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Oh! I didn’t realize you’re trying to catch a swarm. You don’t say where your swarm box is placed, but it should be 10-15 feet in the air for best advantage to scout bees. It will help you to get the box down when it is filled with bees, if you build a handle on to it. Check out this link:
The writer is summarizing information from Tom Seely, a Cornell U. professor who studies Swarm Intelligence. It’s also important that the box be about a cubic foot. Here in Southern California with our local bees’ genetics having some Africanization, they don’t seem to care that much about a whole 40 liter sized box which is typically recommended.
Be careful about putting honey in a swarm box. Scout bees aren’t looking for honey, but robber bees will be looking for it and their presence could discourage the desired occupants. The lure smell, the wax and the space itself; those are the things that will attract a swarm. Good luck!
Hi Steve, I have read over your post several times and I can’t figure out what you’re trying to do. Is this a bait hive for a trapout? Is your bait hive a nuc or a regular hive body? How many frames? What are you using for bait? Where are you located (city)? Please answer those questions and then I can help you.
Just a word of warning about “professional” bee rescuers, like Ron the Bee Specialist- – make sure you know for a fact exactly where they plan to house your removed bees. You should always ask for an address for the bees new home. A lot of people say, “Oh I give them to local beekeepers.” ??? Ask for cross streets and google map it. There is a LOT of fakery out there, where supposedly pro people are actually removing the bees and comb and dumping them in a field; that is unethical and just as bad as a dumpster. Buyer Beware!
Hi Karl, it sounds like you have situation on your hands that will get worse by continuing to leave it be. Aggressive hives that have gotten overcrowded and have been neglected for as long as yours, have little chance of getting “rehabilitated” without putting your neighbors in danger. Aggressive hives are split only with a huge amount of angry bees flying and looking for a target, as you will uncover and take apart the brood chamber.
I recommend that you put this hive down with dry ice, admit you made a mistake to let it get away from you, and start over using only medium boxes (no deeps). Hives need regular monthly inspections. If you can’t commit to that, you should not be in possession of one. Beekeeping is a craft that is every bit as demanding as tending a herd of goats. If you leave them unattended they will get you into trouble.
We have a lot of bees in LA County. Start over and do it right this time.
Chris, here in California we have the Xerces Foundation, they are doing what you are thinking about, but in Northern California in and around the almond groves.
I would only add that the beekeeping year in your part of the world can be as short as 4 months because of weather! Bees do not fly in temperatures under 50 degrees Fahrenheit so the kind of climate you have in Wisconsin is somewhat limiting. On the other hand, bees in the eastern climes get their acts together incredibly fast and can produce several hundred pounds of honey per year! Find your local beekeeping club or the state association. There is an old saying: “All beekeeping is local.” I wouldn’t be surprised if someone there is also sharing your concerns. Good luck!
RuthMarch 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm in reply to: This newbee needs some information about apartments #7960
Hi Rebecca, there are apartments, and then there are apartments! It’s all about the outdoor space that you have. Beehives must be situated out of doors; an indoor beehive would generally be a nuisance. If you have a patio, there is hope. Or, if you have rooftop access and it’s a flat roof, it’s possible. But the one thing that would not work, would be if you tried to do this without your landlord’s knowledge. That would be a recipe for failure. Keep us posted on your progress!
Here’s a nice picture and article about the bees of the New York City Waldorf-Astoria hotel:
Hi Jan, if you call or email me I can help you build on what you already know. Splitting a top bar hive will not be difficult if you have your location set up and your equipment ready.
I just read in another forum about why it is that bees seem to love freshly-laid asphalt, that bees seem to be instantly attracted to anything smelly that’s in a rough pile. But if it is smoothed out flat, much less so. ???
I am writing just to dispel the myth about Bee Vacs, that one can somehow put the hose up to the entrance of the hive and simply suck out all the bees? It doesn’t work that way! Bees in their spaces between the combs will hang on with those little claw-feet and no vacuum will pick them off from a distance without killing them. If it’s a trap out, a trap out it is, and a Bee Vac won’t do any good at all in that situation. Unfortunately beekeepers who are able to do trap outs are as rare as hens’ teeth; trap outs are labor intensive and you have to have brood you are willing to give up to make it happen, which is often hard to come by if a person has only one or two hives.
Unfortunately it is not possible to save every colony.
Although I bought the Nuc adapter from Dennis’s guy and I love it, I do recommend the stronger, standard size shop vac. You can always adjust the suction down as light as you want, but it’s also nice to have the “full-strength” option for jobs where you need several legnths of hose strung together (like up on that ladder) or just for cleaning up messes. You can give mine a try as well if you like.
Here in Southern California our situation is different than that of Texas or Arizona where the Africanized population appears much less integrated than ours. We feral beekeepers have a pretty uniform experience of having hives that are slightly defensive, where you must wear protective clothing, but not the kind of defensive behavior that Ken Miller describes where they pose a lethal threat.
Make no mistake, the issue of the Africanized bee is highly charged and sparks very emotional and passionate arguments in various sectors of the beekeeping community. Below I quote Peter Borst, of Cornell University:
“The mechanism of ’Africanization’ is still discussed controversially (hybridization versus spread of a pure African gene pool) but the actual interpretation of mtDNA frequencies and the clear existence of hybridization areas in Mexico, Uruguay and Argentina strongly support the spread of hybrid populations which are formed by natural selection. The ecological consequences are quite clear: during the last 40 years this honey bee has occupied most of tropical and subtropical South America. Requeening of Africanized colonies with European queens occurs but beekeepers generally prefer Africanized bees…”
…and one of the reasons they prefer Africanized bees is for their enhanced mite- and disease-resistance. It is up to the individual beekeeper to be responsible and maintain close oversight with her hives. If they start acting difficult, then you may have to make some hard choices about how or if you’re going to keep them. Feral keepers believe in the payoff in survivability.
Otherwise, you can take your chances with commercial bees.
Hi Allison, As Rob mentions, the bee calendar for Los Angeles is unique in its length of time during which bees can forage, due to the abundance of blooms almost year round. For example, I caught very nice swarms both last year and this year in mid- to late October. Harvest of honey depends totally on the ratio of bees and brood, to honey cells. It takes one cell of honey, one cell of pollen, and one cell of water to reproduce one bee. So you don’t want to take more than the population can stand, regardless of what size or style of hive. If you harvest any comb that exceeds 8 frames you definitely run the risk of starving your bees out.
Not sure why you mention inspections every 2-3 weeks May-September but no inspections at any other time? I recommend inspections once a month through October. In October it’s important to prepare for winter by removing unused space from the hive. If boxes are unused by the bees they will have trouble defending them from pests like moths and beetles.
Winter in Los Angeles is basically November, December and perhaps part of January, or even into February. Little honey production takes place during the cold as the bees won’t fly when temps go below 50F. This is when beekeepers should be building new equipment and getting ready to split their strong hives in the spring. As Michael Bush has said,
“All beekeeping is local.”
It looks like your bees had done a great job of building additional comb, as you can see the light colored, brand new stuff which they attached the cut out comb with. But yes, as Rob said, those cocoons are from hive moths, which thrive when bees have too much space to defend. Probably you had a bunch of empty frames in the box, and the small number of bees you had couldn’t keep it patrolled. That’s why when you do a cut out, it’s important to put your rescued bees and comb into a box that’s appropriately sized for them If you only got three frames of brood and storage, put them in a nuc. Especially towards the end of summer/ fall, you want to keep them snug in the equipment you provide and not too much empty space.
The other side of that coin, is that 3 months is too long to wait -usually- to inspect a newly cut out hive. You want to give them 3 weeks to requeen if necessary, and then take a look. You would be looking for new larvae, and/or a queen cell. Try it again! Good luck.
Hi Jennifer! That is a wonderful offer! Please post your email and I will contact you asap!
I have a nuc box about 15 feet up in a tree at a house in the SF valley where the homeowner has had bee hives inside of that tree for years. Her next door neighbor hates when swarms land on his property so we have been keeping a 5-frame nuc box up there pretty much all the time. With beeswax on starter strips, it’s a well used nuc box which I also baited with a q-tip of lemongrass oil. I have caught two swarms there since last April.