is approximately 10 inches in diameter. There is one hole about one inch in diameter at nearly the top of the pole and another hole that is fairly close to ground level. The bees are fond of using both entrances.
Actually, it is a truly bear proof hive lol.
 At some point in the next 30 days construction will begin on this site and I will need to have the bees gone by then.
Anyone have any ideas how to extract the bees from this pipe?
Would flooding them out work? Kind of force them out the top entrance into a trap or box?
 Maybe a leaf blower on the bottom hole and blow them out of the top hole into a waiting trap?
 Ideally I would like to get the bees out in a way that does not permanently harm the comb and see if I can cut the pipe after I get the bees out and use the comb in their new hive.
 I am open to any suggestions at this point.

Thanks
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BlueBee
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2013, 12:15:46 AM »

The bees are not going to easily abandon their comb and brood; that is a fundamental problem.  Enough smoke and commotion and you might get many of the bees out, but they’ll want to go right back in!  Sounds like you have time to do a trapout and save many of the bees (workers), but it’s unlikely you could save them all (queen) without some cutting tools.  I hate to say this, but sometimes the work required is hard to justify.
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millipede
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2013, 12:26:53 AM »

Yeah but I hate to have them killed.
I can cut down the pole, I just would rather the bees not be home at the time as I will be doing it with an angle grinder so it is going to take a while.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2013, 01:07:23 AM »

Bees don't like vibration either  grin
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2013, 01:17:56 AM »

maybe a bee vac, and also a bright light/probe in the other end, or a vac as you cut the pole at the bottom, allowing you to finish the job? how bad do you want them alive? are they aggressive, or fair?

I am not a swarm master, but I think thats probably how I'd go about it, or at least try. make the cut low and be aware of the heat maybe? and you don't have to totally sever the pole, merely enough to tip it over (slowly preferably) and get to the swarm.   then again maybe just cut a hole big enough to stick your bee vac inside?
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millipede
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2013, 02:28:27 AM »

They are pretty non aggressive. I was crawling all over the pole looking at ways to get to them and they just ignored me. Not even a head butt from the guard bees. I suppose living in a metal house makes them feel pretty invulnerable. lol
They have been there a while. The were washboarding while I was there. The area around the upper hole is nice and shiny while the rest of it is powdery yellow.
I am worried that if I can't get them out before I start hacking into it, they will just abscond with all the noise.
I suppose I could duct tape screen over the holes and then cut it off at ground level.
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BAH
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 08:12:39 AM »

I would smoke the top hole, while having a bee vac at bottom. I would do this until most of the bees are gone, then cut pole from top about a foot or two at a time. Then re-smoke and while having the bee vac continuously on rinse and repeat. If you don't need the pole. You may be able to save some of the comb and the Queen. Just my two sense!
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JackM
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 08:34:22 AM »

Sawszall.  Less vibration.  Do suit up.  Cut at bottom, leave upright but able to push over.  Might even do it late in the day, then let them chill overnight and get settled back in, and then push it over the next morning early and take it.
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iddee
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 08:37:54 AM »

The bees will not abscond while you are cutting. Even if they did, the queen is too fat to fly. They would cluster swarm style within a few feet of the pole. Cut the large top off and cover with plastic bag or other light material. Then cut bottom and take pole home, or cut window in pole and remove the comb and bees.
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 09:44:59 AM »

Rent a better tool.  A plumber's style portable band saw, or a carbide blade for cutting heavy metal, sawzall, etc
 
I would do it in two stages.  Cut the top off one day about 6" down, cap.  Cut through 3/4 of  the bottom.  If you do it in the evening with the entrance screened, you likely avoid any bee chaos.

Next day, remove as much of the comb as you can reach from the top with a fillet knife.  You likely can reach down 3 feet or more.  Transfer comb to frames.   Finish cut on the bottom.  Tip pole over, smoke out bees, and see if they migrate to the comb/box that you prepared or vacuum  the now exposed nest.  Final stage would be to reach up from the bottom and pull more comb.  Tip the pole so the comb direction is perpendicular and the comb shouldn't crush.
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WarPonyFarms
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 07:30:25 PM »

A heavy dose of honey robber in one hole would push many of them out the other.

I've had young hives march right into a hive body with the queen when pushed this way but have never tried it on a well established hive.  It would at least allow you to contain much of the work force for the extraction process.

Good Luck
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divemaster1963
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2013, 07:49:28 PM »

OK. It's time to go old school. check out how old timers handle bees in trees its called stumping. do the same. Use a portable bandsaw and cut it low to the ground. support the post. then slide a piece of plywood under. close the bottom hole off. leave for two days for them to settle. then just after sundown get some Friends and the screen seal the top entrance. lift the pole into the back of a truck will keeping the bottom sealed. strap it and drive it home. put it up in the yard supported and mount a platform around the top at the entrance to make a deck( the size of a deep. then let stay two days.then add a deep with a couple of frames to the outside. cover with roof and leave entrance. then add a full deep on top and add a section of brood. keep till winter and they will move up then take pole out and you have a very will established hive.


John  cool cheesy
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Vibe
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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2013, 07:58:39 PM »

A side grinder will cut the pole, and using the thin cutting discs will leave a kerf too small for the bees to get in or out of, as well as cutting much faster than standard grinding discs. If it were me, I'd probably screen the holes in the evening, cut through the pole at the base and leave 3 or 4 "tabs" around the pole. Then let the bees settle back down before cutting those tabs. Let the bees settle again before sliding a sheet of flat stock (cardboard, tin, plastic, etc.) across the base before taking the pole home to move the bees into a wooden hive. Or you could just take the pole home and block the open base, remove the screens over the openings and let them use the pole at your house for a while. Be careful, it's going to be heavy and hard for one person to manage I would think.

Looks like divemaster1963 and I posted very similar ideas at the same time.
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millipede
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 02:01:42 AM »

Thanks for the ideas. I might end up just cutting the pole and bringing the entire thing home if I can get enough help to set it in the truck. I should be able to work with it from there. I figure I will take it home and let the bees get used tot he new area for a while then either let them move or move them to a langstroth hive.
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hardwood
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2013, 10:37:21 AM »

I've got more of a "get-er-done" attitude. As iddee said, cut a window and take 'em out.

Scott
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2013, 11:54:45 AM »

if I can get enough help to set it in the truck.

If you lay it down in the truck, the comb will collapse. Leading to chaos and dead bees.  You need to transport the post upright.
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WarPonyFarms
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« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2013, 11:59:52 AM »

I agree with above... No use hauling the pole if you don't have to, it increases the window for errors or injury.
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millipede
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« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2013, 01:46:34 PM »

I do not have the tools to cut a window in 1/4 inch steel. I do have a hoist that I can lift the entire thing into my truck with as well as cargo securing systems for moving the pole upright. only power I will have at the site is what will run off the 1500 watt inverter in my truck. That severely limits what tools will be usable on site. So I am kind of stuck with something small like an angle grinder with cut off wheels.
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JPinMO
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« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2013, 08:56:45 PM »

millipede, keep us posted as to what you do; I'm curious to learn! Hubby and I are attempting a "trap-out" from a tree with a Cleo Hogan-style box that hubby made by modifying a deep. Problem is, it's 20 miles away.... ugh.

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millipede
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« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2013, 09:09:09 PM »

I plan of photos if not filming the whole episode. I will post a synopsis here and post the pics and what not on my bee blog. This is breaking new ground for me and is definitely worth keeping a record of, if nothing other than to review any mistakes I made and what I could do better.
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