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Hive inside old recliner arm chair

Thought I would share my second experience in re-homing a colony of bees. My first attempt was successful, until they absconded from their new home a day later! (See my “Bees in solenoid box” POST)

But THIS TIME with more experience & knowledge under my belt I believe they are happy to stay at my place rather than inside an old recliner arm chair!

So I was asked to see If I could remove this colony by a friend of a friend as her kids were walking past it often & she was concerned they may eventually get stung (one of her kids has had a bad reaction in the past)

Upon inspection it was quite fascinating what they had accomplished. So. Much. HONEY! Home owner said they would have been there approx 6-12 months, prior to that they had never seen the bees,

Its Autumn here is Australia, where I live we still get beautiful sunny days 20-25 deg C, nights down to about 5-8 deg. My guess is that the hive had stocked up over Spring & Summer and were just bursting at the seams with capped honeycomb (literally!)

Youll notice Im not in any protective gear. I have learnt from the guru himself JP the Beeman a great deal from his Youtube vids. He hardly ever had protective gear on & knows the bee behavior very well. So, I myself have learnt bee behavior & these girls were absolutely placid. Maybe a bit cranky at the beginning when I was trying to get close, but I did use some smoke to calm them initially.

I wondered when I would come across more brood comb… but it never happened, basically got a frame & a half of brood comb with very few larvae & capped brood. Is this just a sign they’re just keeping the population in check? As there was quite a lot of bees still, enough to fill the 5 frame NUC I used to trap them easily.

Anyway, videos & photos tell a thousand words:

Heres how I found them… happily entering the cavity through the small lever that used to extend the leg cushion out:

Then the investigation begins:

More ripping off fabric & removing plywood:

Decided to turn the chair on its side to make it easier to work with:

Began to remove comb as carefully as possible, but it got to the point where there was so much honey I was never going to save it all. And it was very hard to pull it out without damaging it:

Progress:

So much honey it was insane:

Not the most technologically advanced method, but a nice spatula can do the trick in moving stubborn bees into the box:

I knew where her royal highness was hiding by the way the bees were crowding into the one little void space. But I took my chances on her walkin out overnight & going into the box of her own accord since there were now brood & bees in there:

BUT of course, the next day the owner sent me a photo and it looked like the queen must still be outside the box as bees were still crowding the same spot I thought she was in:

So that night I was back at it, this time I had to get my hands involved as the spatula or any other tool was not going to get into that void carefully & effectively enough get the bees out & give me chance to grab the Queen:

In the end, I was scooping out bees with my right hand, holding a torch with my left. Stings were rare, overall maybe 10-15 on my hand.

But it was worth it coz I was able to spot the queen & as usual in my excitement I grabbed her and put her in the box, immeditaley after I thought “You dopey you had the queen cage right there with you you should have caged her!!”

Later that night - Left Hand


Right hand:

Anyways… As of today, they have been moved into a deep box, added some drawn comb for them and let them get accustomed to their new home. I will whack in a frame of brood/larvae/eggs from my other strong hive to give them incentive to stay!:smiley:

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Nice work!!! Fun to see all the great documentation you were able to do :star_struck:
Thanks for posting & let us know how they make out!

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Nice work, however I always suit up & wear gloves. Anyway, with that frame of brood you were going to add, if you used it at the start, placed as close to the cluster as possible, for an hour or so & left it, the queen would have almost certainly moved onto it, with the rest of the bees in the cluster, especially if that frame contained a lot of larvae. It doesn’t matter what orientation the frame sits, for that purpose. Then after the bees have moved onto that frame, it’s just a matter of gently placing it into the brood box. With the queen on that frame of brood, inside the brood box, the rest of the bees will march in.

This strategy works well, saves time & anxiety, not to mention looks easy & sure to impress any onlookers.

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