Picking up another wild hive tomorrow. Help

Good evening my fellow beeks. I had someone call me and ask me to get the bees off his property before his neighbor kills them, so I did the right thing and bought another hive box. I sat last night, on my birthday, and put together the new hive box to be ready. I went today and bought a bee veil for my helper, charged my video camera, and am ready to tackle this.

The problem I am facing is that the bees are not simply being located from one part of the property to the next. They are actually going to have to be in my car to take a 30 minute trip on the freeway to get to the location of their new home. I will use straps to strap the hive closed. I will also close the entrance so they cannot kill me while I am driving.

I have been watching some videos and see that some people take the brood portion of the colony and place it in the box. Is this going to be an effective method for me to get the bees into the bee hive box? I am trying to get them in no more than two trips to the location. I will also use the modified vacuum that I used to collect my first hive. Is it better for me to leave the bees in the vacuum when transporting? To me it seems like there is not enough air in there to safely do that.

Really need some expert advice here please.

Hi Lisa, you are on a great adventure it would appear. Where are the bees specifically- in a tree, inside a house wall, ??? That makes a difference on how to advise you of which method to use. If it is inside a wall and this is your first time doing it I would highly suggest finding someone who has done that before to help you out. A tree branch is super easy and much more fun, and wouldn’t really require the vacuum method in my opinion.

Your task will be much more straightforward if you have a queen clip and are able to locate the queen and capture her and simply place her on the top of the brood box frames as her pheromones will quickly be discovered and all the bees that are not on brood developing will go to her. Then you can cut the comb in such a way that you can use large elastic bands to wrap around the brood comb trapped inside a foundation less frame. Keep the brood comb frames together as much as possible. Sometimes these finds are small enough for a Nuc box, and sometimes they are much much bigger so you if you get on site and realize you can’t fit them all in the box you have its better to get another box first. I hope they sent you a photo of the area so you have a plan in mind of how you will tackle this.

Your travel plan of 30 minutes won’t be an issue so long as you have ventilation going into the box in some way; a mesh (small for air but not big enough for bees to travel through) screen a few inches long and wide in the box at one end like in a Nuc box would be ideal. I highly recommend you tape the seams of the lid to the box so no bees escape into your car. In small numbers they will stay on the box but if they get out in numbers well you’ll have a problem so keep your veil handy in case. Another tip, keep the orientation of the frames in the same direction as the car is driving so that the frames are not rocking back and forth and potentially crushing your bees/queen.

I’ve never used the vacuum so I can’t advise you there-- sounds much more traumatizing to the bees which I would not think is going to be great to move them but clearly other people have done this so they can chime in.

In my experience, captures like this do better when you pull a frame of developing eggs/larvae from your other colony (but not the queen!) and put it in the new box so that the bees want to hang out to take care of them and as the new bees emerge they don’t know that the rest of the bees came from somewhere else and so your numbers build up quicker. A frame that has some empty already drawn comb with some mix of brood and honey is ideal-- even with some empty cells so that if you are able to capture the queen she has a place to start laying right away.

Looking forward to the pictures, and the story! Bee careful. Here is a link to a 7 minute swarm in a branch capture that we did (my first one!) that may give you an idea of how to handle them if they are on a branch: https://www.facebook.com/2166576810079305/videos/697349154030381/


Thank you Tim. This is all great information as well as the information you posted on Facebook for me. I didn’t even think of a screen for ventilation. I did think of leaving the hive box there all day and then going back to get it at dark. I also love your idea about having the people who call me send pictures of the location so i can know what to expect. I am pretty much flying blind right now, but am going to make it work. I have plans to go to Lake Tahoe tomorrow so I am praying that I get all the bees today.

I tried to splice together the last videos of my first colony rescue but they did not work so sadly I only have a bunch of short 10 - 15 seconds clips. I have no idea what he was doing with the camera but hopefully today will be better.