Hi! My parents recently bought a house in Sherwood that comes with two colonies of honey bees - both in exterior walls of a house that will soon undergo construction. It's a farm property with lots of lovely trees and an orchard that need pollinating. My mom has never kept bees, but would LOVE to keep them - just not in the house! We'd be interested in knowing how we can get them to move out of the wall and into a hive and are open to doing this ourselves (hiring a service sounds too costly).
Their entrance is about 10 feet of the ground in the siding of the house in a relatively easy to access area. They've been there for some time - perhaps years, so I'm sure they are quite well established. Tearing off the siding is no problem since it will have to be done anyway. Advice, referrals for good beekeeping books for a newbie and offers of help greatly appreciated!!
Suggest leave them till spring. Moving them now would have a good chance of killing them. Come spring, rip the siding off and cut them out, transfer comb over to the frames and wire them in... It would help TONS to find someone who has done this to help out.
Salud!!! Mead, like life, is a journey and not a destination. So stop and savor the flavors along the way!
Post by bulldogger on Feb 25, 2010 21:40:18 GMT -7
When you remove the hive make sure you have a bee vacuum. It makes the moving and the removal so much easier.
Also a BIG word of caution: expose only part of the hive at a time, then QUICKLY remove any honey stores which have been exposed! Place them in a plastic bag or ,better yet, a seal able container. The honey can be kept for you (if you are sure no pesticides were used on the bees) or fed to the colony when it has been re-hived. My experience is that natural honey comb tends to bee too week to place in frames when filled with honey.
My sister in law and I removed a large (4 ft.+) hive from a abandoned house in Mac. and exposed the full hive while vacuuming the bees. It had major honey stores and before we knew it, the stealing began. We were swamped with thousands of local bees trying to get that honey. It was a mad house just trying to get the honey stores removed and under cover. It was crazy!
Post by Jacqueline Freeman on Mar 5, 2010 12:20:50 GMT -7
We've done a lot of hive removals from buildings and they're a whole 'nother animal compared to swarm collection. I'm teaching a class on it on April 3rd at our farm in Battle Ground. More info at www.friendlyhaven.com/classes.html
I do want to ask why, if the bees have been no problem, you want to remove them. Most people think because they're in the house, they need to go but that's not always necessary.
We have one hive who's lived in the north side of our house for decades. They're strong and healthy and I see no need to remove them. People often hear that bees in a house will make a mess but that hasn't been our experience.
But if you remove them and don't clean up, yes indeed, then you have a problem. Bees are by nature very hygienic and clean housekeepers so an established hive in a house is fine in my book. If, however, you remove the bees and aren't meticulous about cleaning out what is left behind and boarding up any possible new entrances, you'll have a lot of uninvited visitors who want to come visit it. Mice, ants, wax moths, other bees.
We've seen this when someone has an exterminator come and poison the bees, killing them all but leaving the hive in the wall. Honey can leak out, insects or small animals can get in to eat the poisoned honey. Honey spots in the ceiling. A terrible mess.
Worst though is that new bees will smell the remaining honey and either move a swarm in or visit it to steal the poisoned honey. I've heard people say they had to have the exterminator come out a few times because "the bees kept coming back." No, they didn't come back. That hive was dead but each successive hive that visited ate the poisoned honey and died, too. Because of the persistence of the chemicals used, you can kill numerous healthy hives that way.
It's a shame because I know that wasn't anyone's intention. This happens out of lack of knowledge about the nature of bees.
Live and let live was a policy in the past and there's still room for it today. If they bees in the house aren't bothering anyone and their entrance is ten feet up AND you have orchards all around that benefit from the pollination, I suggest you just leave them be where they are. If you want a hive to collect honey from, setup a bait hive (I can show you how) and collect a swarm off the ones in the house. Likely the bees that are populating the farmhouse are feral and healthy so I'd go the organic route with them. That obviously has worked well so far.
In winter I listen to the bees through the wall and hearing their hum in January, I find it very reassuring that they're doing well. I hope this is helpful information.
warmly, Jacqueline Freeman organic and biodynamic beekeeper Friendly Haven Rise Farm Battle Ground, WA (360) 687-8384
Hi! We decided to wait and unfortunately that hive did not make it through the winter. We opened it in early spring and it appeared that they starved to death - cluster of bees with thier heads partially in the comb, no honey stores and no signs that pests had moved in on the hive.
We have a second hive that we will be removing this week - they do have to be removed because that part of the house is being torn down. We're newbie's - took a class at Ruhl and have two newly installed package bees. If anyone has any tips on accomplishing this - or wants to come lend a hand we'd be happy for either.