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Lanark 

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Hi all
We are new to the forum and new to bee keeping.

Our interest arose after we discovered that what we think may be black bees are living in our roof space. One hive at either end of the house. Our house is a converted church and the bees have been there since before the conversion in 1996. We moved in 3 years ago.

Anyway, after wondering about it for a while, my parents bought us a hive, clothing etc, so we are now looking forward to getting started.

Ideally, we would like to get our "roof " bees to start another colony in the hive. So all suggestions how we could encourage this would be most welcome.
 

B+. 

Queen Bee
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Ideally, we would like to get our "roof " bees to start another colony in the hive. So all suggestions how we could encourage this would be most welcome.
Try searching for "Honeybee cut outs" in Youtube.
 

Lanark 

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Try searching for "Honeybee cut outs" in Youtube.
Thanks for the tip. Not sure we grant to cutting away plasterboard in the upper level of the house to remove some of them, but it got us wondering about trapping some of them.

Will trapped bees in a new hive, adopt that hive and a new Queen, if kept apart but in close proximity? Or will they just fly back to their original roof hive?

We have read that the bees in our roof aren't likely to be doing any harm so are happy to leave them.
 

wessexmario 

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Bees in a roof or wall may cause no problems at all, but the potential is there for all sorts of issues. Once a colony is established in the fabric of a building they're likely to stay, which increases the risk of something inconvenient happening.

- the physical weight of the comb and honey could damage plasterboard or fall through ceilings
- leaking honey can stain through ceilings
- it could attract robbers, notably wasps and mice
- swarming is difficult if not impossible to control
- disease of all types will be difficult to detect and/or treat - with consequences for other hives in the area
- repairs to the building may be problematic if contractors are unwilling to work with bees in the vicinity
 

gavin 

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Get some (one) old comb that you can trust from another beekeeper (ideally fumigated in acetic acid in a box in a black plastic bag for a couple of weeks).

Put it in your new hive along with wax foundation.

Stick the hive in a S-facing spot more elevated than normal, not too close to the colonies in your roof.

With two colonies in the roof at least one of them ought to swarm in late spring or summer, usually on a warm day. Sometime between late April and July with May and June the most likely months. In the days running up to that you may see scout bees investigating the hive (and other places such as your kitchen!).

Once they're in, leave well alone for several days. You could remove the old comb if it worries you after about 5 days. By then they'll have eggs and larvae on that frame and others. That would be a good time to feed them to help them build. You could also drop the height if you used a box or similar to get the bait hive higher.

The colony/colonies still in the roof might issue more swarms and casts. Sometimes they may fail if the weather is poor when their new queen should be getting mated. The proximity to unmanaged colonies is likely to mean that you will have worse Varroa problems than normal from time to time, especially after the colonies in the roof collapse and absconding bees take their mites with them.

Swarms sometimes end up in boxes alongside the colony from which they came. Usually they prefer to travel some distance with 800m the optimum. They prefer a height of 6-15 feet, some sun at the entrance, and the smell of bees off some old comb. Without old comb a drop or two of lemongrass oil on the top bars should help.

PS I've known several big houses that are host to feral colonies of honeybees without any problems.
 
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Lanark 

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Lanark
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Bees in a roof or wall may cause no problems at all, but the potential is there for all sorts of issues. Once a colony is established in the fabric of a building they're likely to stay, which increases the risk of something inconvenient happening.

- the physical weight of the comb and honey could damage plasterboard or fall through ceilings
- leaking honey can stain through ceilings
- it could attract robbers, notably wasps and mice
- swarming is difficult if not impossible to control
- disease of all types will be difficult to detect and/or treat - with consequences for other hives in the area
- repairs to the building may be problematic if contractors are unwilling to work with bees in the vicinity
Hi,
Funnily enough we have never seen the bees swarm. We see them come and go through their entrance under a roof tile. Sometimes they come out on the south facing side of the house, but inside the house, usually a bit groggy. Or on the ground looking very lethargic.

We figured that having been there so long while the building was a church and now 19 years as a house without issue, we are happy to leave them be. We will keep an open mind though. First step would be to borrow my neighbours stethoscope in spring and determine the exact location.

Last year, wasps or possibly hornets took over the hive for a few weeks but the bees reclaimed it. Quite pleased about that. Otherwise we would have had pest control in to deal with the wasps.

Thanks for the insight.
 

Lanark 

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Lanark
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Get some (one) old comb that you can trust from another beekeeper (ideally fumigated in acetic acid in a box in a black plastic bag for a couple of weeks).

Put it in your new hive along with wax foundation.

Stick the hive in a S-facing spot more elevated than normal, not too close to the colonies in your roof.

With two colonies in the roof at least one of them ought to swarm in late spring or summer, usually on a warm day. Sometime between late April and July with May and June the most likely months. In the days running up to that you may see scout bees investigating the hive (and other places such as your kitchen!).

Once they're in, leave well alone for several days. You could remove the old comb if it worries you after about 5 days. By then they'll have eggs and larvae on that frame and others. That would be a good time to feed them to help them build. You could also drop the height if you used a box or similar to get the bait hive higher.

The colony/colonies still in the roof might issue more swarms and casts. Sometimes they may fail if the weather is poor when their new queen should be getting mated. The proximity to unmanaged colonies is likely to mean that you will have worse Varroa problems than normal from time to time, especially after the colonies in the roof collapse and absconding bees take their mites with them.

Swarms sometimes end up in boxes alongside the colony from which they came. Usually they prefer to travel some distance with 800m the optimum. They prefer a height of 6-15 feet, some sun at the entrance, and the smell of bees off some old comb. Without old comb a drop or two of lemongrass oil on the top bars should help.

PS I've known several big houses that are host to feral colonies of honeybees without any problems.
Thanks Gavin. If i understand correctly, I should make up a smaller bait box, then move them into the main hive once they have laid eggs?
 

dn170221 

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I remember a minister making a joke about trying to get rid of bats in the church roof. Apparently if you baptise them they never come near the place again!!
 

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