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Ando 

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Hi All

I had the fortunate opportunity to collect a colony of bees from a chap who had them appear in his dove loft above a barn, he told me on the phone they had been there for 4 weeks, I thought ok this will be interesting and a good piece of practical skill to learn never having done this before.

I went over with a bee keeping friend and his son and had a look at it, they were about 20 feet up and the dove loft was a series of holes in the apex of an old barn and had 1/2 bricks sticking out as ledges for them to land on, some of the holes had been blocked up with bricks. On climbing the ladder, then onto a pergola and then up some more steps I had a look at what was going on the bees were going into different holes and gaps through the bricks, so I removed One of the brick blocking the holes and saw some comb then removed some others, In all there were 3 parts to the colony and it was in total quite big, they had collected a lot of honey, I had to remove (read break with lump hammer and bolster) a few bricks and this was quite a sweaty job in full bee suit and the sun on my back balancing up some steps!!! I was so glad to have someone to hold the ladder and someone else to run round getting bits of kit needed!!

After opening up as much of the brick work as I could, I started to remove the comb piece by piece, trying not to damage it if poss, I transferred it in to a large box and had some brood frames with me with and with out Foundation, We tried to support the comb as much as we could between the frames and get as many bees in we could, they stayed quite calm till the removing process started, with only a few trying to sting my hand.

I put the box on a sheet at the top of the steps with a small entrance cut in the side, hoping I had got the queen in there and the others would follow.

I returned at around 9pm last night and there was a lot of bees in the box but even more on the wall and inside the dove box thingys, so I collected s many as I could in to the box with a plastic cup, reckon I got 4-5 pints of bees.

I thought maybe the Queen might be in the wall as there were so many and the way they were fanning, so after getting as many as I could and the light starting to fade I sealed the top of the box, so they could only get in/out in the slot I cut earlier, I left them hoping that the Queen was now in the box and the rest will follow.

I'm am going back tonight to collect the box and take it to my out apiary.

My plan is to leave the box over night and tomorrow transfer them in to a hive and try to mount the comb onto frames with some fishing line.

Does this sound about right?

I have thought about the removal process and don;t think it could have been done any other way, I think the colony had been there longer than a month, with how big it was.

I have some pics coming so will ad them soon.

Cheers

Mark.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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I have thought about the removal process and don;t think it could have been done any other way, I
Mark.
I think that given you could get to the colony it was the way to do it.

But you could have used the cone essape method I am using on a colony that is in a location I can not get them out of. (without damaging property)

http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1380
 

Ando 

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Hi jim

I have been following your tread and did have those pics in the back of my mind, but they were in all differant sections of the dove loft and had many different entrances. Nice piece of inguinuity though, well done!!

The guy who's property it was didn't mind the bricks being taken out.

Cheers

Mark.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Hi jim

I have been following your tread and did have those pics in the back of my mind, but they were in all differant sections of the dove loft and had many different entrances. .

Thats what spray expanding foam is for:)

I must add it to my signiture as the (now) only 3 things you need in your tool box.

But I think duct tape would have been OK and less problems caused by bees sticking to it unlike the spray foam
 

Ando 

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Hi

Here are some pics I managed to get when collecting the colony, hopefully the chap who's house it was will send me over some more that he took.

I transferred them into a hive on friday afternoon and they seem ot have settled in quite well lots of house cleaning going on, I tried to save as much of the comb as i could and with the help of a mate trimmed the comb to fit in an empty frame and wrapped some fishing line round it to secure til the bees do, managed to get 5 nearly full frames in and add 4 frames of foundation for them to start on, as they grow I'll replace the old wrapped comb with fresh foundation.

This is the holes I had to chop out to get to the bees.


I transferred them in to this box and left it til the next night.


I will try and get some pics of the colony in the hive when I give it the once over this week.

Cheers

Mark.
 

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