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Bees in a Possum Box


#1

I’ve know about this colony since just after I ordered my Flow Hive during the first week of the campaign.

Last night I went and got it.


Plan A was to tape up the entrance and the place the box in a big cardboard box.

That didn’t work for two reasons. 1 couldn’t get the tape to stick or wind it around the box to secure some newspaper over the entrance. Anyway trying to do that I annoyed them and a lot of the foragers that I was hoping to keep inside to bring home swarmed out.

Plan B I just stuffed the entrance with crushed up balls of the newspaper. They didn’t like that but it worked.

Cut the metal strapping in two places to free the box so I could lift it onto the adjacent roof. Opps there is a third strap. Cut that one and then lifted the box to the roof. Then the top of the ladder and then hugging it to my chest climbed down the ladder.

Possum box way bigger than the 12" square I’d been told to expect so it wasn’t going in the cardboard box I’d brought although it would have been close without the possum box roof sticking forward 6" or so.

Ended up leaving the paper in sticking in the car and driving home in my suit. I was a bit worried about them suffocating but they seem alright now.

Only got two stings on my arm through my suit.

Question is what now?

At the moment I have them inside my flow hive with all the frames taken out with. The possum box just fits with some extra wood blocks around the side to raise the roof.


#2

I would wait until Dark lift them out genitally and place the possum box into the brood box and leave until morning.

Let them get used to the flight path for a couple of days, then pull the possum box out and shake into brood box with frames. redistribute any brood and stores as needed by using laccy bands to hold their combs into frames - they should fill in the gaps and secure them


#3

The possum box is currently in the brood box and the super. The last photo is through the side window of the flow frame super. That is the possum box you can see in there.

I’ve had a swarm leave me before so I’ve got the queen exclude on the bottom for now.


#4

nice box, already pre-cut for the Flow Frames :wink:


#5

OK it will still work - but you will have to cut the existing comb to fit inside the frames for the brood box - have you a second brood/super box - not the Flow box - as it sound like equivelant to double brood in size from what you are saying


#6

Hi Stuart, this is what I do. With the possum box near where you want your hive to be, give them smoke. You’ll need to gently prize the box open. With a 3 or 4 inch broad knife, cut the honeycomb out to put in a clean bucket. See if you can get the slabs of brood to fit in the empty frames, as many as possible. Place those in the brood super in the position you want it to sit. After removing all the h’comb & brood, shake the remaining bees into the hive & put the lid on. Scrape the possum box out. If your allowed to keep it, you’ll have an excellent swarm trap for the future. I have a video of something similar… Here it is…


I don’t recall using any smoke… Also the bananas were lovely:)


#7

How long should I wait JeffH?

Should I just do it straight away?


#8

Yes Stewart, do it straight away as long as it’s where you want the hive to be. Depends if your working in the heat of the day or not. I would only wait till it cools down for my own comfort. If you get the job done say an hour before dark, that’ll give the bees time to get settled into the hive. If your going with all foundationless frames, the brood you insert into the frames will need to be straight otherwise the comb on the other frames will follow the same pattern. Just another side tip. If you can use part of the possum box as a temporary lid or even place some of it inside the box, only for a day or so, that will give added insurance of the bees staying in the new box. Good luck with that, cheers


#9

To keep them in the box I was going to place the queen excluder on the bottom to keep her in place.


#10

Why would anyone have a ‘Possum Box’?


#11

No Stewart, you don’t need to do that. The bees will stay with the brood as long as you can keep it in good nick, you’ll be right. The other thing that will help, it just occurred to me, because your box is new, dab a few drops of lemongrass oil in a few places. With the lemongrass oil & some pheromones from the possum box inside the new box for a day, the bees will stay there.


#12

The idea was to give the possums some where else to live rather than in the roof of the bungalow.

Apparently the Possums didn’t like that idea and then the bees moved in.


#13

Ah. That makes sense. I thought maybe it was some thing for supporting the possum population. I totally get trying to keep them out of the roof!


#14

Well that didn’t go as planned.

Got my frames ready.

Put a sheet down so I could knock them out and hopefully have them climb up to the hive.

Unpacked the hive

Said hello to the ladies

This is where things started to get really interesting.
Far out look at that propolis.

Took the lid off

I new I wanted straight comb so I started cutting in on the bottom right with the aim of giving myself room to move by the time I got to the straight comb on the left. Easier said than done.

I don’t have many photos to show because I wasn’t taking a glove off but I didn’t like what I found. Or rather didn’t find. Couldn’t find any brood. Well there was a little bit of drone brood and there were quite a few empty cells but I couldn’t find any brood or eggs. I’ve been told that this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a queen there but its not looking good.

I got about 5 frames with something in them but it was really tricky finding anything straight enough. I put most of the comb containing the drone brood and a couple of bits bearing capped and uncapped honey.

The bowl is full of mostly full honey comb.


#15

I’ll go out again shortly and give the old box another shake out.


#16

Well they seem to be settling in for the night. A lot of bees are in the hive with not nearly so many out and about.

Here is one of the examples of the drone brood.


#17

Excellent photos and discussion folks but…

I am still crying with laughter at the visual image of lifting the bees out by their genitals.

Bloody autocorrect!!!

Best laugh of my long day Valli! Even though it was unintentioned - Gold.


#18

Sorry I’m a it dyslexic (I call it Dispixel) I don’t always spot my typos - yeh Bleeding Auto Correct! Thanks for the laugh


#19

XHey there Weaver,

Great adventure. Thankyou for the photos.

As Mr. Jeff has noted in his post about your Flow Hive being new, I was wondering about the photo that shows the possum box inside the flow box…the box appears untreated (raw) on the outside.

What is your plan for treating the box with your new bees inside? What are the considerations for that?

Cheers!


#20

I’m not fussed.

Western red cedar should be fine without treatment. Well the heart wood anyway.

It well turn grey over time but I don’t mind that. Treating with linseed oil or tung oil or some other equivilent has to be done on a regular basis and even then it will still go grey over time.