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Wild Hive in a Log- hanging by a thread and needs intervention- options?


#1

Since i started beekeeping 1 year ago- suddenly I have become aware of people with various bee issues… One such is a friend who has a colony living in a hollow log suspended from a tree. when I saw it it was hanging by two old wires and about to fall- I suggested an intervention- I just got these photos that show the intervention must now happen sooner rather than ater as the hive is now literally hanging by a single thread:

so in the last month at some time this log went from hanging at a horizontal to a 45% angle- I assume that has caused the bees some issues already?

Anyway it could fall at any moment (a 9 foot drop) so we are going to go up and secure it as is for the time being- or take it down and place it on a stand.

I am wondering if anyone has any ideas about how to re-hive it? The ‘owner’ is happy for it to stay as is- or be rehived.

It looks like it’s hollow all the way with a tin cap on one end.

I was thinking I could take that cap off- cut a hole into a brood box and mount the long half inside- letting the bees keep the log and build up into a proper hive- having the log as an elaborate entrance? Is that a stupid idea?


#2

If you have time on your, side, I would set the log on the ground with the lid down, as it’s hanging that way now, put a brood box with a hole in the floor with a trap-out wire cone funnel protruding inside the box, so that the bees can leave via the box but not renter the log. You need to make sure that there is only one entrance to the log.

If you have a frame of uncapped brood I would put that in the new box as this will draw the nurse bees out to cover it and hope fully the queen to investigate.
Fill the box with frames with comb and foundation and see what happens.
Once relocated you can patch up the smaller hole in the floor of you box.
Good luck.


#3

They are terrible knots on the rings. Google “tieing off fencing wire” or if you a fisherman do a simple blood knot.
You could avoid all that by running a new piece of fencing wire through both rings and attaching the ends up the tree. Easy to get it back to horizontal.
If you wanted vertical, attach a new piece of wire to the bottom ring and run the wire up through the upper ring.
Or you could make a shelf or just a bracket, out of some sturdy angle iron part way up the tree and sit the base of the hive on that and tie the log to the tree with fencing wire.

Edit: Or if you want a productive hive go with @cviewbee s suggestion


#4

I didn’t tie those wires! I think that hive has been there for decades. It has been secured temporarily for the time being- have to decide what to do with it now.

If we decided to take it down from the tree and rest it in a stand- would there be any issue moving it about 40 feet to the opposite side of the yard? Would that confuse the bees too much? It’s a bush block and currently it’s a bit near the house


#5

Probably your easiest rehiving option is to get the log out of the tree and move bees and honeycomb into a proper box. When I’ve done these kinds of cutouts, I’ve used a bee vacuum but it can be done without one. Brood is cut out as best you can and secured into frames with rubber bands. If you are able to catch the queen and put her into the new hive, the rest of her tribe will follow.


#6

Not at all. Do it at night and if you don’t have protective gear I’d cover the entrance for transit as bees do sting at night. Then do the @skeggley trick of putting a branch of leaves covering the entrance but not blocking it, to get them to reorientate.
Then after a few days you can take the branch away.


#7

Oh not my trick mate but did use the method to move a colony a short distance successfully and will be doing it again in the near future when I throw together another stand and find a place for my latest charges.

And @Semaphore, as much as I like having feral bees living in trees around the place I think it would be best to bring the log to the ground, and carefully cut the log in half lengthways then rehive in a proper box using a good frame of brood with the cut out comb. Easier to manage and move in the future when or if required.
Great experience too.