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Author Topic: birdhouse hive  (Read 2505 times)

Offline aarchie

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birdhouse hive
« on: June 02, 2006, 01:18:11 PM »
Its been a number of years since I kept hives, and I only have limited (about 4 years experience total). I became overly sensitive to stings and decided against continuing the hobby.

My coworker has a hive in a very small birdhouse attached to her residence (it's been there 3 years now), and she was planning on having it destroyed before doing a remodel to her house. I have volunteered to remove them, and have a question about moving them to a standard or a Top bar hive (I have both available). The birdhouse should be able to be removed easily enough, and I have my protective gear (and anaphylactic kit).

Suggestions on how to re-hive the colony would be appreciated. I am leaning towards the TBH as they were easier (at least for me and my bad back) to work with. I have some drawn comb in storage for both type hives, and I have syrup feeder and basic supplies as well. Unfortiunately I have to do the move this evening about dusk or just after dark when the hive has settled in for the evening - as the construction crews are scheduled for an early morning arrival.

Thanks in advance  for tips / reminders / suggestions and helping me keep this hive alive .  aarchie...

Offline thegolfpsycho

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birdhouse hive
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2006, 02:06:14 PM »
can you screen the entrance and just bring the whole birdhouse home? Take the construction crew outta the picture.  Find a shady spot to work, near where you will set them up., tie or rubberband the brood comb into some frames.  Let em do their thing.

Offline aarchie

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birdhouse hive
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2006, 02:19:09 PM »
Thanks golf for the response. Yes. That is the plan. The birdhouse is still (barely) in one piece, and I will screen the entrance and tape a hole or two and take the entire bird house hive home.

 I like the idea about attaching the comb they are using onto a frame or two. My eyes aren't very good, and I never had much luck finding a queen (unless marked), so is there a good way to physically move the bees into the hive - making certain that the queen is transferred as well?

 If I take the bh apart and remove the comb, the bees will certainly be disturbed and will scatter I assume. Do you think the bees will take up residency? Is there a way to "encourage" them to use what might be their easiest option for a new home? Should I feed sugar syrup? Would spraying warm water or sugar syrup on the hive at any time make the transition easier?

Regardless, giving them a chance near the Gila Wilderness where I will take them is better than a quick death by spraying. aarchie

Offline Jay

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birdhouse hive
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2006, 05:32:45 PM »
If you transfer their brood comb into the new hive box then they will follow. It is very hard to get bees to leave brood comb. Rubber band the comb into an empty frame then dump the rest of the bees out of the bird house and voila you are done!

By the rude bridge that arched the flood
Their flag to Aprils breeze unfurled
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world
-Emerson

Offline thegolfpsycho

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birdhouse hive
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2006, 05:57:13 PM »
Tearing the colony apart, there are no guarantees you'll get the queen. There are going to be alot of bees in the air, and if you can remain calm and deliberate, you may find her on the combs as you transfer them. After you shake the remaining bees out, take a moment to look for any clumps of bees on the grass, on the outside and inside of the old hive.  Look in the evening again, and the morning.  The queen could be anywhere and she will usually have an entourage.  The pics that Jay posted show the rubberband method, which I think is by for the easiest.  I would probably scratch the caps on any large combs of capped honey and put it across the yard so they start back working, collecting the honey and building comb.  Just don't pile it in front of the new hive.  This may incite a riot, and any colonys within flying distance could crush the new hive while it struggles to get organized.  
Good luck getting them situated.  I went a while without bees in the yard, and didn't realize how much I missed them until I got them back.  It's amazing when freinds come over for a beer and barbeque, very nervous about the squadrons of bees zooming everywhere.  Usually before long, they are relaxed and asking all kinds of questions, which I answer at great length because I love talking about them.  I've got almost a dozen colonys in various people yards the last couple years. Those suburban colonys are my most consistent producers.

Offline aarchie

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bird house bees
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2006, 06:15:57 PM »
Thanks for the great info and photos. Yes, I am excited about having bees around again. Never more than a hobby with 5 colonies at the time I gave it up. Still it was something that I took a lot of pleasure in. I always enjoyed the time in the yard.  Due to my acquired sensitivity to stings, I guess I'll always need to work them "suited up" and with a syringe nearby.  A small price to pay for the pleasure I remember them bringing.

I never gave up the fascination with bees. In fact I learned the skill of hunting bees (The Bee Hunter) as a substitute after giving up beekeeping. If these bees settle in ok, I guess I can do more than bee hive hunting. Tracking foraging bees to the hive is great fun, but it's not the same as working at home with them to produce a little excess (more bees and honey).

Gracias...  aarchie