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Capturing/rescuing an old hive


I have just landed a bee removal project. Friend of mine has had bees in an old tree in his back yard for a few years. They have left before and came back. After further questioning, I think they have been there for a while (years) and just swarmed split and typical winter cycles. Here are some pictures I have taken before I set a cone and box to entice them out of the tree.


I also have caught/removed a swarm May 9th and they are coming along just fine. Checked them again today and they are starting to expand onto adjacent frames in their new home. Still huddled between two frames, but but the girls are very busy in and out and scouting additional frame space in the hive.


OK…I’m not at all having a go at you so don’t take this the wrong way.
I think that is a wonderful old wild nest. Is it creating a nuisance/hazard?
Wouldn’t it be better for the bees to put a bait hive nearby to try to capture a swarm from them?
What are the chances of getting the queen by putting a trap there?


Wow, they’ve waxed and propilised the heck out of that entrance over the years.
Looks just like you’d imagine a wild colony to look like.

Not to sound all tree huggy or anything but there is something to what Dee asked.
Then again, awesome strong stock for an apiary as well.


Dee, I thank you for your reply, and no worries… you can have a go at me when I need it…I got thick skin! :slight_smile:

To answer your questions… the old hive is a hazard now. The back yard that they had acquired the tree in has gotten so very testy that their dogs and kennel area are not safe. Bee swarm on their dog and anyone whom goes back there. Just not good. I got stung just checking them out. was in a suit and they got me through the shielding above the glove. I rolled a bee in a fold and she stung me.

I am going to use a “trap out” cone on the entrance and a bait box near the gathering. I have seen this technique used be many different keepers and it seems to have great results.


The condition of the owner is not to cut tree…of course. But I want the bees. It is a beautiful hive entrance and yes they have painted that entry very nicely. I find it kind of odd, but most of the bees shown in the pics, on the face of the opening, are drones. That hive must be really full and could possibly be getting ready to split since we have had a really good spring. Like today, our temp this morning was 52 F and the high should be 72. Last week we were a 64-101. Crazy weather.


Let us know how it goes :honeybee:


I will…I think this hive is less than 1k of bees…the rott and hollow of this type of tree usually is not that big…but they do not like being messed with that’s for sure


Here it is! The cone is in place and the box is set. We shall see what happens. Hopefully by the end of the week they will be moved in and I can retrieve the box and bring them home to the bee yard!


So how do you get the queen out?
Sorry…I’m being thick, probably…I often am


The queen comes out with all of the brood…she has too abandon the home and get out…hopefully!


Could you maybe smoke the hive to get them out faster? By emulating a fire, you could get them to abandon ship easier I assume.


That works really well on new packages (usually unintended over-enthusiastic smoking), but it is a lot harder to get a long-established hive to move out with smoke. Just ask @JeffH who smoked a hive out of a massive cable drum - took him a lot of work!


I had to go back today. …they had an alternate entrance…excape hole! To my suprise…there are many bees in the trap box already! It seems to be working.


Only if you cut them out.
She will stay in the tree and die with a few remaining loyal attendants


Hi Bob, the trap out is by far the best way. The one thing you need in the trap out hive is a frame of brood with young larvae. That way the bees will start making a new queen in case the other queen doesn’t come out. If you live in an area with SHB, be aware that as the tree population decreases, SHB will certainly lay eggs in the unprotected brood. You’ll need to do something when that time comes to prevent them multiplying.


Here are some results from tonight’s visit!


They are migrating to the box nicely and moving along just fine. I just hope the queen gets a move on…They are really testy though… they love to fight during full sun… sundown not so much, but still got challenged outside the yard fence in my truck when I had the window down.