Well in the ongoing saga of cut outs I always believed that the cutting down of a hive on a tree branch would be a breeze.
Well maybe if I compare it to the 3 day adventure of doing a removal from crawling under a trailer it is. But a cut down is not a piece of cake. And the darn things are never low to the ground. I mean don't the bees realize if their hives were low to the ground that it would be easier to get to...............Oh wait...I guess they do realize that. But wait I have good intentions. I want to give them a good home. Didn't they get the memo. Probably not.
So I went with the standard tools and a branch cutter and a cordless sawzall. I love my cordless tools. They aren't perfect for every situation but they are excellent for some.
I also had to prepare my hive box in advance. Now one of the problems with hives in trees is branches. The branches get in the way. Now I am not a tree trimmer and I am sure the butchering I did will cause landscapers laughs for months to come. The othe thing is when trimming your branches please make sure that as the fall they do not hit the hive. Tree branch contact with the hive can mean mad bees. Also make sure your truck windows are not under the path of falling branches.
Now I was hoping that I would be able to put the 8 foot ladder in the back of the truck and climb up cut them down, put them in the box and go away. More experenced beekeepers are laughing right now.
Partial disclaimer anyone from OSHA or associated with OSHA is not allowed to continue to read or look at the pictures.
The bees were just high enough that my truck, my ladder, and me on the top rungs didn't quite make it. I could look up and see thousands of bees laughing at me. I'll show them.
Now somewhere between determination and imagination, the concept of reason and logic get left behind. I know it is not a good idea to put a ladder on top of the cab of my truck. I know that is not what it was designed for. Yet somehow that is where it ended up. I justify it by saying this. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Fortunatly I am Irish and lady luck still loves me and nothing happened. So stick that in pipe and smoke it OSHA. Not that I recommend anyone else do anything this ridiculous or stupid.
So here I am on top of my ladder on top of my cab with my sawzall, smoker, and branch cutters and some string.
Well why the string? Maybe I can hang myself if the ladder slips and I can become the next darwin award winner. No that wasn't what the string was for. The string was to tie to the branches so I could form a handle. That way when I finally cut the hive free it did not go crashing to the ground.
So after cutting away branches that formed a nice large pile. I had one branch left it was a big one. The bees seem to understand the concept of weight support. So with my left hand holding the string that has been tied around the remains of the branches sticking out of the hive. My right hand has a cordless sawzall with a 10" wood blade in it. Now the idea is to cut smoothly quickly and evenly. Well it's a good idea. Even on paper it sounds good. However as one cuts the main and final support weight shifts and hives move.
Now I have had my face in a hive before (compost bin cut out) but it is always disconcerting when you can count the hairs on a bees leg because it is on your veil. However the fortunate aspect is my face and my veil stopped the weight shifting of the hive and I was able to make the final cuts.
The string held and the bees really had stayed on the hive. I slowly climbed down. The hive fit right into the boxes. I sealed it up for the road trip. Cleaned up and headed home. this is the one time I am certain I got the queen without seeing her.
The bees have been home for a week now. The are doing well. Now I just need to get them to use frames and get off the tree branch.
You may laugh hysterically at my photos here.http://www.brendhanhorne.com/coppermine_dir/thumbnails.php?album=79
PS. There is also picture of a work that was hanging out on one of the branches. I put him back on the tree.