Collecting Feral Bees

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Queen Bee
Nov 7, 2008
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My brother in law has asked me to come to remove some bees from his garden. He says the combs are hanging in an ivy hedge. He says the bees are near the ground, sometimes creeping on the earth.

Am highly suspicious that they are not honey bees, but have asked him to send me a photo, saying I will remove them if they are.

Say they are honey bees, do people think I should try to hive thme while it is so cold or so the risks outweigh the benefits??
Hello you, thats an interesting one, would love to see the image when you get it.

If it is Bees, i guess it comes down to the individual, if they set up home this summer, i should imagine their chances of survival are slim anyway, so why not give them a chance.

Im no expert as you well know, but because i keep bees because they fascinate me and not to make bucks from honey, i would do all i can to get them through, whereas others would possibly see it as a futile excercise.

Follow your instinct.
I difficult one!

I would be tempted to try and get them into a hive as crudley as you can and sort them out in the spring.
If those colonies are true - during these rainds.

It is easy to get them. Put over the cluster wintering box/nuc and food frames and bees will rise to warm box. When you have that queenless hive, join them.
In my opinion this colony is not a true feral colony.
Its probably a late swarm that could not find a new home.
To collect them as Finman says use a Nuc box with a frame or two of food and cut away the comb that has been built and place in the Nuc. With the comb place it still in the same position as it was in the hedge because to mess up the brood nest is something you want to try and avoid. Once the comb is inside then stand the box upright with the entrance facing where the nest was. You'll soon see if the queen is in the Nuc.
Once there all in take home and feed with fondant. Hopefully they will have survived the winter then treat as a swarm.
Best of luck.

I hope to get sent photos in a format I can post here... then we'll have a better idea. i'll keep you all posted. Thanks for advice.
Looking forward to the pics polyanwood,if they dont upload just email them to me and I will convert them for the forum.
Hi Polyanwood,

Just a thought, how long has the colony been in its present location?
With every day that passes the colony will be using loads of energy just to keep the brood (if there is any) warm. The sooner you can collect them the better for all concerned.

i would be interested in the cell size the bees have been using to raising brood in.
Hi Tony,

I have some natural built comb from a colony that set up house on an apple tree. This size of cells were 7mm.

Then I have some from a swarm that I left in a Nuc to see what size they would build. This was 5mm.

Could you please explain the difference, thanks.

Feral bees not looking that alive. Will try to get some of honeycomb if thre is any anyway and get back to you... am beginning to suspect they were wasps, but family thought I was mean saying that they didn't know the difference.

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