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Author Topic: Temporarily cover hive entrance on tree - max time  (Read 713 times)
kaazih
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« on: December 07, 2013, 05:13:06 PM »


Hello bee folk,

I'm a tree climber in Sydney, Australia and need to do some work on a tree containing a hive. I've already climbed the tree to investigate - the bees didn't seem to mind. The tree needs some pruning as it's leaning heavily on another tree so we want to remove some weight/height so that it doesn't damage the house if (and when) it does decide to fall (both trees are very healthy.)

Anyway, the hive entrance is about 10m (30ft) up the tree and 3m (10ft) below where the final pruning cut will be. What I'm thinking to do is attach a piece of sponge to a string line and cover up the hive entrance while I do the tree work. Once complete, I'd get back on the ground and pull the sponge out using the attached string.

  • Should I try to get the hive entrance covered before sunrise (5am) when the bees are less active?
  • Would the bees be OK with the entrance covered for say max. 4 hours?

I'm assuming the hive doesn't extend 3m up from the entrance to where I'd be cutting but I'd be ready for a quick descent at any time.

Any other advice?

Steve


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Moots
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2013, 05:23:09 PM »

That certainly could work...But as they say, the devil is in the details.  grin

What will be the temperature during this time?  If it's too hot, it could be a problem, 4 hours isn't a terrible long time, but at high temperatures, it doesn't take long to cook some bees.

Be certain they don't have another exit point.

If your assumption about them not going up as high as you will be cutting is wrong, things could get ugly in a hurry.  laugh

I'd would definitely cover the entrance before sun up.

If you are worried about heat, how about stapling a piece of window screen over the entrance?







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kaazih
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2013, 08:25:29 PM »

It's 25C (77F) at midday today and tomorrow is supposed to be hotter maybe ranging from 15-30C (77-86C) which I'm sure would be too hot for those bees. I'll go with the window screen entrance covering so they have ventilation for the duration.

I've had a few stings in the past without adverse reaction. Hopefully all goes well an I can report back tomorrow afternoon.






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Moots
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2013, 09:54:31 PM »

Yeah 86F is getting up there...If tomorrow has to be the day, I'd say go with the screen, which will help a lot. Also, get an early start and I think you'll be fine.

Let us know how it goes....
Good luck.  Smiley
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"We must reject the idea that every time a laws broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2013, 11:30:04 PM »

You can use the screen, or go with your idea with a course steel wool instead of sponge. It would give them ventilation.
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Robo
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2013, 11:07:33 AM »

First of all,  I applaud you on your effort to "work with the bees" and not exterminate them.   On any given warm day, do you notice bees gathered around the entrance hole fanning their wings?   This is an indication that the colony is getting warm and they are increasing the ventilation.   If this is the case,  even screening the hole could cause them to get hot.   The extent of the overheating and potential damage is very variable.

I would say, start as early as possible and try to leave them blocked for as least time as possible.   I think you will be fine with your plan.  As Iddee suggested, steel wool may be better than a sponge,  but it won't be the difference between death or survival.
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kaazih
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2013, 12:51:05 PM »

Thanks Robo. I'm just glad the home owner doesn't mind the bees either. Although he didn't even know they were there until I pointed them out.

I've postponed the work until tomorrow (bad night sleep...) When I inspected the tree last Thursday there were no bees around the entrance hole fanning their wings so hopefully their home is already well insulated. The part of the trunk around the entrance hole is >1ft diameter and also shaded above by the tree that it's resting ona perfect bee residence.



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Variable
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2013, 02:49:49 PM »

Kaazih,
Good luck and take a few pictures... I am sure most here would enjoy seeing them. Also you can mark them on savethehives.com. I used them to go look at a bee tree nearby. Was fun looking... never did find it.
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ozebee
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2013, 09:28:01 PM »

Sounds like quite a challenge Kaazih - do let us know the outcome. You could also register on swarmpatrol.com and put the colony location in for further swarm tracking. I am also in Sydney.
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kaazih
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2013, 06:41:35 PM »

It seems that the bees knew something was up. I was there at 4am ready to go but after a few minutes with my head torch on a couple of bees flew down to investigate...I chickened out.

Anyway, the tree work is not super urgent so I'll revisit in the middle of winter - next July in these parts.

In the picture below from last weekI'm having a closer look at the hive entrance. At the top of the image you can see the swelling in smooth barked tree as it has reacted over the years to supporting the rough barked tree with the bees.

Thanks for all your replies and advice.

Steve


« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 07:32:47 PM by buzzbee » Logged
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2013, 07:05:19 PM »

Steve,
Get one of those head lamps that have white and red lights. Bees cannot see the red light and do not react to it.
The pictures have not posted yet.
Jim
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capt44
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2013, 07:42:04 PM »

The red light will work, but make sure you get that entrance covered or they will investigate.
I would use something like #8 hardware wire (cloth) and staple or nail it in place.
If you wait until after daylight even if you cover the hole there will be a lot of forager bees coming back to the hive.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
derekm
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2013, 03:57:38 AM »

There is a lot of insulation and enormous thermal mass in a tree. They are unlikely to overheat in few hours.  instead of foam use some  netting,  net curtain  or flexible plastic mesh (hole size less than 3.5mm) to stuff into the hole, that will let more air in than foam but do the same thing to keep the bees in
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
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« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2013, 10:13:51 AM »

Great suggestions so far! Here is one for you - get one of the hiker's mosquito nets in your pocket. They go over your hat and work very much like a beekeeper's veil. Bees instinctively go for eyes and breath (CO2), so that will keep them off your face while you investigate.

They usually are inexpensive and very portable. Any outdoor type store should have them. Here is a link of what they look like: http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/68997?productId=1155397&qs=3016887_mercent_google_pla&attrValue_0=Not%20Applicable&mr:trackingCode=67755596-B0F0-E211-A497-90E2BA285E75&mr:referralID=NA&mr:device=c&mr:adType=pla&mkwid=Xawpi3YA_dc&pcrid=24454941177
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