I was contacted by someone who said they had bees living in a wall of the house. The owner said she wanted them out of there because they were getting in the house and stinging her. I went over there and found bees on one side but on the other side there were yellow jackets. Turns out they are what was getting in the house. So I convinced the owner to allow the bees to remain there until spring. I want to use this time to thoroughly prepare to get the bees out. I was told that the bees have been there for years. Since these are healthy local bees I want to make sure that I do this right.
The house is a basement house and the basement walls stick up about 3 feet above grade. The second level sets on top of the basement wall, but it is about 2 feet wider than the basement, so the floor of the upper level sticks out over the basement about like the soffit of a roof. The bees are coming and going between the basement wall and the soffit/floor.
I think my best option right now is to do a trap out. I have been watching videos of the procedure on youtube and it seems like there is about an 80% failure rate. There are lots of ideas but many of them are terrible, like they guy who tried to make the hive walk through a six foot vacuum hose to get out of the hive… yeah that ended awesome. So what is the best way to do this? It seems like having the screen cone in a hive box would be pretty ideal but I have only seen one of those work correctly. If anyone has any tips or examples I would love to see them. A lot of what I have seen were people trying to get bees out of trees and they had issues with the bees getting around the cone. I think I can seal this area off pretty easily since I am mostly dealing with flat surfaces. I am going to try to use a warre hive that I built last year.
I do lots of bailouts and have a 95% plus success rate. Having a small queen rite colony is the key. Create your one way exit using the bees current enterance and place the bait colony as close as possible to the cone. A few inches works best. I will look and see if I have a video and post it later.
trap-outs can be a good option, but it's really easy to screw them up. since it's an older established colony, its probably pretty big. big colonies can take in excess of nine weeks to get entirely out. and if any get back in during that time, you might reset the clock.
one major issue: all that comb will still be in there. at the very least, that means you absolutely need to let the bees rob all the honey out at the end of the process if you don't want the homeowner to curse your name later. it also means that wall will be extremely inviting to future swarms and so will need to be sealed up very well after it's all over to keep more bees from moving in.
like Tomas said, you'll need a queen in your bait hive. a comb of new eggs can work, too, but that might be a little trickier, especially in a Warré hive. I've done trap-outs into Warré hives, though, and they worked just fine. you'll want to consider the size of the colony, though. if you end up needing four boxes just to fit all the bees in... the smaller Spring population will certainly be an advantage there.
The family plans to cut out the comb after the trap out. I am just not comfortable with the liability issues associated with cutting up someone's house. The owners are not comfortable doing it with the bees I am there so that is where I come in.
I am not sure I can get a queen, but I can probably borrow some brood comb from one of my other hives, provided they survive the winter. Is brood or a queen required for a successful trap out?