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Bees in an owl nesting box

Hello there,

I am fairly new to beekeeping and have transferred 2 colonies from ground irrigation boxes into Flow Hives. I have a 3rd colony on the property that we want to relocate into a hive but it is very hard to get to and would appreciate any advice people have. The bees have been living in an owl nesting box for about 2 years. The box is on a 4x4 post about 8 feet off the ground and on a slope. To top it off nesting boxes are closed except for one side clean out door. So thoughts are do we move them into a hive? If so what is the best way to access them without pissing them off to much. OR do we leave them where they are since it is not close to people or animals etc.?

Thanks for your help,
Alice

Hi Alice, the nesting box will likely be very heavy. The decision whether to remove the bees from the nesting box will be up for you to decide. It’s certainly doable to transfer the bees into a bee box, however doing it without ‘pissing’ them off might be a different story. That will depend on the temperament of the bees.

We can help you with guidance if you decide to go ahead with it. Even if the bees get a bit angry, taking the box further away, after you get it down, will help because the flying bees will return to where the box used to be, leaving you alone. You could put something there temporarily to hold them to stop them flying around looking for their hive.

It may be technically difficult to get that box down unless you have access to a platform.

Also consider that in your location feral colonies will likely have some Africanization. @Dawn_SD usually recommends requeening with known genetics before you have an issue.

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Perhaps I am being naive here but it looks like the bees have found a nice little home in that owl nesting box. They, too, would swarm if/when they got over crowded, so that might be an opportunity to take advantage of it… or is there a consensus that they need to be ‘managed/treated’ somehow in their current home?

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Thank you all for your thoughts and advice. We have decided to leave them where they are and let nature take it’s course. After them living in there for a while the box will be extremely heavy to safely take down. We are going to wait for another one of our hived colonies to start a new queen and do a split off of them since we know they are not Africanized and are well tempered.

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It’s an unmanaged, feral colony of non-native insects… and also they can serve as a nidus of disease and pests for you nearby colonies.

Are the queens in your hived colonies purchased? If you let them requeen themselves, there is also a good chance that the drones she mates with may be Africanized and so her daughters may be, even if she is not.