Charge for cut out?

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Repwoc 

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Of those members that do cut outs, do you charge for the service? If so how much? I did my first one (and possibly the last) on Tuesday. The nest was in the attic room sloping ceiling of a 17th century farmhouse, between the sloping ceiling plasterboard and the roof sarkin felt with slates above the felt. Not a lot of insulation for the bees but they would have benefited from the warmth of the house.

The volume of comb was large but about 50% of it was empty. There was some brood but not much, the rest was stores, a lot of which was crystallised. I removed the entire nest and have the bulk of the bees in a poly nuc in my garden with some fondant. I attempted to save the brood by elastic banding it into shallow frames - the ceiling space was only about 4-5 inches deep so the comb was too small for deep frames. However I'm not hopeful of brood survival because it took a while to do it all and it wasn't very warm on Tuesday (in fact there were some snow showers), so I expect it was quite chilled. I didn't see the queen, but have fingers crossed.

The customer has asked how much he owes me. I was there for ~ 6 hours on Tuesday and returned on Wednesday to collect the remainder of the bees which had clustered swarm-like in the original spot.
 

abm 

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Lots to debate:
Distance
Time on site
Access
Repairs
Boxes and frames to place bees in.

I certainly charge for my service.
 

madasafish 

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Pest controller would charge approx £500+ for 6 hours. depending on location etc.
 

Beegarden 

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I'm not sure where you stand, having not given a quote/estimate initially. However, most people rightly expect, to pay for such services that they are untrained to do. Each Winter, I pay £180 (ish) for rat food stations to be put around the garden. The guy is here for about 15 minutes and returns twice to check the stations. I think you will have to play it by ear, IMHO, as you could price yourself out of the market.
 

frankenstine 

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AS the OP says it was his first and possibly last i don't think they are worried about pricing themselves out of the market, wouldn't be ether, i used to worry about pricing myself out the market on somethings. found i don't like welding cars and repairing commercial lawnmowers or hydraulics any more and I've been trying my best top price myself out of the market ever since. customers complain about the bill but no more than before and they keep bringing the bloody things back :(
 

Newbeeneil 

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I would always give a ball park price BEFORE I carried out anything like a cut out with provisos on extra time etc. I'm sure most punters would not appreciate the amount of work that a cut out entails.
 

Karol 

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If you had to make good after the cut out I would certain consider carrying public liability insurance especially if there's a risk of water ingress as a result of the works.
 

oxnatbees 

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I'm not sure if cut-outs are covered by your BBKA insurance but assuming they are, then like swarm collecting, isn't it invalidated if you charge?
 

Drewdrew 

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Of those members that do cut outs, do you charge for the service?
Yes.

If so how much?
Varies, depending on many factors. These include, access, complexity, environment, time, length of drive etc. What has been agreed with the client (can we leave them to make right, or do we do it ourselves, any guarantees, time restrictions).

But, we have a business to run, and all the outgoings that come with that, and the points above go towards a charge.

This would all be decided BEFORE any work starts.

Personally, if I was you, I'd say something like 'give us £20 for my fuel, and we're good', and see what the reaction is. There are people who will say 'no way, thats to low, here's £100, how's that?' and other who will say '£20!!!! £20!!!!! are you kidding me!!!! My God, just to remove a few bees!'
 

Repwoc 

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How about starting with insurance liabilities?
If you had to make good after the cut out I would certain consider carrying public liability insurance especially if there's a risk of water ingress as a result of the works.
No insurance, but then I didn't do any of the building work or making good afterwards. The customer had builders on site doing repairs and they 'discovered' the bees when they started to remove some panels. I loaned one of the builders a bee suit and gloves and he removed the ceiling boards. I then removed the nest and captured (most of) the bees. I left the builders to finish up and complete their job once the remaining few bees had dissipated. I hope I don't need insurance for doing what I did.
 

Repwoc 

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Personally, if I was you, I'd say something like 'give us £20 for my fuel, and we're good', and see what the reaction is. There are people who will say 'no way, thats to low, here's £100, how's that?' and other who will say '£20!!!! £20!!!!! are you kidding me!!!! My God, just to remove a few bees!'
I could try that.
 

Newbeeneil 

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I have been asked to try to remove bees from the wall cavity of a landlords property. The entrance is at head level on their patio and the guy was stung twice at the end of last year and suffered a nasty reaction to the stings. He approached a pest controller to have them poisoned but the wife vetoed that. I have said I'll "milk" the bees off over the next couple of months for the same price they were quoted by the pest controller which I understand was £200.
They are happy because they won't have to kill all the bees and the know what it will cost them.
 

understanding_bees 

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I have been asked to try to remove bees from the wall cavity of a landlords property. The entrance is at head level on their patio and the guy was stung twice at the end of last year and suffered a nasty reaction to the stings. He approached a pest controller to have them poisoned but the wife vetoed that. I have said I'll "milk" the bees off over the next couple of months for the same price they were quoted by the pest controller which I understand was £200.
They are happy because they won't have to kill all the bees and the know what it will cost them.
You suggested, “I'll "milk" the bees off over the next couple of months . . . . ”

Various ideas have been used over time, to perform “trap-outs” of bees from walls, etc. Bees do not have the same mind-set as us, when it comes to activities of this kind.

We may be successful in “inviting” bees to use a swarm trap, when they are actively looking for a new home, but the likelihood of our success in getting them to voluntarily leave their existing home is much smaller. That is the reason why “cut-outs”, and bee-vacuums, are used to remove colonies where the bees can be accessed directly.

When bees are in a “fortress”, such as a stone wall which cannot (or must not, or should not) be dismantled, they need some very active encouragement to leave. Benzaldehyde is a substance which can very effectively be used as a bee repellent. If an opening is found, or can be made, which is on the opposite side of the hive to the bees’ entrance, benzaldehyde can be sprayed into that opening and will drive the bees from their fortress. For any kind of trap-out to be successful, the queen bee needs to vacate the hive along with the rest of the colony, and benzaldehyde is a very useful aid in this process. Of course, any openings should subsequently be sealed so that bees cannot re-enter that space at some future time.

The following excerpts from a couple of websites may be of interest:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0005772X.1963.11097015
This report, from the Apiculture Department of Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph in Canada, . . . . . . . It describes trials with a number of possible repellents for clearing bees out of honey supers, . . . . . Benzaldehyde (artificial oil of almonds) proved to be the best so far tested, and can be highly satisfactory. . . . . . . As Professor Townsend says here: Each substance will eventually find its proper place in bee management.

Repulsive bees Benzaldehyde - 1 L
Benzaldehyde should be used with certain precautions. It is a non-toxic and natural repellent that removes bees and replaces the bee smoker for short-term operations.
 

Karol 

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No insurance, but then I didn't do any of the building work or making good afterwards. The customer had builders on site doing repairs and they 'discovered' the bees when they started to remove some panels. I loaned one of the builders a bee suit and gloves and he removed the ceiling boards. I then removed the nest and captured (most of) the bees. I left the builders to finish up and complete their job once the remaining few bees had dissipated. I hope I don't need insurance for doing what I did.
If no one was hurt and the whole nest was removed then I can't see there being a latent risk. If you are tempted to get into this line of work then a £300 to £500 fee for a live cut out is not unreasonable and that's based on my knowledge of pest control but that would also include insect proofing the 'void' to prevent reoccurence. I would however still recommend having public liability insurance on two grounds. The first is that bees are a hazard and whilst natural there is a risk of a customer being stung, reacting and taking you to court. You would most likely win the case but the cost of going to court in the first place is where decent public liability insurance is a godsend. The second is there is always a possibility of some of the nest remaining in another linked but not obvious void and if that has honeycomb then over time the honey may leak and cause damage to the property.
 

ericbeaumont 

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do you charge for the service?
£45/hr.

Did a nice one last year on a prep. school landing and the bill was £595. Most useful tool on the job is a sidekick who can share the thinking as well as the practical, because as Karol said, bees have ways of hiding the nest.

Katja's instinct suggested we zing out more ceiling, and behind the next joist we found another 20% of the nest, probably with the queen.

List of kit for these jobs is extensive and all bases must be covered; cleaning the site afterwards takes more time than you imagine, because honey and dust are a tricky mix. We work (more or less) methodically and clean as we go; I don't get involved in repair work.

Some won't kill bees when sense suggests it's the better option: a housing association wanted a nest removed from an Edwardian terrace roof; over the years pesties had puffed powder and squirted expanding foam into the holes, all to no avail.

First thing the HA did was sling up scaffolding on the front of the house, but the bees weren't in the roof: we found them above the teenager's bedroom ceiling, so that was the first of a few hundred quid wasted.

By the time we'd chopped out the ceiling (three bodged layers, one of which was suspect asbestos, so we waited two days for a test) and hoovered out the nest a few more hundred was earned by this beekeeper and his assistant, but also by the honey company office, the HA office, the roofer, the builder, the decorator and the asbestos testing company.

We reckoned that by the end £2000ish was spent on a pretty pointless effort to save a nest in November (the neighbouring tenant was adamant that they must be gone asap) and in the end a polynuc, a feed and a gas wasn't enough to save them.

There was a bonus: by the time we'd finished, the teenager's bedroom was immaculate!
 

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