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Bee Colony Cut-out/Free Bees - Essex!!!

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PaleoPerson 

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I will have to do a cut out for the farmer where I keep my bees. The colony has been in the barn since last year (not from my bees) but they are now beginning to cause a problem for the public.

The colony is in the top of the barn at first floor level, but access should be relatively (!) simple as we can work from the inside and the colony should be at approximately head height or a bit higher. The internal chipboard/plywood wall can be removed to gain access. If any work needs to be done at any sort of height, I estimate that it should be no more than 1 foot off the floor (unless you are vertically challenged, in which case it will be higher).

If anyone wants to assist, then your help would be appreciated and you can keep the bees as well. Just bring your own hive equipment/frames/rubber bands etc.

The site is located South of Chelmsford in Essex. I am initially looking to remove them next Tuesday 13th / Wednesday 14th.

If you are interested, I am contactable on 0789 120 2245

Rick
 
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PaleoPerson 

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I now have someone to assist me on this - Thank you
 

PaleoPerson 

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Thanks Scott and Daryl for the help.

The size of the colony was 4 feet tall x 20 inches wide and upto 3 combs deep.
:cheers2:
 

kazmcc 

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wow! had they just gone and done that themselves? is that type of height unusual for bees who create their own combs? clever little blighters :)
 

MJBee 

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Yes wild swarms are very industrious, I did a cut out from a ceiling last year where the comb occupied a space 50cm wide 20cm deep and 3 METRES long!!
It had been there for a number of years :)
 

kazmcc 

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yikes! What did you do with it? Am I right in saying you take frames that don't have foundation in and use elastic bands to hold the bees own made comb in place? Did you use it all or did you have to throw some away? You would need 10 hives to house it all lol, ( maybe a bit of an exaggeration lol )
 

SER 

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Yes wild swarms are very industrious, I did a cut out from a ceiling last year where the comb occupied a space 50cm wide 20cm deep and 3 METRES long!!
It had been there for a number of years :)
Long before my time, when feral colonies were common my grandfather and great-grandfather replaced a flat lead roof on a tower of a local mansion house, the tower was about 15'x15' with 10" or 12" joists the void under the roof was solid comb!
According to my dad about 80% of the comb was dumped but they were still eating honey from metal biscuit tins for years!

Just shows what they can do when left for years and years

Si.
 

MJBee 

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SER,
Yes pre-varroa a "good" site was continuously occupied and just grew and grew. Not so now sadly, I suspect my cut out was the result of serial occupations over a number of years.
Kazmcc,
The comb with honey stored in it yielded 40kg of dark honey and 2kg of wax. The brood filled 10 Commercial size frames with quite a bit left over, we did not see the queen and a week later there were queen cells. The queen mated and is doing fine having over-wintered well.
 

Chris Luck 

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Yes pre-varroa a "good" site was continuously occupied and just grew and grew. Not so now sadly, I suspect my cut out was the result of serial occupations over a number of years.
If the UK is anything like France this whole varroa thingy is possibly being overstated. I know of a large number of "feral" colonies here in trees or buildings that have, and continue to have "continuous occupancy" for at least the last 10 years, some where space allows are quite sizeable as far as can be ascertained and all appear to be strong and vigorous.

Chris
 

m100 

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and continue to have "continuous occupancy" for at least the last 10 years
I note the quotes, but exactly how can anyone be sure? Unless you continuously monitor, or manage a colony on a regular basis I can't see how you know it hasn't swarmed, or completely abandoned the nest, or been recolonised by another swarm.
 

Hivemaker. 

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and continue to have "continuous occupancy" for at least the last 10 years
Easy m100, someone has sat there watching them non stop for ten years,one person to each location,seems straight forward enough.
 

Chris Luck 

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It's remarkably easy if you think about it, especially when it's in a house or barn wall unless you assume that somehow one colony can die out almost overnight and another immediately occupy the same site - possible maybe but extremely unlikely. One I know of is visible through a glass pane from inside the house in the living room where an old window was blocked up on the outside wall and the glass left in place on the inside - bear in mind French stone house walls are usually 60 - 70cm thick, I reckon the occupiers would have noticed any absence of bees over the years had it occurred.

Of course if you are going to argue that it's a new colony every year when it swarms and a new queen is raised....

So, where are all "the facts" that feral colonies are dying "from varroa" in France or the UK for that matter? My own direct experience is that around these parts it just ain't so either with feral or in hives and yet apparently some French Bee keepers are loosing a high percentage of their colonies, 100% in some cases over winter - starvation perhaps or even too much playing around with the hives?

Chris
 

gandalfwhitewizard 

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Rick,

Had a quick look last evening at the cut-out colony and they have quite happily filled 6/7 Langstroth frames.

We'll be taking a good look at them at the weekend and hopefully see if they are Q+.

GWW
 

Hivemaker. 

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Chris....no idea what happens to escaped bee's in France, nor most of this country,but in the area i live in they don't last long....varroa kills them.
 

Hivemaker. 

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There is supporting evidence for that I suppose?

Chris
Yes.......pre varroa there were hundreds of feral colonys....after varroa arrived .....non......and it's still non.....could be somthing to do with phases of the moon i suppose...but seems to coincide with the arrival of varroa.
 

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