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Can anyone help/advise re trapping out bees in Parkside, South Australia?

Dear all

I have joined this forum in the hope of getting (or being put) in touch with someone who can do a “trap-out” of a wild bee colony inside a besser block wall on my neighbour’s property. The wall faces directly onto our property. The colony has been there at least since October last year. It does not bother us, but it is probably not great as one of our kids’ best friends has an allergy, etc. My neighbour is very keen to get rid of them but is also a very determined DIY kind of guy and does not want to pay someone to do it.

I have personally seen him spraying the cavity/entrance with a Karcher high-pressure gun in an effort to move them on. He has also sprayed around the entrance with expanding foam filler (leaving a much smaller space). None of his efforts have worked. He says he has contacted 3 “beekeepers” (no idea who), but for various reasons it has not worked out. For example, one told him that the wall would need to be cut out in order to remove the bees, which he does not want.

I contacted a couple of people: one by email and one by voicemail. Neither responded.

My neighbour is now considering killing them with over-the-counter insecticide (no idea which). My sense is that he is going to do this sooner rather than later.

I have read some articles and seen a couple of YouTube videos about “trapping-out” bees. If I have understood this procedure correctly, it appears to be the only solution that would be acceptable to my neighbour (notwithstanding the cost) as it would not involve cutting through wall.

The Beekeepers’ Society of SA website says,

“…if your swarm is located in a chimney or wall cavity, it is most likely that a pest control operation may need to be called. This may mean that the bees will need to be killed…”

I am not a beekeeper and have no real knowledge of this field. However, I am a keen gardener, and I really love bees. It would really be awful if these bees end up dying just because I didn’t try to sort this out.

Could anyone please advise as to who might be able to help?

I am afraid I don’t know about the economics of the bee-keeping/honey/trapping industry, but it seems to me that hives have value, and a suitably trained and experienced person could get a free hive/honey/etc if they were willing to set up a trap-out system. I (and I assume my neighbour, who is very handy) would be more than willing to help in whatever capacity we could. Anyway, can anyone recommend a person who would be willing to help out?

I am not doing this for any personal gain; I would just hate it if these bees were killed if it could have been prevented.

I completely understand that people make a living from this industry, and may not want to offer advice/services for free. If I have come to the wrong place, and you know of an organisation that would be better able to help, please let me know.

The colony is in Parkside, SA. Hive entrance is easily accessible - about 2 metres from ground on an east-facing wall. Hole is roughly oval-shaped: 80mm x 50mm, and directly next to an air-conditioning conduit. Other than this, there are no real obstructions, and accessing the hole looks relatively straightforward to me.

I would be happy to provide more information if necessary.

Thank you very much for any assistance you can provide. I really appreciate it.

You could try to get hold of a small hive ( nuc, colony,box with 3 or4 frames) place it next to the bees entrance then put a couple of lemon grass drops on the frames, close the lid and hopefully the bees will relocate in the nuc box
No guarantees but worth a try
CFheers, G

It’s possible to trap the bees out. You would need a brood box, a frame of brood as well as some extra frames. If you or your neighbor are prepared to acquire those items, feel free to give me a call. It will be easier for me to explain it over the phone.
cheers

Parkside is only 1/2 hr from @Semaphore. :grin:

I have no idea how you would entice a whole colony (especially the queen) to move into a man made box when the wall cavity is so much more comfortable…

Yes, you could put one way entrances into the wall… but will brood and queen pheromones lure the queen out?

The one way entrance is the only way that I know to lure them out. You wont lure the queen out. This the reason for the frame of brood. You set the one way entrance up in the morning before placing the frame of mostly young larvae right next to the trap. Go & have a cuppa, then come back to find the frame of brood covered in bees. At that point, put the frame of brood inside the brood box, while positioning the entrance as close as possible to the trap-out. The activity of bees at the entrance of the brood box will lure the continual stream of returning bees back into the brood box. There will be a surge of bees early in the afternoon as a lot of bee come out to do orientation flights. This will continue for several weeks until all the bees are out of the wall.

The few things to monitor during that period is to make sure the bees don’t find another entrance back into the wall, they don’t start using the trap as an entrance, they make a new queen with the brood & the population in the brood box doesn’t overfill it.

What I have done in the past is keep removing splits from the brood box while replacing the brood frames. I took 3.5 splits out of one trap-out once. Point 5 because the last split needed a bit of bolstering in order to make a decent queen.

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Hi, George

Thanks very much for replying. I will look into that. Cheers. Matt

Hi, Jeff. Thanks for your reply.

Is this what I would need to get?

Thanks very much for your help so far. Cheers. Matt

Hi Matt, you’re welcome. That’s what you’d need if you were going to keep the colony as a working hive. You’d need to acquire a frame of brood containing mainly young larvae from a beekeeper early on the morning that you decide to do the trap-out. You can rig up a funnel using aluminium fly wire, attach it to the end of a piece of hose, then fit the piece of hose into the wall entrance. Silicone is good to fill any gaps, the smell of it deters the bees from trying to go in around the pipe. Because the bees are orientated to the house entrance, they will not try to go back in via the funnel. You can stand the frame of brood any which way so that it’s as close to the house entrance as possible.
cheers

This leaflet explains what can be done in this case.

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Dear all

Firstly, I want to say thanks to everyone who has replied to my post, especially Jeff. It is really great to know that there are people out there who are willing to share their knowledge and experience - and do so in a clear and respectful way. Thank you.

Unfortunately, and ironically given that we finally had a possible solution to this issue, the situation has changed. My neighbour called me yesterday to say that the bees had invaded his house after they left their inside light on overnight. He came downstairs at 5am to discover their living area full of bees and hundreds more massing on the folding glass doors outside. He was bitten several times getting them out.

That was the last straw for him (fair enough), and he has organised a pest control company to come and destroy the bees on Wednesday.

A real shame, and I wish I had come across this forum sooner. All in all, my neighbour and I contact 6 beekeepers. As it turns out, only one ever responded, which led to the long delay in our dealing with them as we just didn’t know what to do.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I am grateful for the help and information that everyone has offered. You have a very valuable resource here, and I wish I had found it sooner.

Thanks again.

Matt

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It is a shame indeed and a very disappointing outcome.

With more beekeepers than ever, it is a timely reminder for all of the responsibilities of duty of care of our livestock. We all have to be vigilant and inspect our hives and prevent swarming in the first place.

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Hi Matt, you’re most welcome. That’s a shame, the bees must have chewed through to create an opening to inside the house, which does happen. Sometimes sooner or later. All the bees wanted to do is get back outside again. If your neighbor knew that, he could have avoided stings by allowing the bees to gather at the window before letting them fly out. All he had to do then is find the gap where they’re getting inside the house before blocking it.

I know it IS hard to keep calm in that sort of situation.

Did the pest man come last Wednesday, or is he/she coming next Wednesday? If it’s next Wednesday, you’d be able to block off where the bees are going inside. Then you could trap them out.
cheers

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It is a shame about the outcome Matt. Bees can be very intimidating for someone who isn’t a bee keeper and not knowing the best way in handling a situation can make a bad situation worse.
A shame that a local bee keeper didn’t bother as it would have been very doable using @JeffH 's valuable advice.
Cheers

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