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midnight1957 

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Hi, I have just joined this forum and think that it is great, so I have a few questions.

I have a concrete block building that some years ago had a small hole knocked into the outside wall. This summer I knoticed that there were honey bees in it. My question is I want to get the bees out and into a hive and was wondering what would be the best way to do it so that I would know that I have the queen. If I set a bee hive next to the hole (its about 5 feet from the ground) will they go in it and when? I would like to have them near my garden as early in the spring as I could.

Also I bought a used bee hive from a guy that said his bees just left several years ago. It needs cleaning and even has some mildew on and in between the frames. I will scrap all of the old wax off and pressure everything, is there anything else you would recommend to do in order to get ready for some bees in it.

I also see paint for sale on diferent sites especially for bee hives. Why couldn't you just use a good latex paint.

Thanks ahead of time for all of your suggestions and help, I want honey bees mostly for my garden and fruit trees.

Thanks,
Wade
 
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They won't readily leave their colony although it might be possible to drill a hole or three in the wall and squirt some nasty smelly chemical in which will drive them out. I've driven nesting bees out of a roofspace with smoke but in hindsight I won't do it again - too much danger of fire. It also depends on where the nest is in relation to the hole - it could be more or less anywhere. It might even be in the attic - check upstairs if you haven't already. This is why cutting a hole in the wall to find the nest is a bit risky as you won't know where to cut.

An option would be to wait until they swarm this coming summer, which there is every chance they will, and have a hive set up somewhere in your garden, but not directly outside the existing hole as the new swarm likes to move away.

To completely remove the nest will be a pickaxe job. I would not recommend leaving them to nest in your wall as the wax and honey will potentially attract all sorts of pests and the colony may well die out anyway in a year or two.

It sounds cruel but the best solution would be to kill them. Poison would be most humane... You could try blocking the hole but they may find another entrance and it could be in your bedroom.

As for the hive, chuck away the frames as you don't know what disease there might be in the old wax. You could potentially dip them in hot caustic soda but it is probably more trouble than it's worth. The advice is always not to re-use old frames.

Then scrub out the hive, I would use bleach, and then run a blow lamp all round the inside. Not actually charring the wood too much, just enough to kill any bugs.

A cedar hive shouldn't need painting unless it is a WBC (looks like a cross between a buddist temple and a square lighthouse) which are always painted, I think only for convention.

If it is made of normal pine (builder's wood as I call it) then any outdoor paint will work on the outside. You don't need to do anything inside but some people use a waterbased varnish. However, in my experience these sort of hives are more trouble than they are worth as you will spend a fortune on paint in the coming years, but if the hive was cheap or free, go for it.
 
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admin 

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Nice post Rooftops,very informative..
 

oliver90owner 

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Wade,

It sounds cruel but the best solution would be to kill them.

Unless they are a nuisance, why kill them? The comb and stores would still be there to attract other bees which, depending on how you might attempt the dastardly deed, could cause more problems than you have by just leaving them there.

You should certainly not use a persistent insecticide as any other bees finding the comb would likely get poisoned if they were to gain access and rob out the hive remains.

Rooftops is right about second hand kit. Often more trouble than worth, especially if the reason for no bees was AFB (small risk, but a risk). The AFB spores are resistant to all but a good scorching and can survive to infect future colonies for several years.

You certainly need to know where the nest actually is before demolishing the wall to find it unless the building is of no further use.... because, as RT says, the nest may be some distance away from the entry/exit.

Never tried it but in the spring a sensitive IR scan might locate it, or listen with a stethoscope or similar if it is obviously between the entry and the edges of the wall. Banging the wall might make them holler at you (don't be listening through the stethoscope when the wall is hit!).

I think if the bees were inaccessible or could not be driven out safely, I would set up the scorched hive on site but as far away as reasonably possible from the building, and hope a swarm goes in, sometime April, May, or June preferably (but later at a push). Swarm lure is available to attract any local swarms and would be worth trying. Bees from there, into your garden early spring is optimistic

You say you want bees for pollination in your garden: does this mean the building is away from your garden, on another site?

With a managed colony you are likely to get a honey crop as well which would need harvesting or/and swarming bees which, depending on the location, may cause a nuisance to near-neighbours who don't understand nature.

Regards, RAB
 

rourkie 

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hi are the blocks hollow or solid? or are they in a cavity? if they are what we call 9 inch hollows or H blocks there will be a 6 inch square cavity running up the wall it is possible to remove one side with a grinder to open the cavity remove bees fill cavity with concrete wall as good as new regards jim
 
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Correction to my post

I'm not too proud to admit I may be wrong so here is an alternative answer to my original response above.

Just been talking to JH of MW (don't ask) and he described a method which I understood comes from Australia and has been used to get bees out of chimneys.

Make a cone out of greenhouse shading (a plastic mesh with holes too small for the bees) which is about 6 inches at the base and 4 inches high (150mm * 100mm) with a hole a "drone space" wide at the top of the cone.

Fix this base side down over the entrance to the colony, stapling to a ring of plywood should do the trick but use a gunk if necessary. Position a hive with entrance within a foot (300mm) of the cone. Use big shelf brackets fixed to the wall if necessary.

At the end of the first day the returning foragers will be clustered around the cone but cannot find a way in. In time they will make there way into the safety of the bait hive.

As new brood emerges they have the same problem.

The colony runs short of food and after a few weeks the queen will emerge and join the other bees in the bait hive. This is the extraordinary bit as effectively the colony has been forced to swarm.

Remove bait hive 3+ miles for a few weeks or give to a budding beekeeper.

Leave the cone in place for a few weeks so it keeps bees out but allows wax moths in to destroy the remaining comb.

This is gobsmacking clever if it works so if anyone tries it this coming season please let me know how they get on. In previous years I've told people there wasn't much that could be done about bees in a chimney - not that I'm volunteering to shin up and fix shelf brackets umpteen feet in the air but this is at least an interesting approach.

Of course in Australia if they fall off the roof they fall away from the house but here on the "upside" it may be more difficult.
 
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Repwoc 

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Rooftops that does sound interesting. I know of a feral colony that has made itself at home in an iron barrel (or tank of some sort - bit of old farming equipment) and this may just be the technique to re-house them.

We decided just to leave them be for now - they are in a paddock next to a farmhouse so not a nuisance - I advised putting some handy carpets + polythene waterproofing on to insulate it for the winter and hope they are still alive in spring. No way to tell if they have enough (or any) stores because it's all welded up and too heavy to lift.

Paul
 

Poly Hive 

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It is a method that relies on a totally beeproof situation bar.......................

ONE hole.

;)

And bees are expert escapologists.

If it sounds too good to be true it often is.... LOL

PH
 

MuswellMetro 

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I though the cone system needed a caste of bees and queen in the bait hive or one frme of new brood/nurse bees so QC are made, otherwise the stray workers would not make cells to store their honey.

or is that just another version
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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As one newbeek to another, the other bit of advice I would offer is to find your nearest local beeking group and join them. You will find a wealth of experience and good advice - and (if my own local group is a good guide) a very warm welcome too! Winter is the ideal time to do this, since you can learn a vast amount before the Spring rush.

I assume you are reading the books?
 

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