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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A person has honey bees in his barn wall. Everything can be accessed from the ground I'd just need to remove some barn boards.
Is it too late in the season for this hive to have any chance of survival if I try to re-establish them to a new hive?

He said someone came in last year and tried to kill them with poison but apparently they failed since they are still there this year. Sounds like a strong line of bees to have survived winter and being poisoned.

Thanks,
Ed
 

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I would wait until March or April. I removed two hives within the last week. Both will have to be fed all winter.
 

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Three timelines come to mind:
Season: Being in roughly the same climate zone as I am, I am guessing you (we) likely have a limited number of weeks of potential forage left.

Frames: Assuming you band in the brood combs in a bottom deep, do you have drawn frames for them to fill an upper deep or would they need to draw these out? This would take a lot of fall resources and at least a couple of weeks for them to draw out an upper deep. Without drawn frames available, IMO you are too late.

Queen: If you fail to catch the queen, and they need to raise another you are looking at four weeks or more from egg to nuptual flight. Unless you have a bred queen in reserve to add to the colony, I would think you are too late on this point.

Unless the owner isn't willing to put up with them until then, I would wait until spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That is what I was thinking. They've been there for at least 2 years, leave them over-winter and remove them in the spring.
 

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I will go along with letting them over winter in the barn if the owner is good with it. The cut out I did the other day only had about 25 pounds of honey in stores, of which I had to cut out about 15 pounds of it. Feed, feed, feed to get through the winter.
 

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Gotta go along with everyone else. The bees will start slowing down as cold weather approaches. If the owner is OK with it, leave them till Spring. If they have survived 2 winters, and an attempted poisoning, they will probably survive another Winter. Can you do a trap-out or will it be a cut-out?
If you take them out early-make sure you are feeding them enough in their new home to survive until natural supplies start coming in. Good luck, and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I had an opportunity to visit the site today. I think there may be two hives. They are going in 2 different areas on the building on two different sides. The two entrance sites are about 20 ft apart so maybe 1 huge hive or maybe 2 we'll see in the spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bees are still here and look good.
Question: Should I do a cut out or a trap out? Is there a benefit to one vs the other?

Ed
 

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A trap out can sometimes take up to 2 months to be completed, and you have to make sure you close up EVERY alternate entrance-just leaving the trap entrance open.
With an older barn like the one in your photos-you ain't gonna close up all of them. I'd have to say cut out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Revisiting this thread. When I cutout these bees this Spring I will use foundationless deep frames and secure the comb in them with rubber bands. the comb has to be oriented the same way (top vs bottom) it is now. Since the brood box will mostly be pieced together with cut comb will the bees fill in the bare spots or will I be systematically removing these combs once the bees are established in their new home and have built new comb?

Stuff to bring to the site: Beesuit, smoker and fuel, hive tool, brush, 2 deep hive bodies with foundationless frames and some with foundation, moving/robbing screen for transport, ratchet strap for securing hive on truck, water bottles (for me), something to cut comb with?, spray bottle of sugar syrup?, anything else?

Edit:
Lighter
Water bucket
Hammer
Crowbar
Saw

Thanks,
Ed
 

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A couple of buckets for water. A cutout is a sticky mess. You'll need a bucket of water to keep rinsing your hands.

I was chatting with Crackerbee last night, and he has an idea that I'm going to copy and use. Instead of using rubber bands to secure the comb you cut out, use chicken wire. Staple chicken wire to one side of the frame, and put the comb in. When full, staple chicken wire to theother side of the frame. After a couple weeks, when the bees have filled the frame in, the chicken wire can be removed.

Also, don't forget your CAMERA.
 

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What you will likely miss is the small things, like a lighter. Go over your list 3 or 4 times, then take extra stuff, just in case.
 

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The bees may or may not fill in the empty spaces, have had them do both in different hives. I use a serrated bread knife to cut the comb with, actually its half a bread knife as I took a grinder to a 50 cent yard sale bread knife and cut the blade down to about 6-7 inches as some cutouts you can't get a long knife into and you don't need a 12 inch blade to cut comb to fit frames. When I am not rushed to do the cut out I like to start it as a trap out, by that I meen that I put a wire cone and bait hive up a few days before I start the cut out as it cuts way down on the number of bees to deal with during the cut out and you have the bait hive with a frame of brood that they have already ( in most cases) started a queen cell on to use IF you fail to get the queen during the cut. Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Re-visited this site today. Both hives are bringing in yellow pollen from somewhere. It was 50 today but these hives are in the shade so they weren't as active as mine which are in full sun.
 

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good luck with those feral bees...

there is so much down side to removing bees that I have come to the conclusion that removing them 'as a package' makes more sense. trying to save what little bit of comb and feed is in a feral hive just adds to the risk level (here... I 'assume' it is somewhat to highly geographical problem).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
tecumseh said:
good luck with those feral bees...

there is so much down side to removing bees that I have come to the conclusion that removing them 'as a package' makes more sense. trying to save what little bit of comb and feed is in a feral hive just adds to the risk level (here... I 'assume' it is somewhat to highly geographical problem).
Are you suggesting I raise a queen from one of my good strong hives and have her mated and ready in a 2-3 frame nuc and then go get the feral hives and put them in with her?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Another question;

When I finish taking all the comb/bees that I can get do I wait till dark to close up the hive and transport or just close it up and let whatever foragers get left behind die off?
 

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I always wait till dark and get as many as possible (I'm a softie and hate leaving hard workers behind) :oops: .
If it is a really long distance and you don't want to wait, well.........................
 
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