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Repwoc 

Drone Bee
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On Saturday I went to check out a new apiary site. After we had looked over the site and decided on the best location for the hives, the farmer asked me if I would move a feral colony that moved into an upturned digger bucket last year.

He doesn't want to move them far - they aren't causing a nuisance, and certainly seem to be very placid - but he wants the digger bucket back! So the plan is to re-house them then move the hive a yard at a time over a few weeks so eventually they will be ~10 yards from where they are now.

The bucket is of course cast iron (or similar thick metal) and heavy; however the farmer has a digger so can lift it so accessing the combs shouldn't be an issue.

As I haven't looked inside yet I don't know how extensive the nest is, but the bucket has quite a large volume (compared to a nat brood box).

What would folks recommend - cut out the comb and cobble it together in frames, or do a shook swarm onto new foundation? Or what? Shook swarm sounds attractive to me - easier/quicker to do and fresh start on clean comb.
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
It does put our discussion about hive types into perspective. We worry about the insulation capabilities of poly vs. wood, while the bees just get on with it and live through a harsh winter in a 3/8 steel bucket!

I suppose it would depend on the shape of the nest. I'd certainly try and save the brood and get that into frames. If nothing else, it would encourage them not to do a runner again...
 

thurrock bees 

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i would try to leave them for a couple of weeks if poss. then the bees will be in a better state to do the extraction of them from the bucket. i would save the brood and some food comb and use elastic band to hold them in empty frames, two brood boxes?
 

Somerford 

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I'd do three things.

1. leave a couple of weeks just to make sure they are strong enough
2. prepare 4 frames with wire and cut out enough brood comb to fit into them, fix into place with more frame wire/elastic bands. Put in one brood box
3. prepare 1 more frame to put comb in with day old brood, put this in another brood box.

Then shake all bees equally between both boxes and remove from site (3 miles for at least a week - but only when dark so all foraging bees can choose one or other of the boxes)

What ever happens - you have 2 colonies, one possibly with a queen, but both have the opportunity to raise a queen with the young brood provided.

I'd also feed them syrup to keep them going for a few weeks unless you are prepared to cut out honeystores and pop them in alongside too (messy job that leads to robbing)

Melt the wax, extract the honey and job's a good'un !

best of luck

S
 

Hivemaker. 

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I would place a frame of open brood from your strongest hive into the fresh brood box,then some new frames of foundation,tease the combs apart and find queen,pop her in cage,shake the all the bee's into the box,add queen,treat for mites and feed.Get rid of old wild comb after inspecting.
 
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Midland Beek 

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Try shook swarm and you have really got to find the queen beforehand. Or you just end up leaving her behind or squashing her.

I would cut out combs and string them togehter in frames. You will mostly only need the brood frames, and then feed to get them drawing foundation.
 
T

Tom Bick 

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Great photos Ian they may well be of help in the future thanks.
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
Indeed, great pics - but you clearly have nerves of steel exposing your arms to an unknown colony....!
 

admin 

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Ian,did your wife know you borrowed the chopping board?
Have added all the pics to Albums..
 

oliver90owner 

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A lot of 'I would do', but we ain't there!

I would recommend you move (at least) one of your colonies on site first.

Then take two boxes and some frames (drawn preferably) with you, and go from there. It may not be big enough for two boxes but you are covered.

Take some frames, with elastic bands around, to lodge in some comb as appropriate.

Take some ribbon/wire/string to hang comb in frames if appropriate.

Take a bucket for honey combs, with a cover.

The 'digger' bucket could be a small trenching bucket up to a large grain bucket, you maybe you don't know or just haven't said precisely). If a grain bucket it will be thinner section metal but have strengthening webs inside, so the bees may be tucked up in just one side.

Wear three layers of clothing, unless your bee suit is impervious to stings, because they might be a bit miffed when you start pulling their home to pieces!

Try to find the queen; so much easier to move if you can get her onto some brood comb and wait for the bees to join her, if that was appropriate. Move the bucket well away from the present position and place the box, with queen (if possible), and brood at the original location).


Start around midday on a warm sunny day when foragers are abroad and can soon return to the brood box.

Then go from there.

Have fun.

Regards, RAB
 
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Repwoc 

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Thanks everyone for lots of good ideas, advice and pictures. It probably won't be happening for a couple of weeks yet - I want to get the apiary at this site sorted first, then deal with the 'wild bunch'.

I'll take photos and post them when it's done.
 

ian 

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Hi Mark

"Ian,did your wife know you borrowed the chopping board?"

Yes that's the one she normally makes me kneel on...................................


Regards Ian
 

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