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Author Topic: Gold Mine Cut Out  (Read 1194 times)
chux
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« on: June 24, 2013, 02:13:14 PM »

I started keeping bees this year, and am loving it. I really enjoy swarm catches and cut outs. I got a call from a commercial bee keeper friend, and he put me on the jack pot. An old house that the owner wants bees removed from alive, before they knock the building down. I went over there this morning and found at least 4 different colonies in the outer walls. There are holes about 3/4 inch, drilled in the wood paneling at intervals all the way around the house. The holes make a perfect entrance for bees. Opened the first one up this morning and found bees had built between the studs of the wall, from just above the floor level, all the way to the top of the wall. A good 8 feet. The top was full of honey. Tastes like grape. Very sweet.

I took a friend along who started keeping bees this year too. Filled his deep with beautiful brood comb. Lots of capped. Lots of uncapped larvae. Not sure if we got the queen. We'll get the box tonight after the stragglers come home. Now to find somebody to go back with me over the next couple of days, and get the rest. I know there are at least three more colonies, but there may be a fourth. There are two entrances pretty close together that are being used. May be one colony using both holes. Good times either way. Cut out the wall and don't worry about replacing it. Not having to crawl under a house for this one. Great.

One interesting note...All of the colonies but one are located on the North facing wall of the house. This house has a small yard and a thick stand of trees on 3 sides, including the north side. The south and east walls are nearly identical to the north facing wall. I wonder why they chose the north side, instead of the south? The exception is one colony on the corner where the north and west side meet. Looks like there is one colony on the South wall of the corner, and another colony on the west wall of the corner. Lots of bees at both entrances. 
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D Coates
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2013, 02:41:50 PM »

Sounds cool but I've got no explanation as to the hive locations.  Any pictures?
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chux
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2013, 08:09:22 AM »

Two corrections on the "gold mine."

After working on the second colony this evening, I discovered that the wall with the bees is not directly north. It must be North West. I got some of the afternoon sunshine. Also, there were indeed a total of 5 colonies. 2 down, 3 to go. When I arrived yesterday afternoon, the two on the corner of the house each had bees gathered around the entrance in a circle about the size of a basketball. The colony I cut out was a bit smaller. There is one more that is much smaller. Probably was a secondary swarm this season, just getting started. So they will probably have lots of new comb. I think I would be better off doing this colony early in the morning, before it starts warming up outside.?

The cutout yesterday took longer, since I was by myself. I had the bright idea of using my work-gloves to get started tearing out the wood below the colony. Leather on fingers and palm, but cloth on back. I smoked the bees, waited a minute, then put the flatbar in a gap and pulled on the board. It gave a bit, and bees started boiling out and onto my hands. I got stung through the cloth on the back of the gloves several times. Stings are itchy this morning. Anybody know what helps with that?

I got 7 deep frames full of brood. Lots of capped and uncapped. I also got an ice chest full of honey comb. Again, that grape flavor. I vacuumed over half a bucket of bees. I tried to vac less as I cut the brood comb out, looking for the queen. Never saw her in the brood comb. I believe when I smoked, she ran up into the honey comb. When I got up to the top of the honey comb, I was vacuuming bees and thought I caught a glimpse of the queen just as she was sucked in the hose. Maybe... When I poured the bucket of bees into the hive, I'm pretty sure I smelled lemongrass. I hope that wasn't my imagination. In the picture below, the colony farthest left is the one I took yesterday. Just to the right of it, is where the smaller colony is.   

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marktrl
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2013, 06:15:01 PM »

"Stings are itchy this morning. Anybody know what helps with that? "
About 5 to 7 days Smiley
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kathyp
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2013, 06:55:07 PM »

vagisil- extra strength.
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D Coates
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2013, 08:50:07 AM »

vagisil- extra strength.

... the double entendre is hilarious. 
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chux
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2013, 10:56:12 AM »

Ha Ha! I didn't catch that. I'll try not to whine too much.
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chux
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« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2013, 08:58:55 AM »

I went back yesterday to get the remaining 3 colonies out of the house. Very wet ground. Ended up getting stuck and having to be pulled out at 9:00 last night. But anyway...I decided to start on the colony facing the highway on the corner. Noticed there were fewer bees at the entrance than before. When I tore the bottom boards off, dead bees fell out. The bottom of the wall space was covered in dead bees. Some idiot must have sprayed them! I really really really hate that. I figure some teen or drunk saw the bees from the hwy and decided to have a little fun. I think they got more than they bargained for, because the other two hives were not sprayed. No sign of dead bees in the bottom of the the others. So the idiot probably sprayed in the first one and got lit up. These bees have been pretty hot each time I've been over there.

Anyway, on the other side of the corner, that colony was fine. But, they had oriented their comb from stud to stud in the wall instead of from inner wall to outer wall, like the other colonies. When I took off the outer wall, I was looking at one side of a comb instead of the ends of several combs. Lots of brood and eggs and bees. And a new experience for me. When I got near the top of the comb I saw lots of good capped honey. When I cut the comb out, the other side had capped worker brood. Crazy. I got to keep very little honey. Nearly all of it went in the frames. Not too messy, considering. I never saw the queen, but she may have been vacced. I'll check for her in a few days.

The smaller colony toward the back of the house was, as I suspected, a swarm from this season. Not a primary swarm. The comb was pretty soft. Most of the honey was uncapped, so will be fed back. I did get enough brood comb for four frames, and a good number of bees in the bucket. When I dumped them in, I could smell the queen's lemon scent.

All done with the house, I think...I put 3 hives in my yard and 1 in a friends yard, from this house. Next??? 
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D Coates
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« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2013, 09:23:20 AM »

Tough luck on the one dead hive.  Did you smell hornet spray?  As for the other 4 cut outs, great job!  You may have found more hives in one location than you'll ever find again.
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chux
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2013, 11:21:24 AM »

I'm so frustrated. The colony I took out first for a friend is doing well. The one I took for myself a couple of days later is doing fantastic. Both of the ones I took the other day are gone. Well, the larger of the two lasted two days. I went to peek in and she was overrun with SHB. Most bees dead in the bottom or gone. Piles of SHB larvae. The smaller of the two colony's was in a hive right beside this. I looked inside and saw some larvae on the bottom board. Also dead Pupa that were evidently killed in the cut out process. I raked out the larvae and debris. Yesterday numbers seemed to be down a little, and the larvae are up in the comb. I'm pretty sure they are too far gone. There were only three brood frames to begin with. Not a ton of bees.

So what happened? I did everything the same as far as I can tell. What can I do to ensure the best chance for the bees to survive next time I do a cut out?
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greenbtree
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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2013, 12:25:07 PM »

Think back on the cutouts and try to figure out if anything was different.  Were the bees shut up in the box at all, and for how long?  How much more messy in terms of honey drip were they?  When I do a cut out I put a rack over a plastic tub and do the job of putting the comb into frames there, so debris and honey fall through and don't get on the comb so much.  I also set the box on another box on the ground so things can drain.  I put the bottom board on last.  Sometimes though, you can do everything right and they will still leave.   You just have to shrug your shoulders and move on.

JC
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"Rise again, rise again - though your heart it be broken, or life about to end.  No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend, like the Mary Ellen Carter rise again!"
chux
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« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2013, 02:28:30 PM »

I cut two boards on either side of the comb. Use my hive tool to cut any connection between comb and outer wall, then remove the two boards. This exposes a little comb. I vac some bees to clear the way to see the comb. I cut pieces tall enough to fit into the frame, held in place by rubberbands. When I fill a frame with brood comb, I put it in the box off to the side, in the shade. Since it has been hot, I spray a little water into the bucket the bees are vacuumed into. Maybe that is the difference. I had a helper for these two cutouts, and I told him to spray a little water through the screen no the bees. Maybe he put too much water on them....

After I get the bottom quarter of the bucket full of bees, or it seems like they may be getting too hot in the vac bucket, I remove the vac hose lid and replace it with a screened lid. That's when I give a little water. As the vac gets a little thick with bees, I change buckets. I've done 7 or 8 cutouts this way so far. I have had very low casualty numbers in the bucket, with the exception of the larger colony the other day. (Beside a colony that appeared to have been sprayed)

Maybe some of that spray did get to the other two colonies???
 
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greenbtree
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2013, 11:51:56 AM »

Could very well be.


JC
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"Rise again, rise again - though your heart it be broken, or life about to end.  No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend, like the Mary Ellen Carter rise again!"
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