First cut out

Discussion in 'Swarms, Cut outs, and Trap outs' started by Daniel Y, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I got a call last week about bees living in a pillar on the front porch of a house. The man of the house is not that concerned with them being around but his wife is terrified of them. Both or convinced the bes are making to much of a mess of the house and worried that they are getting further into the structure than just the pillar.

    Temps this friday and Saturday are forcasted to be at 60 degrees so I am planning the cut out for Firday and Saturday mid day to early afternoon. For me temp must be 55 or better and bees must be active to begin. Bees will be kept in car to remain warm if needed.

    I am planning on the cut out to take 3 hours at most. Hope I am in the ball park with that one.

    The pillar is to be removed. so I am able to take off one entire side to get to the comb. this will be almsot as easy as taking from as from a lang. minus the frame part. Homeowner has already removed nails etc to the plywood and held it in place with a few screws. so not a lot of de construction to do. mainly take time to not destroy comb. If I have to I will be able to close it back up and wait til the next day to finish.

    So far I plan to go with two deep boxes with empty frames. Cut comb away and rubber band it into the frames. I am hoping two deeps hold all of this as the home owner said he cut a peep hole and it looks like the pillar is about half full of comb.

    I kind of fell sorry for the guy becasue he sems to be perfectly comfortable aroudn bees. but his wife is terrified of them. He sort of likes the idea of bees living on his front porch. she won't use anything but the back door.

    Anyway he is happy to see that the bees do not have to die and has been a huge help in prepping them for removal.

    I am ot sure jsut how much thsi will count as a first trap out. it is goign to easy. no crawl spaces. no having to bump my face into the comb. I may even have half a chance of catching the queen. If not these bees will turn my two nucs into full size hives.

    Wish me luck and please fell free to offer any suggestions. I don't think I know what I am doing. this is just the plan that sounds most workable to me.

    Oh My plan so far is to cut away the plywood from one side of the nuc abotu a one foot sectin at a time. this way the entire side of the hive is not exposed but it does give me acces to some of teh comb. get that removed then cut away the next section. I can then stop and put all the wood back if necessary. Let them get through the night and come back and start again the next day.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    First, put only brood comb into the hive, then feed. Don't try to frame honey comb. It is too heavy and will kill bees.

    second, plan for 2 days at 3 hours and hope you finish.

    Third, If you don't uncover the whole hive at once, then start at top and work down. Uncovering a little at a time will cause the queen to flee. If she gets into the ceiling area above the pillar, you will never find her or about 2 lbs. of bees that went with her.
     

  3. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Iddee, Start at top, no problem. prevent any escape, check. I am fluent in duct tape :) If anythign there is a 4X4 post in the center of the piller. the plywiid is a shell that sotne was placed against. making a semi flase stone pillar. all that is left is that plywoodd shell. I am concerned that the 4X4 "Real Pillar: does penetrate the ceiling of the porch. Otherwise the queen has no wehre to go btu a huge hollow space within that plywood box. It should be not problem to cut the first piece of ply away at the top of the pillar.
    No saving of honey comb. I will crush it and feed it back to the bees. what part I don't keep, he he. Thanks for that one I wasn't thinking along that line and it is a big help.
    I am expecting the queen will hide in some corner if she does not outright drop to the ground to get away. Or get balled with bees trying to protect her and they all drop. We will be keeping a constant eye out for her until she is found.

    Also according to what you say. 2 days 3 hours each. We will be starting tomorrow afternoon. That is the safe plan anyway. But thanks for the confirmation. I will update as to how it is going and hopefully I will get a copy of any video. That way you all can enjoy the comedy along with us.
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    3 hours seems optimistic,especially if you've never done one before. Sometimes you just have to stop, and take a few deep breathes (don't forget to breathe) :lol:
    Any chance you will have a bee vac available?.
    No one is going to laugh, we all have had our share of stuff go sideways now and then. :???:
    Will appreciate any pics or videos you can get, they are great tutorials.
    Best of luck. :thumbsup:
     
  5. Lburou

    Lburou Member

    Messages:
    553
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Be sure to leave a small piece of comb attached (preferably brood comb) in case the bees do run away into a new void. Come back in a few hours and there is a good chance the queen, (if you have missed her), and remaining bees will be on that comb. You are going to have to make some mistakes, make mental notes and correct them as you prepare for the next one. Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. :)
     
  6. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    No bee vac, goign to try and stratagize to brush bees from comb into box as we go. We will see how well that plan goes. I had the chance to cut bees from a ceiling several years ago. had no idea how to proceed.

    As for the weather. it is better than expected so far. it got to 60 today and is forecasted to get warmer each day tomorrow and Saturday. My bees where flying like it is July. IT is now almost 6 and the temp is still 56 degrees I could still be working if I really had to. So tomorrow looks like I can get a decent 3 hours in.

    I'll let you all know how it goes.
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Rather than brush, use a glove and cut the comb out. Shake the bees into the box from pollen and honey frames. Rubberband the brood comb into the frames, bees and all.
     
  8. Bees In Miami

    Bees In Miami New Member

    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Daniel Y: I say this with the utmost respect...don't EVER say it's going to be 'easy'! :eek: The 'easy' ones have been my biggest disasters to date. Prepare for EVERY scenario...Frames with foundation, and frames without...rubber bands, etc...saw, crow bars, hammers, etc,etc... prepare for ALL scenarios! Bring some chicken wire and a staple gun in case the comb is too soft, etc, etc, etc, etc... Take your time, but don't count on it going "as planned". Be prepared to change plans in a heart beat. You will have casualties, and just take that as a fact of life. I wish you the absolute best!! Be a Boy Scout, and "be prepared" for change! Find that Queen! It makes life a LOT easier, but still doesn't guarantee success. We know we are doing our best to help the bees, so go with it! Keep us posted! Good luck!!!

    edited: And make sure you have some rubber gloves for when you get to the honey! You'll kill more bees with a flood of honey than you can imagine! Rinse often!

    I would abandon the bee brush idea unless they beard up. Take the comb and bees at the same time.
     
  9. JPthebeeman

    JPthebeeman New Member

    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    In a porch column you say, okay. Unless there is rot or termite damage I will venture a guess based on my experience that the bees can only go so far vertically without running into something solid and impenetrable such as an overhead beam above the column's capital. In vertical void spaces they most always start building from the top and work downwards. I would start at the top and work downwards. If this is a mature colony, and a decent sized column, plan on the removal taking a minimum of 4 hours and don't forget that in order to do the job properly it must be completed after dark. Your final step will be sealing the colony after dark and placing it in your vehicle. If you don't finish after dark you will leave behind a good number of bees and you certainly don't want that. Neither does the home owner.

    Do as Iddee has suggested and transfer your brood comb sections with the bees on them. You can shake excessive amounts into the box. Some, perhaps a good many will go right back on up to the spot they came from but slowly but surely they should begin to orient to the new set up. Place your honey comb in a sealed container or run the risk of some major robbing activity.

    Personally, I would begin this job in the morning once its warmed a little and proceed forward. It would be in your and the bee's best interest to have all of the hive transferred well before darkness sets in. As evening progresses, it may get cooler and thus the bees start clustering more and more, making your job that much more difficult.

    Once you have removed all of the comb, use a bee repellant such as bee quick and spray the interior of the column (not the bees!) to force the bees to orient to the new set up. If you have it all done at least an hour or so before dark they should orient nicely to your set up and you may then have the chance to observe them until dark and that would be the fun part in all this!

    Take pictures or no one will believe you were ever there! :lol:


    ...JP
     
  10. Bees In Miami

    Bees In Miami New Member

    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    JP: I have watched probably close to all your You Tube removals, but have never seen comb 'collapse' on you. What am I doing wrong please? You are an absolute MASTER...and as hard as I try, they haven't worked out like yours yet. Getting better, but not as smooth as yours! Thanks!
     
  11. Lburou

    Lburou Member

    Messages:
    553
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    It must be the editing... ;)
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    JP, thanks for adding your experience to the thread. :thumbsup:

    "Take pictures or no one will believe you were ever there!" :thumbsup: :lol: :mrgreen:
     
  13. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    JP, Thanks for your input. I have also watched many of your videos. this is partially what leads me to think this one is easy.

    This pillar is basically new construction. Ti is only about 3 years old and has had 2 colonies in it so far. Owner has decided to rebuild it due to it being a bee magnet.

    My main concern abotu teh bees moving up is that the actually support piece is a 4X4. most likely with the ceiling joists or trusses setting on top. I am not sure it will actually have a true cap. There should be measures to prevent ay holes form allowing passage. the ceiling material chould have been cut tight and sealed etc. so we will see how good of a job they did when they built the house. I agree that ability to move up into the structure of the house is minimal with proper construction. Sloppy work. well anything goes.

    The pillar is actualy pyramid shaped. a bit more than a foot square at the top and nealry 3 feet square at the bottom. So far everything indicated the comb is from the top to about half way down the pillar or about 4 feet tall.

    I am thining that I want to get some if any brood in teh box to help keep bees there asap. Fiding the queen. I got that from all the videos and realize that is usually one of the last things that happens.

    As for brusing off the bes. I was thinkign I will cut out each piece and then do teh brushing if needed. I will ruber band comb into fraems as I go giving the bees more and more reason to stay in the box rather than return to the colony. I know this will be an ever increasing problem as I reduce comb space and bees cluster. We will obviously have different ideas of where home is. I am also aware that both brood and the queen are the best ways to get the bees to see it my way.

    I have already explained ot the hoeonwenr and his wife that the hive will have to set on the front porch until after dark. IN my conversation with her she already spoke like she expected me to take a shovel dump the bees in a box and be gone. so I tried to set her expectations a little more to reality. I laso told both of them that the bees and there well being are my first priority. so if that means two or three days of bees and hives on the front porch. that is what it will take to get them moved safely. I also said that this is a mess and sometimes the fix gets messier before it gets better. They are going to go away for the weekend rather than watch and be tormented.

    Okay well it is 5 a.m on the morning of. I will go to work at 6. get off at 2:30 and go directly to the cut out. I will not be able to check back for further advice. I want to thank all of you for your comments and advice. The list of little things I have adjusted in my plans is far to long. A lid for the honey bucket for example. Adapt and overcome is the most important message I am getting. and find the queen is the best way to make this easier.

    Anyway I have read the comments and appreciate all of them. I will post more info on how it is goign probably tomorrow morning.

    Oh on the waiting tomorrow moring thing. you have to understand how our weather works here in the high mountain dessert. a 60 degree day means a 20 degree night. I have to wait for it to warm up again the next day. It was 65 yesterday it is now 33. It will be 60 plus again by the time I get off work in 9 hours. Yes it is a huge pain to put up with but it is the way we do it here in real cowboy country. If the dry dessert does not kill you during the day. it will kill you with cold at night. I know of people that have died breaking down out there in the dessert less than 20 miles from town.

    We wil do our best to get pictures. That has been a problem for me this past year. The only camera we have for now is our phones and getting the pictures on line is an issue. I cannot download from my phone and getting my daughter to download pictures from hers is like pulling teeth. I will do my best. I really hope the guy that wants to film it is there and we can get some good video of it.
     
  14. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Go get 'em Daniel.
    We may not be there in person, but we sure are in spirit! :thumbsup:
     
  15. JPthebeeman

    JPthebeeman New Member

    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Sounds like you are able to put in the time needed for this to work out. Good luck with the process and try to enjoy the experience as much as possible!

    Bees in Miami, I will PM you.


    ...JP
     
  16. Lburou

    Lburou Member

    Messages:
    553
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    JP, I don't think you realize the cult following you have engendered via your youtube take outs! I'm all ears if you are giving advice on any aspect of take outs. :)

    Daniel Y, we're all sitting here by our computers waiting to hear how it went..... :)
     
  17. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It has been a very long day. It was busy at work and I went straight form there to the cut out.

    The bees where all the way from the top to about half way down. the pillar. the comb was actually built in a radial from the center post to the plywood box of the pillar. Form the side I first entered from it was all very dry brittle empty comb. as I worked my way around I started finding pollen then honey and then brood. I know we got at least 3 frames of brood and maybe 4. I really don't have a since of how many bees all I know is it was a ton of them. It is as if the bes had started on the north side of the hive and where working their way around to the south.
    We also got a full 5 qallon bucket of honey and another 5 gallon bucket of empty comb.

    After three house it started to cool down. the bees where not even hardly moving. I had to decide to either go for broke meaning we had to find the queen. or leave what bees where clustered at the top of the post. It was starting to get dark and I decid3d it was getting to dark to even search for the queen. So there is still a fare sized cluster of bees hanging on the post at the ceiling. We will go back in teh morning to get them into the box. we left the box on the porch with an opening . If we already have the queen hopefully the bees will move into the box in the morning.

    for now I am so tired I can hardly think straight enough to write this. I think with another half hour to an hour we would have gotten finished.

    Got 4 stings out of it all. all due to no gloves on my hands at the time.. The bees overall where very gentle considering they had their home torn to shreds.

    The guy did show up with a camera and got about 2 hours of it. he said he will get me a disk of it through the home owner. We had a real turn out. at one time there where about 10 spectators. Very friendly neighborhood.
     
  18. Bees In Miami

    Bees In Miami New Member

    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Good for you Daniel Y!! Thanks for the update! Nice job! I hope you show up in the morning to find all the bees a-marchin' into your box! Or, if you haven't got her yet, that you are successful getting the Queen! I will say a little prayer that your bees stay with the brood, and don't go back to the column if the Queen is still there! Keep us updated! :thumbsup:
     
  19. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Congratulations on your foray into cut-outs. :thumbsup:
    Keep us informed as to how "the rest of the story" turns out.
     
  20. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hello again, here I am at 3;30 a.m. Yes I do this even on Saturday. This is my quiet time. I am a lot more rested and I think my brain is working better now. notice I said better not good.

    Bee vac, It is big on my list if I ever do this again.

    Okay the pillar is a square shape that tapers form wider to narrower from the bottom to the top. The real support was a 4x4 post in the center of this plywood box. where the bees where was not even as well constructed as a hive box. it was 4 2x4 corner supports covered in OSB actually.

    Since the pillar is not to be saved. Complete destruction was an option. so that is basically what I did. This made getting in time almost nothing. A quick cut about half way across one side and we where able to pry half of one side off to get a look at the comb.

    The pillar was roughly oriented with a North, East, South, and West side. After getting a peek up from the bottom I decided to start on the North side first. I made a second horizontal cut through the plywood about 12 inches above the first and removed another small piece of the ply. this gave me direct access to the first comb. It was all completely empty. dry brittle and no bees. For the most part the comb was running from northeast. to Southwest on a diagonal with the box. The tip there is don't stop using frames. bees have no concept of how to use a square space. I was able to clean out the entire North side without much trouble. Within 30 minutes I had half the comb removed from the hive. Note this amounted to a 5 gallon bucket packed full of just empty comb.

    Just as I reached a line that would have separated the Norhtwest and the Southeast half of the square. I started hitting the first still in use comb and the bees had a mild hum going.

    Now imagine the entire north side of the pillar is completely gone. At the top of the pillar the comb is a single solid mass of honey and was obviously going to be the biggest problem. so I was working my way around rather than up or down. At the South West corner is where I found the brood. Keep in mind these combs where about 12 inches wide at the bottom tapering up to about 3 inches wide at the top. I was able to cut any unused section out of this that was below the brood. then cut out the brood. then remove whatever was above the brood. usually pollen and honey. So far the only difficulty is that I am also running into bees and they wanted to just cluster over the brood. getting them to move so I could cut the comb out was obviously going to become a problem. but still so far so good and I have two complete sides removed from the pillar. A bee got stuck in my hair and ended up stinging my scalp. so I decided to gear up. I was goign JP style up to now. but I just don't have what it takes to keep it up. We are now about an hour into the job. 2 sides finished. And I am now facing not only the bees getting thicker and thicker. but the real meat of the the colony. lots of honey. lots of bees. I was also starting to have a hard time deciding which side to work on next. a lot of the heaviest combs where attached between this last East and South side pieces. It ended up being a little more brood, most of there pollen which combined filled 10 frames. 3 to 4 frames of brood the rest pollen and we did leave them some honey in the box for now. So basically I have 10 gallons of heavy sticky comb that is packed shoulder to shoulder with bees. No vac and they are starting to ignore smoke.

    I could not at first remove the south side of the pillar. so I started cutting out what comb I could until it looked like most of it was detached. Eventually I just grabbed the side and yanked it off at first it seemed fine. but as I was taking the plywood over to the pile. Suddenly a huge piece of honey filed comb collapsed right out of the heart of the colony. I really don't have much of an idea how much damage it caused or how many bees it killed. I will just say it was the worst moment of the entire cut out. It too us a while to get that piece gathered up. cut into pieces. clean the bees out of it. I also took a bit of a break to just rethink how to proceed. I didn't want to see that happen again. But that chunk of comb was huge. Maybe 16 to 18 inches wide and nearly 3 feet tall and all honey.

    Okay so I now have three sides of the pillar gone one disaster cleaned up and am starting to really want to see the queen. No indication yet where she is but she is now missing her brood nest. I figure she is not thinking much of me at this moment. And I am certain she put out a contract on me. It was through this last quarter of the the removal that I took 3 out of 4 of my stings. It is getting cooler the bees are waning to just cluster more and more and we have lost the ability to move them around with smoke. Originally I had wanted to be able to take the pillar apart in a way that I could have closed it back p if it got to cool. as it was the home owner had made a few cuts of his own. and in doing so had actually cut through the support pieces. I was not able to just take bits and pieces of the pillar apart. I was having to remove entire sides. I was already seeing I would be able to get all the comb. but I was not going to be able to get all the bees. I was moving as many bees on the comb as I could and we where getting them into the box. and for the most part it seemed they where staying. but still lots of bees where packing in at the top of the 4X4.

    We are now past the 2 hour mark. one hour to go if I was lucky and it is starting to get cooler. It also seemed to me that the bees where simply terrorized. Anything that resembled normal behavior was gone. they where just trying to hide.

    I was able to cut the comb away from the last side piece of the pillar. removed it, cleaned the bees off of that into the box. and remove all the remaining bees. I then started to brush the bees from one side of the 4x4 post as my son held the box up so the bees landed in it. he got one sting and I got one for our trouble and it was starting to get dark. for the first time the bees where acting very angry. Nothing would make them move. And there are some nooks and crannies up at the top that are making things a bit more difficult. I made the call to just set the box on the porch and leave what bees that where at the top of the 4x4 for the night. All I can do is hope it was the right call.

    What I really need is a bee vac and just suck those bees out of that tight corner and nooks. And of course you know the queen is going to be under that cluster of bees.

    So I have the brood in the box. the queen who knows where and about two fists full of bees weathering it outdoors tonight. it is 37 degrees right now at 4:18 and I am biting my nails to get back and finish the job.

    We had a few glitches in the entire process that slowed us down. I would cut out the comb and put it in a box. my son and daughter where supposed to clean it of any bees and then decide what to do with the comb. My daughter got way behind in putting comb in frames. My son was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to keep up with this that or the other thing and basically we ended up with two deep boxes of comb piled full of comb. So I lost quite a bit of time on getting cut out done from stopping and helping them get caught up. After that we had one deep box full of frames which is something my daughter is very familiar with. and she was able to kick in and keep up. Basically she said now this is something that looks familiar. I know what to do now. We got back to work and that process was working very well. But by then we had already lost to much time. Then for a while my daughter got caught up in trying to save individual bees that where running around on the ground.

    Had we not had the comb collapse. not fallen behind on getting comb handled, and not lost a bit of time chasing bees. I am certain we could have gotten done. But the real thing that killed us getting it done in 3 hours was the comb collapse. that simply brought work to a stop for quite a while.

    The good news is we took the time to get that comb off the ground and did not kill a whole lot of bees in the process. The honey can be replaced.

    I think my biggest tip to anyone that is goign to attempt a cut out is this.

    It is ugly at best. it is total destruction of a colonies home in an attempt to help them. But it sure does not feel much like help when you see the number of bees that die. Bees are going to die so don't get hung up on it. you have to keep moving. Because if you don't even more bees are going to die. So just get your head around the idea it is a matter of bad or worse. take your time. look carefully make your plan of attack and then do it. if it turns out being a bad plan. you have another comb in front of you to make a better plan with.

    Oh and it is okay to lick your fingers sometimes. Man that is good honey.