The West Palm Beach Honeybee Massacre
Well for those who have been following my moving bees
topic, I want to welcome you to the aftermath.
Here you will get the the good the bad and the ugly.
The basic notes:
The move is for all intents and purposes is complete.
I have a profound respect for those who remove bees for a living.
I do not think I did a great job, but for a first time I didn't have high
The idea of moving the bees early in the morning was great. It gave me plenty of time to do this.
The rubber bands were great made it very easy to work with the comb material.
The smoker was great for keeping the bees calm.
The bee vac was a great device. I brought it over just in case. I am glad I did. I needed it. The bee vac also had some bad. See that further down
The langstroth hive was very nice to work with.
I have no idea if I have the queen or not.
The hive was much larger than I expected. I could not hold all the comb.
I have brood comb that got wasted. I should have had two deep hive boxes.
The bee vac should have a flexible hose over a clear one. You may lose bees due to the rough edges in a flex hose but you need the flexibility to avoid the ugly issue that was caused.
The moving of the comb coated the bottom of the hive with honey, bees would get stuck in it. Survival of those is unlikely.
Probably 20%-40% of the bees are dead. Here is what happened. The bee vac hose went into a tight corner after I had sucked most of the bees into the vac and sucked in a piece of honey comb. The piece caused the bees to get coated with honey. No idea if the queen was in there. Most of those bees will probably not make it.
The nest was much larger than expected. The bees had two chambers of the boat only one was really accessible. I realized there was a second after I had thought I had most of the bees. I saw them come crawling out of a small gap. I realized I was going to have to cut a hole in the inner hull of the boat. When I did. Ifound a second part to the nest. The areas where so dark that even with a flashlight I have no idea if I ever got the queen or if I did if she survived.
It took about six hours to do this. I started at 6am. The bees only really got worked up when I cut away comb.I cut away comb with a long bread knife I kept in hot water. I placed several pieces of comb into each frame section. Most of the bees stayed in groups in the boat hull. I would suck them into the bee vac with the intent of adding them to the hive after I had cleaned most of the stuff out. While I was cleaning out the area of the boat of crap. I noticed bees seem to be building up in the area. I watched them and saw them crawling in from a small hole by a different chamber. I thought I could lift up this section but I found that I could not, I discussed it with the owner and we agreed to cut an opening in the inner hull. I took my sawzall and cut an opening. Sure enough here was a whole second section to the nest. It was a very tight space. I took the bee vac and sucked them in. A piece of comb broke off during this process . I didn't think anything of it. I removed the other pieces of comb this was brood pieces. I filled up the last of the frames but I had two pieces left overeven after I removed some honeycomb to make room for brood pieces but I didn't have room for it all. When I moved the hive to my yard put the two pieces near the entrance in the hopes that maybe the bees could relocate the eggs on their own( pipe dream I know).
I got as many of the bees as I could there was still a small area where I could not get them all. It was a very thin space. I took a wire hanger and use it to try and sweep them toward the bee vac hose. Once I had caught as many as I could. I moved the hive into my yard. I put branches in front of it. I then placed the bees on top of the hive this is when I realized that the honey has coated them. I got the bees into the slats and covered the hive.I put a feeder in front of the hive and the two remaining brood combs. I took the honey combs I removed to make room for the other brood combs and gave them to my wife. The nest is probably 50/50 brood/honey.
After getting everything moved and the boat as cleaned out as I could, I sealed the entrance. There were probably 100 bees that flew around the area. The rest stayed with the hive but did not venture out. I am leaving them alone for a while. The weather is cold. They are not in great shape and I can only hope there is a queen.
I have to admit as much as this is a botch job, in a small way it was an
incredible adventure. If I had to do it again I know I could better, but I am
not planning on being a professional bee remover.
I don't have the entrance minimizer in place right now I want the bees to find there way in and out and also the honey there will probably cause it to stick.
Throw in suggestions , comments, and ideas.
You can view the pics here:http://www.understudy.net/images/bees/index.html