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Author Topic: The West Palm Beach Honeybee Massacre  (Read 6175 times)
Understudy
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« on: January 07, 2006, 10:35:28 PM »

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
expectations.

The good.
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.

The bad
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.

The ugly:
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.

The story

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
 
Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Finsky
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2006, 03:43:27 AM »

What a job. Congratulations that you made it, what ever it happened. Bee vac was mysterious to me. When you move combs to hive bees walk after and queen too.
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2006, 08:18:54 AM »

Seems to me that you would do better at taking pics, posting same on the net and generally working with computors. huh Good job you did there.

The one pic of you dumping bees from the bucket onto the frames seems to have lotsa dead bees? If you have their comb installed in the box. dumping the bees near the hive entrance/landing/bottom board would have been better. The live bees would have entered the hive and the dead ones would not be clogging the box.

Now that you have dumped the bees on the frames/into the hive, you should lift the deep box from the bottom board and dump the dead bees which have fallen onto the bottom board. Normally the bees remove their dead sisters/partners but this load of dead bees that is probably there in the box is a bit much.

It is best to have someone helping when doing this cut the comb work. One person cutting out the comb and the helper inserting same into the frames.

Granted the location of this colony did not make for an easy transfer. Usually difficult and hard to access locations are not worth the effort. It would have been best to just cut all the comb out, and expose the location to the air and let the bees relocate themselves or just die off. They were going to be destroyed in any event so...

If you didn't get the queen, the workers will produce  a queen if there is some open brood/larvea.  However the workers may select larva that is too old and this can produce an intercaste queen which is no good. If there is viable larva, about one  day old, or, there abouts, they may well produce a viable queen???  Sad

Well this was a learning experience for you and just chalk it up as that.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2006, 09:19:01 AM »

You can't really imagine what you're up against until you do it.  I'm sure you learned more in five minutes than all of us told you. Smiley

As far as the bees being wet.  This may not be from honeycomb, it may be from the bees getting hot and stressed int he vacuum.  When they do, they regergitate honey and end up all sticky. That's why I don't use bee vacs even though I have two of them.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2006, 02:00:30 PM »

it's always fun doing the first removal isn't it  shocked , I have done only 7 removals so for and that was this past year, only 1 removal did I find the queen ( well my wife found 2 queens in that hive after I removed all the comb and we were vacuming bee's) seems every queen in those hive would leave the comb and I never used a smoker doing a removal, you have to look for a small clust after you remove all the comb and most the bee's, I have had to get a small board to tape to my hose so I could reach a cluster like that, it was about 3 feet from the comb.  Good job and wish you luck on future removals.
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Shizzell
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2006, 02:16:50 PM »

Just make sure they don't swarm again Smiley Give them plenty of room. Nice job though  wink
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Understudy
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2006, 02:38:36 PM »

Okay it is just past 2:30 pm EST here. I decided it would be a good idea not to mess with the bees for at least 24 hours after I moved them. I went out to my yard to take a look and now I am not certain what has happened. Either they are preparing to swarm and go someplace else which is bad. Or they are being taken over by another group of bees. There are bees flying everywhere. The side of my hive is covered in bees. Any idea on what is going on? My guess is they are looking to move.

You can see pics here:
http://www.understudy.net/images/aftermath/index.html

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2006, 02:58:09 PM »

Quote from: Understudy
Any idea on what is going on? My guess is they are looking to move.



They have not queen, their mind are uppset and they like to return their original place.

It is better to put the box to the boat and bees go into your box because combs are there. Then you must move it so far that they cannot come back.
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2006, 03:03:26 PM »

Finman is right ( no queen), I had 2 removal hives do the same thing and they had no queen so I went back to the houses the next day and 1 had a cluster about the size of a hard ball were the comb use to be the other I think I killed some how, I would get the bee vac and go back to the boat because the queen would be there in a cluster of bee's that you left, the queen   always seem's to leave the comb when being removed especially if you use a smoker.
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2006, 03:21:07 PM »

I went back to the boat. Nothing just a bunch of bees flying loose. When I opened the tarp thought the bee traffice went nuts. I closed it back up. I think I am going to order a queen.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2006, 03:44:43 PM »

if the queen is still in the boat and there is any kind of foraging going on they could rebuild, the guy that owns the boat might kill them or find another hive there in a few month's or maybe weeks.
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2006, 03:52:38 PM »

I talked to an apiary supplier. He said if you can't find the queen in the boat you will have to see if they make one out of the brood. I noticed that earlier in the posts. But I have to admit seeing all those bees on the side of my hive made me very nervous. I am going to leave it alone and not do anything. including freak out (whoops to late).  So I will leave the bees alone. Cross fingers and toes and hope.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2006, 04:03:17 PM »

Understudy, if you want to , you could wait till dark and go back to the boat and see what kind of cluster you got left and maybe get her then, just a idea.
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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2006, 08:15:27 PM »

Okay I went back in to the boat after dark. There was a clump of bees there but again because of the incredibly tight space I could not tell for sure if there was a queen. I could not get a brush and bucket into the space so I went witht he vac and adjusted the air flow adjuster on the bee vac to about 3/4 power. I got most of the clumb of bees. I then put them into the relocated hive.  I also found another opening, in the section under the instrument panel gave them access to the outside. I have now sealed that up also.

I looked in the bucket to see if the queen was there. No obvious signs and the bees started flying out of the bucket so I closed the lid and then moved them to the relocated hive. Even though it is dark and cold the bees are still hanging on the outside of the hive. I hope that the queen is in this bundle.

You can see pics of the clump of bees at the aftermath link. I simply added them to the existing pics.

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

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2006, 08:26:07 PM »

well I hope you got her that time, atlest you did all you could do, with some luck the bees might be acting different tomorrow. good luck
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« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2006, 03:30:26 PM »

understudy, how the bee's today, do you think you got the queen last night?
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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2006, 05:31:24 PM »

Okay, I have to spill some details here.
Sunday night we went in and got that last clump I hoped the queen was in it but I could not tell. I had to leave for work today. Before I left I lifted the hive off the base and swept out the dead bees and crap off the bottom piece. There were still bees on the side of the hive but it was still very early and barely light so I made no assumptions and went to work. I just got home at about 5:15pm EST (GMT +5) and there was a clump of bees at the base of the barrel, on the friggen ground. I have no idea what to do with them. There are still bees in the hive I opened up the top and swept away any dead bees and closed it. I did not look in the frames. I am trying too minimize the amout of choas I cause. I am going to guess the bees on the ground mean no queen but I don't know if anything is happening with the brood hive. I have to admit I would seriously consider thorazine if it was offered.

Questions:

What do I do with the bees on the floor?

I have updated the aftermath page with pics.
http://www.understudy.net/images/aftermath/index.html

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2006, 06:02:04 PM »

Quote from: Understudy

What do I do with the bees on the floor?


Take barrel off and put the hive on ground besice clumb. Bees go inside themselves.
It is cold and  they do not know what to do. Hit the barrel that bees drop on ground. You may put newspaper page on them that bees are in warm. So they can move better.
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« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2006, 10:55:30 PM »

I agree with finsky on this. Put the hive on the ground, I bet there won't be any clumps on the ground the day after you do that.  Then you can move it back on top if you want, but I think the barrel is really too high to be a hive stand, once you start adding any bodies or supers, they will be over your head.
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2006, 07:27:41 AM »

The hive is on the ground. The bees have moved onto the newspaper I covered them with last night. They haven't gone back in. The clump is right next to the entrance with the newspaper.  

So my question is this, how long will it take them to get a queen from the brood nest if they can make one? ( I suppose I could google this, but I will ask you first )

Sorry no pics, maybe later today. I am off to work.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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