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Author Topic: Need advice on a bee capture (update)  (Read 4724 times)
Hi-Tech
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« on: May 05, 2006, 01:02:55 AM »

I have an opportunity to capture some bees but I need some advice. I was working at a customer’s house today and noticed what I thought was a swarm of bees under the eave of his house. After looking a little closer, I saw comb and what appeared to be a complete hive on the outside of his house. I asked him about it and he said the bees just showed up there several months ago and decided to stay. He says that I can have them but here is where I need help…

I would have to work on a ladder leaned up against his home. The bees are under the eave of the roof at about 30 feet.

Since this is an established hive and not just a swarm, I need all of the step by step advice I can get. I have a deep and 2 mediums with frames available to me at the moment with a top bar hive coming next week (my Dad is building it) and 6 more mediums with frames coming in 2 weeks. I planned on getting some more packages but I would love to get these bees for free.

I have no experience with this kind of situation. I have never even captured a swarm before. Is this too much for a newbie?
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2006, 06:18:28 AM »

never to much, you have to get your feet wet some how like the rest of us did, the way I would remove this hive would be vac all the bee's I could to start with but if you don't have a vac just spray then down with some sugar water or a little smoke, just remember there is a good chance if you smoke them or being ruff cut comb that the queen will leave the comb and be on the wood beside it, just be slow and easy. get a rope and 5 gallon bucket, have all the empty frames and hive body on the ground near the bottom of the latter, because of how high it is is why I would remove about 2 pieces of comb and put it in the bucket then lower it to the ground until I got it all, don't put more than a couple of comb at a time because you will have bee's on the comb and don't want to take a chance on killing the queen, use rubber bands to hold the comb in the frames, when you get through with removing the comb you can vac the bee's up or if you don't have a bee vac, you can let them cluster again and get a box to hold right under the cluster and rack them into the box, then dump the box into the hive body with the comb.... it sounds like allot but it really easy just m time consuming, try to get all the bee's that you can because you want to make sure you have the queen, if you find the queen have something to put her in where she can still get air like a cricket cage use for fishing. always keep a caged queen out of the sunlight, put her in the shade.... well maybe someone else might have something different,, good luck and remember you have to learn sometimes and no job is to big.... good luck!!!
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2006, 06:42:59 AM »

>I would have to work on a ladder leaned up against his home. The bees are under the eave of the roof at about 30 feet.

Before you start you need to ask yourself, can I stay calm with several bees in my clothes after being stung on a ladder 30 feet in the air.  If the answer is no, then walk away.  The hosptial bill will be more than the bees are worth.

If the answer is yes, then get a good beesuit (to boost your confidence), keep your focus on the ladder and the heigth and remember no matter what, you calmly climb to the ground and THEN take off in a panic.

>Since this is an established hive and not just a swarm, I need all of the step by step advice I can get. I have a deep and 2 mediums with frames available to me at the moment with a top bar hive coming next week (my Dad is building it) and 6 more mediums with frames coming in 2 weeks. I planned on getting some more packages but I would love to get these bees for free.

The frames will work the best, because you can simply tie the combs into the frames.  Cut them to fit and tie them in with string or rubber bands.  If you want, some swarm catching frames will help.

http://www.beesource.com/plans/swarmfrm.pdf

Here pictures doing a "cut out" with them.

http://www.beesource.com/plans/scf/index.htm

Click on the thumbnails for bigger pictures.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesferal.htm


I have no experience with this kind of situation. I have never even captured a swarm before. Is this too much for a newbie?
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2006, 08:29:59 AM »

Working the eave is different than working from a wall or something. Even on a ladder the bees are above your head. If you have a hat on you are trying to look around the brim and up. Strains the neck. The first one I did this way I got frustrated and gave up and walked away. The second one I did get all the comb out but there were too many other places for the bees to hide in and I didn't get the queen. What bees I got didn't stay on the brood comb I had in the hive. Pluss there was another nest of beesa couple hundred yards away and a robbing frinzy was on. Then you will have any wasp in the neighbor hood trying to get their share.

Don't even bother trying to put any comb with honey into a frame. Some people say they do it but I sure don't know how they do as the stuff is soft, heavey, and falls apart. But do rubberband in the brood comb. Before you start Take a few empty frames and place a couple of rubber bands onto the frame on each end. This way you don't have to fight getting the bands on the frame and over the comb at the same time.

I might think of more later.
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2006, 08:34:13 AM »

Oh.... be sure to take pleanty of containers. Some how that comb gets to be more than what it looks like it is hanging on the house. Just one five gallon bucket will probably not be enough.
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2006, 09:17:19 AM »

> Some people say they do it but I sure don't know how they do as the stuff is soft, heavey, and falls apart.

Agreed.

> But do rubberband in the brood comb.

I always try to save as much of the brood as I can.

> Before you start Take a few empty frames and place a couple of rubber bands onto the frame on each end. This way you don't have to fight getting the bands on the frame and over the comb at the same time.

Good idea!
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2006, 11:27:43 PM »

OK.. This has gotten very weird and I need advice.

The person who owns this house with the bees has changed his mind about me coming and getting them. He now wants to pay me to catch them for him and put them in a hive that I provide on his property. He will pay me for the hive.

I have also since learned that he has another hive on his property (2 deeps) that has been there, uncared for, for several years. That is probably where the original swarm came from. He also wants me to work those bees into a new hive since it is falling apart.

This man lives in a 20k square foot home and the guest house where the bees are is over 10k square feet. He ownes a huge company and has a lot of money. He basically wants me to be his bee boy, show him how to make honey and setup these two hives for him.

OK... Here are my questions....

If i collect the bees but miss the queen and put them in a hive only a few dozen yards away, are they likely to stay there to be requeened?

If i collect the bees and get the queen and put them in a hive only a few dozen yards away, are they likely to stay there?

What should I charge to do this?

What should I charge to come work his bees on a regular basis?

Should I just politely say no thanks?

Any help here would be much appreciated....
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2006, 06:08:26 AM »

To answer a few of your questions:
If the queen is missed the bees will go back to the eaves, no question.  
If you get the queen and the old nest is close--50/50, but my guess is the queen and the young bees will stay with the brood, the foragers may go back up but changing the direction of the entrance (i.e. east to south) might help them return to the new sight.  The farther away from the old location the better.  
Make it a side business (under the table maybe?) charge what a professional plumber, carpenter, or mason might charge per hour or $50.00 per hour minimum.  If he's got that much money he might not mind and you can use the dinero to support your own apiary.
Make him pay for everything you do, new hive bodies ect., and add at least 10 percent to their cost for the agrivation.
When working from a ladder remember leg fatigue, rest frequently, we don't want you to fall.  
I've done this, albit not recently (I now do my beekeeping from a wheelchair),  and recommend you consider this an all day job.  You might also want to take the precaution of tying straps from one side of the pant leg to the other under the sole of the shoe (like a spat) to prevent the pant legs from riding up--ankle ties are not always enough in the situation described.  
Rig your smoker so you can hang it from your belt, bellows side towards the body, you just might need it more than you know.
If you can get through this and leave only a grapefruit sized ball of bees behind you'll have done a good job.
Follow the advice on prepping the frames with rubber bands or string.  Frame the brood only and treat yourself to the honey.  
As soon as possible work the salvaged comb containing the brood up and out of the brood chamber and render the wax via double boiler or solar wax melter.  
I recommend putting a deep with drawn comb below the salvaged comb and shake all (including the queen) the bees down then placing a queen excluder between.  The bees will still tend the remaining brood until they've all hatched and the queen will meantime get going on the new comb.
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2006, 09:15:48 AM »

OK.. This has gotten very weird and I need advice.

The person who owns this house with the bees has changed his mind about me coming and getting them. He now wants to pay me to catch them for him and put them in a hive that I provide on his property. He will pay me for the hive.

  WOW Cool!
I have also since learned that he has another hive on his property (2 deeps) that has been there, uncared for, for several years. That is probably where the original swarm came from. He also wants me to work those bees into a new hive since it is falling apart.
Very Cool (more bee work you have to get your feet wet some how )

This man lives in a 20k square foot home and the guest house where the bees are is over 10k square feet. He ownes a huge company and has a lot of money. He basically wants me to be his bee boy, show him how to make honey and setup these two hives for him.
WOW, This is the stuff dreams are made of....and good friends.. Cheesy

OK... Here are my questions....

If i collect the bees but miss the queen and put them in a hive only a few dozen yards away, are they likely to stay there to be requeened?

most likely not

If i collect the bees and get the queen and put them in a hive only a few dozen yards away, are they likely to stay there?
well, I'm knew at this but, maybe if you put the box under it after you get it all done, wait a day or two, then put grass in the entrance and move them , loosen grass so one or two can get out and let them do the rest
or pull it out after a day or two huh maybe
What should I charge to do this?
What should I charge to come work his bees on a regular basis?
well it depends on what you want, I would charge him on an hourly basis
but I would also ask him to help, with a hook on the end of the rope one could lower it to an awaiting helper (who is there to learn)who unhooks the bucket and puts another on the hook that you raise back up and contiue working, it will save a whole lot of ups and downs and make things much safer, then do most of your work on the ground at the same time.......make your self a good beevac there are some great ideas on this sit........remember he's paying you....!
 As far as what to charge, I would be asking myself, what are the long term benifits (reg. pay, a good friend, a rich bee buddy cheesy )  
Should I just politely say no thanks?
if all he wants is a boy, charge alot.....

Any help here would be much appreciated....
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2006, 09:38:35 AM »

Quote from: Hi-Tech

If i collect the bees but miss the queen and put them in a hive only a few dozen yards away, are they likely to stay there to be re-queened?


most would return to the hive in the house, you would probably just have nurse bee's stay in the new hive...

Quote from: Hi-Tech
If i collect the bees and get the queen and put them in a hive only a few dozen yards away, are they likely to stay there?


yes if you frame some of their old comb in some empty frames...


Quote from: Hi-Tech
What should I charge to do this?


what would you feel comfortable with, if your not getting the bee's make it worth your time.... you could end up with a good friendship by helping this guy, I usually charge from $150 to $300 to do a removal depending on distance and how hard it is to get them and I don't do repairs...


Quote from: Hi-Tech
What should I charge to come work his bees on a regular basis?


don't know about this question, I have helped a couple friends get started but never charged nothing...


Quote from: Hi-Tech
Should I just politely say no thanks?


this would be your choice, it doesn't sound to difficult to me, if you have the time why not? again your choice......
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2006, 01:45:42 PM »

Do you think a bee vac is a good choice here?
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2006, 02:07:18 PM »

yup, on any home removal a bee-vac is the main tool.....
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2006, 05:03:22 PM »

I agree with Ted....and he has got a great idea for a beevac. It is made using a shop vac. I got to see his in action this Saturday. Really good idea if you already have a shop vac.
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« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2006, 06:17:21 PM »

I hate to be a pessimist here but the whole situation sounds very strange.

1. a guy with a huge house wants you to make up a hive for him
2. He has another hive on his property that is unattended/uncared for.
3. He will pay you to do all this and has a large company with a huge house

The voice in the back of my head says here is a guy who is probably a type A personality.  What will he do if the hives don't work out, or you don't get all the bees the first time and have to go back for the rest or for the queen?  What will he do if this results in a pile of angry off bees that sting him?

It probably will work out ok, but I would be very clear what you will/will not do for him and potential consequences.  If you become his "beeboy" what does that mean for a time commitment in your and his head.

Sorry to be such a wet rag on your enthusiasm, but the situation is very unusual

cheers,
Rob
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2006, 10:52:02 PM »

BTW...here is the link to TwT Ted's Bee Vac - Shop Vac
http://beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=2775&highlight=bee+vac

I'm gonna make one soon but with a smaller shop vac. I actually saw one the other day that was rechargable believe it or not.

Scott
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2006, 10:53:52 PM »

RSILVER,
That was my worry. I sent him an email today and told him i would set it all up for $50 per hour but I would not be interested in maintaining. No reply yet...
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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2006, 01:20:36 AM »

Hi-Tech, no offense, but after reading your posts you sound very uncertain of your abilities to remove this hive that is 30' up and possibly your ability to please this guy. Be realistic and evaluate the pluses and minuses of this scenario. I don't mean to sound pessimistic but there will be other removals come your way, and this one may be better left alone for someone else to do. I kind of like the solution you came to as for your decision to not be his "bee boy". There will be other more enjoyable removals to do, good luck and please be careful and treat yourself right, beeman.
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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2006, 10:45:10 AM »

Just be very certain that when you get stung and discover that there are several bees in your bonnet you can clamly climb down a 30 foot ladder and walk away from the scene before you remove the bonnet.

If you panic, you will fall. If you fall, your hospital bill will not be worth it.
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« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2006, 06:49:51 PM »

He has agreed to supply a scissor lift to get us up there and I will probably get the help of an experienced beek if i do decide to do it. I am concerned with the fact that there may not be any pleasing this guy and i do feel this is a bit much for a first job. I have not made any decisions yet...
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« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2006, 07:31:44 PM »

Wow!! a scissorlift to get the bees out.....very nice.  Do you gety to use it on loan for all your removals? cheesy   Is he going to make you work on the roof too?
Sounds pretty nice to me, I agree with the concerns you have about not pleasing him but it does sound pretty appealing.
Good luck!!
Rob
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