Call out to bees

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Drone Bee
Nov 14, 2008
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Warboys, CAMBS
Hive Type
Number of Hives
nil bees given away all colonies
Yep, today I had a call to collect s nest of bees that had set up home in the chassie of an agricultural machine.

I enquired about the size of the bees nest and was told its in a small compartment with a hydrolic hose passing through the small compartment.

This is what I came across;

was I able to collect the bees?
How would you have tackled the problem?

Plasma cutter? :)

I await the real answer!
Angle grinder, or duct tape - the answer to all problems.

No point in trying this time of year, but with a really warm period in summer I'd put a porter bee escape (or something similar) over the entrance allowing exit only leading directly into the end wall of a modifed mini nuc box filled with some used comb either empty or preferably with some sealed and unsealed brood pinched from another colony.

Eventually the brood and the queen trapped out of sight in the machinery will die off with starvation. A squirt of petrol into the access hole would see a quicker and more humane end.

This would leave all the foragers in the nuc to be requeened or combined with another colony.

But there is always the angle grinder option.
If it was a big and noisy bit of kit then just starting it would soon have got a few out to say hello! :willy_nilly:
You love these puzzles BC. Well here goes:
Small compartment, quite high proportion of bees dead outside - query died out or robbed out? Tap compartment and listen for signs of life:-
No life - cup of tea go home.
Life - easy option open compartment, remove bees, close compartment, cup of tea , go home.
Hard option - no access to compartment - lots of smoke into the hole where the hydraulic pipe exits the compartment and drive the bees out through the hole shown in the photograph.
Even easier option:- "Sorry mate cannot get at them, they're too small to survive the winter."

Assuming you did get them out - how did you do it?
:cheers2: Mike
Can see it's not your bit of agricultural machinery to just cut up willy nilly.

Nothing wrong with using an angle grinder, properly weld it and protect it afterwards with a good coat of paint and internal rustproofing and it will be as good as, if not better than it was before the bees arrived.
if you can estimate size of hollow say six inchs square then the nest is to small to survive a winter in the nest is 12 inch square or should i say cube, not square then it is possible to drive them out, we can either use smoke and we are talking lots of to drive them out or we can reduce space a plastic bag being blown up will push them out either way we want to have some form of better and newer property for tham say a nuc box so as they land they walk through a nice new house to get into the grotty old one.

there is two points i have missed , point one if it is a small nest dont worry about just spraying fly spray and kill them all there chances of living over the winter is next to nothing and evan less if they want to use the farm equipment, but by doing so you will be the first person they call next spring when they find an easier one to re hive,
secondly the tea drinking, MJbee hit it right on the head as bee keepers we must uphold the tetley standard and i would suggest several more teas than mjbee suggested
If the pipe goes through, the way to get them out the entry/exit is likely 'bee-quick' or some other frame clearer volatile liquid injected at the other end - nitrobenzene would do. Trapping them would just be another problem. Hive lure and some brood on a frame would be ideal, but not appropriate at this time of year, so just a pipe taped into a large plastic bag might do it.

Regards, RAB
Thank you all for the methods that have been suggested.

When I arrived I knew that the position was hopeless, as the tubing going into the cavity was flexible to pull and push, that said to me the bees could bee deeper than thought. I used a screw driver to estimate the size of the cavity and felt there was some comb to the right hand side, tasted the screwdriver and yep, honeycomb.
In my estimation there could have only been about 100-200 bees in that confined area, and when I thought about how cold it could get being inside a metal tomb, i know that they would not survive the winter.

I thought I had better show willing so I lit the smoker and puffed plenty of smoke into the cavity. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happened no bees coming out at all. Which now lead me to think (I do sometimes) that there must be another way into the body of the vessel.

No one offered me a cuppa so I just informed them there was nothing I could do as the bees would not survive the winter in the coldness of their tomb.

I left the bees to their own devices and went home.

That's it nothing happened.:rolleyes:

In my estimation there could have only been about 100-200 bees in that confined area

.....Which now lead me to think (I do sometimes) that there must be another way into the body of the vessel.

a cavity that size has the potential for a bit more than that, maybe a thousand bees, albeit very crowded and huddled together.

What you need is a blowtorch or a hot air gun, warm up the walls of the cavity and the bees think it is summer, they all come pouring out into a conveniently placed box that you have baited with some spare honey :)
Well done Bcrazy,sometimes as a beekeeper it is very hard to walk away without a little more exploration,then a little more and a little more until you are in it up to your neck,sounds to me you know what I am talking about as you have done it in the past like myself.. ;)
I would leave to next year if possible. If they had to be removed, remove the hydraulic pipe and stick a Dyson over the hole and tip the remains into a box then .............stand:leaving: well clear!:leaving:

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