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Author Topic: HELP! Right now!  (Read 7068 times)
Rand
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« on: June 03, 2004, 04:51:53 PM »

I was just outside working in the yard. Checked the bees, they looked fine, normal bee activity.

5 minutes later I hear this huge buzzing and look over at the hives to see the sky black with honey bees. I thought the were under attack. I raced in the house to call some local bee guys. I kept watching them and they were all over the front of the hive.

I figured swarming. I finally got ahold of one of the guys. He concurred.

He told me to watch them, get a box ready, etc. etc.

So I went out to watch them. The activity settled way down. There are still bees on the front of the box, but not much more than normal.

But as I was looking to see if they were hanging around anywhere close, I saw (for the first time) a honets nest about the size of a volleyball hanging from the back eave of my garage not 30 feet from the front of my two hive boxes. The really weird part is, it was covered with what I thought were honey bees, but now I'm not sure. It's too high up to get a close look. But the bees look to black to be honey bees. But they are honey bee size, way to small to be hornets. Is it possible that they would swarm to a vacant hornet nest?

P.S. This is happening as I write, and I have to leave for work in about 30 minutes.

Thanks for any help.
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Rand Carrothers
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2004, 05:33:25 PM »

I've never heard of honeybees occupying a hornet or wasp nest, ever - there isn't any reason too that I can think of, it is NOT a viable home and there is NOTHING to rob.

I'm sure you caught them swarming, it is an amazing site to behold. Could a handful of honeybees be clustered INADVERTANTLY around the hornet nest - I can't imagine, but a whole swarm - I'd bet a paycheck no!

Start looking around, swarms don't go far - I don't know what type of area you live in, I live with a 1 mile square town behind my house and 1.2 million acres of wilderness across the street - little doubt which way my bee ALWAYS go - lol.

You need to watch that nest, observe the bees, follow a few if you need to, but I also say start looking around for the clustered swarm.

Last point (this is a long shot) but are you sure that what you see hanging isn't a full swarm of honeybees clustered on some protruding eve or security light or joist or ANYTHING - meaning, could that be a solid mass of honeybees with NO NEST of any kind under it???

Watch them and go hunting, get back to us - and the blackened sky with deafening roar of noise is indeed a swarm, sounds like a biggy too!!!
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2004, 06:34:42 PM »

I guess anything is possible, but I have to agree with John AGAIN. Cheesy I find it very doubtful that they would move into a hornets nest.  In fact,  don't hornets build their comb (or whatever you would call it) horizontal and not vertical?
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Rand
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2004, 06:48:52 PM »

Ok, I'm at work now, and everything seemed to calm down at the hive. I talked with my local guru again and he said they probably went back into the hive. He said they will probably be going to swarm in the next couple days. I am going into the hive tomorrow to dig out any queen cells, but he said that might not stop them from swarming.

I checked all around my property and adjacent land and couldn't find a cluster.

The "bees" crawling all over the hornets nest are not honey bees. I got a ladder and climbed up there to see what they were. I don't know what kind of bees they are. They are the same size as a honey bee, but they are mostly black (some yellowish brown but not light like an italian honey bee) with blackish wings. I will try to get a local expert to come out and look. If they are not good guys that hornets nest is toast!

thanks for your help.

I'll keep you up to date with it as it unfolds.
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Rand Carrothers
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2004, 07:39:27 PM »

Kill them  They are black hornets and are the meanest i've encountered
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2004, 09:18:21 PM »

If they have a large paper nest they are probably bald faced hornets, and they are pretty nasty little buggers.  I would give them a good soaking with hornet and wasp killer.

Chris
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mark
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2004, 11:11:53 PM »

don't go gettin' all hot and bothered about hornets now.  they are not as bad as their reputation. in fact i'll bet if they been there a while you'll be hard pressed to remember the last time you saw a fly or caterpiller around unless you maybe have a cherry tree with tent caterpillers in it.  if you leave them alone they'll leave you alone.  nest is pretty big and you didn't even know they were there,  right?  the ones you need to worry about are them stinkin' ground dwelling yellow jackets (vespa communis).  you find them AFTER it's too late and they're mad cause you walked on their hive mowing the lawn and now you got 39 of the stinkin' things up your pants leg makin your life HELL!   the bald faced or white faced hornet (vespula maculata) usually don't bother nobody.
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Rand
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2004, 11:47:27 PM »

These aren't Bald-Faced Hornets. They are way too small and they don't have the same coloring as a Bald-Faced. They don't appear to be too aggressive. The nest is bigger than a volleyball and I just did see it today. I climbed up a 12 foot ladder to investigate and none of them were the least bit interested in me. I picked up two cans of hornet killer today. I thought if I was going to do the deed, it should be tonight.

I'm open for more advice. So far I have 1 for Kill 'em; and 1 for leave 'em be.


Thanks.
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Rand Carrothers
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2004, 12:57:19 AM »

If the nest is that big it would seem to me that it has been there a while. It they aren't bothering you or your hives I think I would leave them be. But I don't know that much and maybe they could at some point in the future rob honey from your hive. Maybe you could post a pic?
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Rand
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2004, 01:42:12 AM »

I'll give them a stay of execution for one night and put a pic up here for you all to see. These guys aren't any bigger than a honey bee and there can't be more than around a couple hundred in the hive at most. I can't imagine they'd be a threat to either of my colonies.

Let's see what you all think of the photo, then I'll make a decision on their fate.

First I have to go into that #2 hive and see if I can stop the swarm from happening.
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Rand Carrothers
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2004, 09:34:58 AM »

I was going to tell you to go here to Id your bees but the site says tempory unaviable.  http://216.219.253.168/

I have a bug guru that is really good on the gardening forum.
http://www.beemaster.com/garden/index.php?sid=8af6947af6d2342772cefab55949bf4b

Go there to the member list look up Amy W and send her a pm with the picture. She will know what they are if any body does. As I said she is good.

 Cheesy Al
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Rand
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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2004, 11:25:18 PM »

Well, I went into the hive today before work. Great news. I reversed the top and bottom deep. When I was checking the frames, I found 1 large swarm cell and 1 small swarm cell. I dug them both out. I looked for the queen and couldn't see her. I did see eggs, larvae, and all other healthy bee hive stuff. I must have lost my mind, because I then closed up the hive and got out of the bee suit. Then I thought "I need to find the queen or else I won't know if she swarmed yesterday. So after some irresponsible guilt, it was back into the bee suit and relit the smoker. Back in the hive again. Nice sunny day, so I figured it woudn't hurt anything.

I still could not find the queen. I then said "Lord, why don't you just show her to me?"

I finished that frame, put it back in the hive, picked up the next frame and voila! There she was. I watched her for quite some time and she was looking healthy laying eggs and crawling about.

So hopefully I've averted the swarm.

I am leaving for Norman, OK on Sunday. I won't be back home until the evening of the 18th. 12 days! I hope they stay around that long.

I don't know anybody well enough out here to have them look in on the girls.

"Lord, watch over them for me."


Now to the wasps. They're toast.

The nest is just too close to the beehives for comfort. Tonight when I get home from work at midnight, I'm going to spray the nest. Sorry. If I could move it without losing life or limb, I might try to, but I don't see that happening and to boot, the wife is uncomfortable with that nest where it is too.

Thanks for all your help on this exciting bee happening!
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Rand Carrothers
mark
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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2004, 11:06:07 AM »

if you 're going away for twelve days you need to make your hive "think " it has swarmed or you will lose a swarm. according to what i've read just cutting swarm cells is ineffective even when done every 5 days like it's supposed to be done.
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Rand
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2004, 02:55:06 AM »

Mark,

How do I make the hive think it has swarmed?
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Rand Carrothers
mark
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2004, 10:10:30 AM »

i missed the part where you wrote that you flipped hive bodies. that will help.   what i've read is queen & field bees on the bottom, double screen board with the back entrance open on top then a queen excluder with the brood & house bee box on top of that.  alternative....just split the hive
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dsj21
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« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2004, 01:57:36 PM »

Mark , others:
 Forgive my jumping in on this thread, but something you just posted intigues me. I'm brand new to this, I hived my bees Apr 21. I bought all medium supers. Started with one of course, then about 2-3 weeks ago when they had drawn out sufficent frames, added another super. It's close to calling for a third super now, but not just yet. However, yesterday(Saturday) in the bottom box I found and removed about 8 "peanuts" protruding from the lower portion of several frames. I did not see the queen, however I did see babies.
 
   As  a begginer, I want to make sure I'm clear on what you're recommending. For my situation do I need to go back to the hive today and put the top on the bottom and bottom on top. I would really appreciate some helpful advice. Thanks.
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mark
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« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2004, 03:48:30 PM »

flipping hive bodies is a way to relieve congestion in the hive when you want to confine the brood to the boxes they are in whether 2 or 3. bees in man made hive boxes work up when there is room. when you put the bottom hive on the top it gives them more room to use and they go about rearranging things to suit them. it DOES however destroy the integrity of the brood nest and should NOT be done in cold weather or you will lose part of the nest to chilling. if it's a new hive and you are adding supers they are given new room to use that way.
  i would also think that one should make sure the queen is actually there BEFORE you go about cutting all the queen cells unless you plan on buying a queen anyway. queen cells are started ideally with an egg.  if the queen died or swarmed days ago you will have no eggs for them to start a new queen---less than ideal.
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golfpsycho
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« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2004, 09:19:32 PM »

Mark makes an important point.  Finding the queen is important for the reasons he mentions, as well as indicating whether reversal of brood chambers is warranted.  As Mark says, the normal progression is that the lower box fills up, and she moves up.  After the brood in the lower chamber emerges, if there is no room, the colony may begin storing nectar and pollen in the now open cells.  THis further congests the brood chamber and the colony may become "honey bound" often leading to swarming, reduced production, etc.  If by chance, she has moved down on her own, reversing the boxes puts her back on top and again, out of laying room.  Integrity of the brood chamber is an important factor too.  If you were to find the lower brood chamber full of honey, with the outside frames undrawn, some frame manipulation may be warranted to get this back in the right shape.
I've read alot of different theories abouts swarms.  Some think it is the natural reproductive plan for the honey bee.  Some claim that it doesn't happen during a flow, and it is an attempt to find more forageable territory as flows end.  Most agree that brood chamber congestion is a factor.  In any case, with mediums, 3 hive bodys is not unreasonable as the colony expands.  
I think that we all need to learn what is happening in our environment, in regards nectar flows, heat/cold, our bees' propensity for swarming, etc to become good managers.
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