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honey bee trap out

 
tel jetson
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Location: woodland, washington
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I wanted to share a couple of photos of a trap out that's currently in progress.





the main idea is that they can exit through that hardware cloth cone, but they can't find their way back in. they try to find a route in for a while, but eventually give up and wander into the other hive that I set up near by. that hive has a small colony started from a swarm hived about a month ago. they'll let the other bees in because they're foragers bearing gifts of nectar or pollen and so aren't robbing suspects.

the angles involved have complicated this particular trap out, as has the homeowner's objection to screw holes in the house. the adhesive holding the cone failed once already, and is now supplemented with a couple of blocks of wood wedging the contraption into place. that was after the first cone was placed directly over the entrance in the left corner above the window and attached with staples, caulk, and duct tape. that failed in short order.

there are a lot of gaps between the brick facade and the house, which I've plugged with steel wool. determined bees can chew through quite a bit to get back to the hive, but they can't chew through steel.

now we've got to wait. as foragers stop returning, the queen will assume there is a dearth of nectar and stop laying eggs. then it's just a matter of the existing brood and eggs hatching and leaving to forage since there won't be a lot of housekeeping to do. since the bees moved in only eleven days ago, it won't take as long as a more established colony, but it could still be several weeks. I'm planning for six, but eight or nine wouldn't be unusual.

once all the bees and brood are out, I'll wait five days or a week for the next step: remove the cone so the bees can return to the comb in the house and remove any remaining honey and pollen. at that point, only dry comb will remain in the house. this step is important to prevent ants, mice, mold, and other nastiness that decaying honeycomb can attract and that most folks don't want in their walls. dry comb will still smell like bees and could attract a new swarm, but if the homeowner takes care to seal the gaps, that shouldn't be a problem.

then I'll remove the hive back to its permanent location.
 
kent smith
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
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interesting to see what you are doing. A week and a half ago I tried to capture my first swarm and missed. I got a call in the evening and but the time I got there it was getting dark and the ladder we brought did not reach high enough into the tree that they were in. I came back the next day with my longer extension ladder, cut a few branches and got the ladder up by the swarm. This was at the top of a 36' ladder. As I was getting up the ladder the whole swarm took off. I followed them and they landed on the opening in a hollow tree about 100 yards away. by the time the swarm started to settle and I got my bucket to capture them the queen must have entered the tree. I got quite a bit of the swarm in the bucket an took them back closer to the road where I had put a hive and let them climb into the hive. When I went back that night to see if I had the swarm the hive was empty and the hollow in the tree was alive with bees.

So my question to you is it worth going back and trying to trap out this swarm? and would I get the queen or would I have to re-queen with either a frame of just laid eggs from another hive or to buy a queen. The owner of the property is glad to get the bee out, but I do not to cut the tree. Any advice.
kent
 
tel jetson
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Location: woodland, washington
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kent smith wrote:interesting to see what you are doing. A week and a half ago I tried to capture my first swarm and missed. I got a call in the evening and but the time I got there it was getting dark and the ladder we brought did not reach high enough into the tree that they were in. I came back the next day with my longer extension ladder, cut a few branches and got the ladder up by the swarm. This was at the top of a 36' ladder. As I was getting up the ladder the whole swarm took off. I followed them and they landed on the opening in a hollow tree about 100 yards away. by the time the swarm started to settle and I got my bucket to capture them the queen must have entered the tree. I got quite a bit of the swarm in the bucket an took them back closer to the road where I had put a hive and let them climb into the hive. When I went back that night to see if I had the swarm the hive was empty and the hollow in the tree was alive with bees.

So my question to you is it worth going back and trying to trap out this swarm? and would I get the queen or would I have to re-queen with either a frame of just laid eggs from another hive or to buy a queen. The owner of the property is glad to get the bee out, but I do not to cut the tree. Any advice.
kent


you could definitely trap it out. typically, bees won't bother folks if they're in a tree so it's nice to leave them alone. but if the landowner wants them gone, go for it.

it sounds like you don't have an existing colony to use for a bait hive, which is the easiest method in my opinion. but, as you suggested, including a frame of eggs (and some nurse bees to accompany it) in an otherwise empty hive can do the trick just fine, too. it doesn't have to be all eggs, but there have to be some. brood is too far along to use for queens. you almost certainly wouldn't get the queen out of the tree, but it does happen very occasionally.

apart from that, your strategy will be roughly the same as what I'm doing. get your cone trap contraption in place and make sure the gals aren't finding another way back in. then place the entrance of the bait hive as close to the hole in the tree as is reasonable. then wait. that's pretty much the drill. the bees should make their own queen, which is a lot simpler than trying to fuss with introducing a queen yourself.

after you haven't seen a bee come out of the cone for a few days, wait a week more to be safe before you remove the cone. the bees will head back in to get honey and pollen, but if you see them heading into the tree with pollen, you jumped the gun and you'll have to put the cone back on. if the landowner doesn't want more bees to move into the same tree, you'll have to remove all the comb, close off the hole permanently, or both.
 
kent smith
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
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Thanks for the reply. It was a good learning experience to see my first swarm. the man who has the property is afraid of the bees, but it is on the edge of the property about a hundred yards from the house. I have always laughed at this place as it is typical of so many places around here, what could be a 5 acre field between the house and this row of trees at the edge of the property is a mowed yard. I guess that different ideas of lifestyles for different folks. we like the bees and would welcome them and graze this area and these folks mow it as a yard and are afraid of the bees.
kent
 
tel jetson
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keep us posted if you do end up trapping them out, Kent.

I'm headed to check on the progress of my current trap out today. the homeowner said there was a lot of activity over the weekend that has since settled down.
 
kent smith
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Location: Pennsylvania
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Tel, just curious how your new hive is doing?
kent
 
tel jetson
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Location: woodland, washington
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kent smith wrote:Tel, just curious how your new hive is doing?
kent


well... not technically a new hive, but it certainly has some new population.

I finally removed the cone about two weeks ago to let the bees rob out any honey that might have been left in the house. they didn't show much interest, so I don't think there was much of anything left in there. then I moved them to my aunt and uncle's house in NW Portland, where the word is that they're doing quite well.

any action at the hive in the tree you asked about?
 
Jim Coler
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Tel,
I have two hives that both died this past year and I can't explain it. They were both doing well, until this past winter hit and then they just died. I noticed a mouse started to nest in one or both of them and started to forage on some of the brood that was left.

I have two friends who have hives in their houses and both would like me to trap them out! One is an old mansion where I can get up to it and place the remaining brood and honey close to the opening. We have a platform that I'm planning to use on top of the roof. I was considering hanging it from the wall, but wasn't sure about the weight of the hive so I'm leaning toward a roof mount platform. We are in upstate NY and the summers here aren't long, but they do get warm. I was planning to build a cone shape exiter like you have shown and have it exit close to the entrance of the hive. There has been a lot of discussions about whether the bees will produce their new queen or not. Will they or should I get a new queen or nuc and try to get her established? This hive could be set up almost right next to where their entering the home.

So, with a past hive that had died, I was planning to try setting this up there and see what happens. The homeowner isn't in any hurry, he just would like the bees out of the home to prevent a further mess. I'm new to trapping them out and relatively new to bee keeping, but figured free bees are better than the cost!

The other friend is more interested in getting them out because their at the front top portion of the house up in the peak of the rake of the eave. I was wondering what your suggestion was for this one if I can put another roof mount hive on top that they would find and head into? I expect it would be about 3-4' from the opening and just around the corner. How long can the exit tube be? Can it be bent around the corner to redirect them to the new hive on the roof?

Thanks!
 
tel jetson
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Location: woodland, washington
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if the colony died, it's not likely that there's any viable brood left to lure the bees into your hive. it will still smell like bees, though, so it might work.

the queen whose colony you are trapping out is also not likely to move into your hive. it happens, but only rarely.

if you want the bees to raise a new queen, you'll have to provide them with some eggs to work with. you might check with other local beekeepers to see if they're willing to part with a frame of eggs. brood is very attractive to bees, but it's too far along in development for queen-rearing purposes.

the closer the bait hive is to the trapout hives entrance, the better. but there's some wiggle room. placing the exit of your cone trap near the new hive won't actually help, because when foragers com back, they'll collect near the base of the cone, not the end.

does that help at all?
 
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