Well I did another cut out. As with everything you always learn something new.
I had a few issues with this one. First I thought it was going to be a small
hive. The owner said the bees had only been there for a few months. Also I was
hoping the sophet was plywood. That certainly ain't what reality threw at me.
While at the South Florida Fair this is one of the extractions I was given. It
was a home owned by an older gentleman who was retired. I went out about two
weeks ago and did a quick survey. The bees were in his sophet. The sophet is
where the roof overhangs the outside walls of the house. The gentleman said the
bees moved in about three months ago. I would assume that the hive wasn't very
large also sophets tend to have wood trusses that would limit the amount of
available space. I keep making these assumptions I am going to end falling down
a bottomless hole.
The sophets in Florida are generally stucco on wire mesh. Cutting this stuff
sucks.Also because this gentleman lived more than 20 miles away I wanted to use
the bee vac to help expedite matters and because I was limited on space in the
car. I know Michael doesn't like bee vacs and I certainly understand why. After
this one I may need to modify my bee vac.
Here is your material list for the sophet removal:
1. Sawzall corded , the cordless one will not last long enough.
2. Extension cord for the above item.
3. Bee Vac with Shop Vac.
4. Smoker and fuel for it.
5. Serrated knives, my favorite is a small pumpkin carver because it fits into
7. Camera, you want pictures
8. Bee brush
9. Screwdriver for prying stucco. Prybar will work also.
10. Big tupperware/rubbermade container.
11. A bucket with water or a hose.
12. Marble / tile cutting blades for sawzall. I recommend you have at least
four. you will burn through them.
13. Drill with large masonry bit.
14. Flashlight to look into dark corners.
15. Queen cage just in case.
16. Safety googles and breathing mask <--edited to add. 2/4/07
Please note when doing a sophet removal you will cut comb and it is unlikely you
will ever spot the queen.
I had planned on getting the bees into the bucket and combining them with the
hive I had gotten from the compost bin extraction via the newspaper method.
I drilled a hole into the sophet killed a bee with the drill bit. i took the
sawzall and the special blade and cut a small opening around 10"x10" and
immediately realized I was in trouble. This was going to be a big one and had
been there for a while. Nothing I could do now but cut a bigger hole.and another
and another. Bees would die as they tried to attack my sawzall. The reciprocating
blade would kill them. However they almost managed to win when a few flew into
the motor brushes and started to smoke the motor. A very nasty smell. By the
time I was done my hole was over 6 feet long to expose 5 feet
of comb. Somehow I suspect this hive had been there for more than three months.
I started cutting the outer comb which was honey comb. Now please understand I am
working on a ladder under this. As I am cutting the comb honey is dripping on
everything. I watched it smoke and burn as it hit my smoker. Tools are now
getting dirty and sticky. Honey and dirt combine to make a very nasty glue.
Now also after a certain time I had removed my veil and just left on my baseball
cap. Honey soaked through that to make my hair a sticky mess. I gave my shampoo
bottle a very dirty look when I noticed it had honey and fruit in it. I continued to remove honey comb. Probably 40lbs/18 KG of it of which I am sure I ended up wearing half of it.
I would vacuum up the bees as I went along. Lots of bees. The one great thing about this is there was lots of brood frames and they would be a perfect fit for a medium frame. So I am moving along cutting and vacuuming. The bee vac I designed is a double 5 gallon bucket that connects to a shop vac. Well the 5 gallon bucket is full. Crap. Now my bee fatality rate is going to go through the roof. Fortunately I am pretty close to done. I check through the rest of the bees and see if I spot the queen. I don't see her.
The tupperware container is heavy and the bee vac is full and I have blown leaves sticking to me. I use the hose to clean up as much as I can. I clean up tools and pack everything in. I head home and move the brood frames into the the empty mediums. I place a newspaper on top of the compost bin hive. I place the brood frames and an empty medium on top. I empty the bucket of bees and place the top entrance on. Bees are going everywhere and I suspect the mortality rate is going to be outrageous but I will give it time.
I spent enough time in the shower that the hot water started to run out but my hair no longer looks like a bad mohawk.
Pictures can be seen here:http://www.brendhanhorne.com/coppermine_dir/thumbnails.php?album=72
Updates to follow.