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:
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
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!