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Cutout dilemma - help!!

 
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PottylottiCharlotte
New Bee


Joined: 28 Jun 2016
Posts: 3
Location: UK, Northumberland

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:48 pm    Post subject: Cutout dilemma - help!! Reply with quote

Hello
10 days ago we (i and a beekeeper friend) cut out a large colony that was situated in the roof/ceiling of our bedroom which is in loft of our house. We removed comb (brood and honey) and spotted queen cells. A third of the colony was installed in a hive with this comb. It seems to be doing well but we haven't seen a queen yet in the hive. But there's lots of activity - no eggs in comb but lots of cleaning and bees in and out. The hive is now 5 meters from old site, in garden.

The day after we did the cut out we had a swarm nearby. This swarm was collected by a local beekeeper who refused to return it (don't ask!). We know then that a queen - perhaps the old queen flew the colony when the cut out was taking place and swarmed. So we have lost a queen.

In the place where we cut out the bees (in the bedroom ceiling in the loft) we still have about 20k bees. They have no comb but are clustering in the eaves and have been for a few days and fly in and out of the window. We have tried to scoop up some of these bees in the evening without much success - and so have placed a small nuc box with queen pheramone in to tempt them in - but they aren't moving.

So, I am a completely novice beekeeper - never kept bees before and am a little unsure how to proceed. Should I try to scoop up the bees little by little and simply tip them back into the main hive (it's been 10 days - will the hive recognise their old friends?). Should I borrow a bee vac (local beekeeper say I can borrow one on Friday) and Hoover them out and put them in a separate hive (assuming there's a queen in the eaves that's keeping them there) - or put them into the existing hive.
If I do this, how do I stop them coming into the roof again and back into ceiling. It's too difficult to seal off at point in roof where they fly in - so can I spray something to discourage them from going back to the original site?

Any opinions of what to do in this situation are very welcome. Thank you.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1568
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi and welcome to the forum. Nice to have another member in the north east. Where in Northumberland are you? I'm just on the Durham side of the border in Ebchester.

I'm afraid that if you are unable to seal up access into the roof space where the bees have been nesting, you will probably end up with an annual job of doing a cut out. It is obviously an attractive spot and other swarms will almost certainly find it.

Did you do anything to make the bees reorientate to the new hive, since it is only 5 metres away. If not, the foragers will keep returning to the roof because, as far as they are concerned, that is home and they fly there on autopilot. There could of course be a queen there that you didn't manage to remove during the cut out, but even without a queen, the foragers will return there. Using the bee vac on an evening, when they have stopped flying to get all the bees and then smearing the area with clove oil.... bees absolutely hate it as well as daubing it on and around the place that they are entering the roof space should deter them, but those bees really need to be made to re-orientate or taken to another apiary several miles away, where they can't find their way back. I would be inclined to move them for a few weeks to ensure that they fully re-orientate and I would do that with the cut out hive and untie them all at a different location. Then move them back to your garden after a few weeks if you are planning to keep them there, but I'm reasonably confident that swarms from your hive will repopulate the roof space in future years unless you seal it up or fill the space with insulation, so that there is no cavity.

To make bees re-orientate to a new location which is more than 3 feet and less than 3 miles, from their original home, you need to block them in for a day with a twist of grass stuffed in the entrance and a branch of foliage placed across the entrance, so that when they do get out they have to fly/climb through the leaves to get out. This makes them realise something has changed and take note of their new surroundings. There may be some bees that still don't get the message.... think how sometimes we move house or change jobs and a few weeks later, we find ourselves travelling the old road without even thinking, which is why moving the whole lot short term, may be preferable in this case.

I hope this helps resolve your situation.

Best wishes

Barbara
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PottylottiCharlotte
New Bee


Joined: 28 Jun 2016
Posts: 3
Location: UK, Northumberland

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for your helpful reply. I'm outside Ponteland - near Bolam lake. I'd like to keep the bees afterwards as I'm enjoying looking after the hive. I'll have a word with my friend the bee keeper to see if he'll take them for a while and hopefully all will be well. It's good to know there are so many bee experts in the region as I've still got a lot to learn! Thank you Barbara.
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Ollie
Foraging Bee


Joined: 27 Nov 2015
Posts: 136
Location: Ireland, west

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi And WELCOME!

Question for Barbara on the subject.

I heard you can use vinegar to deter bees returning, is that right?

Mind you If they are in the attic and cant get into the house.... Id leave 'em up there Smile .

Hope you get the bees sorted Charlotte , your on the best site.

Ollie
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1568
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Graeme (Ollie)

I'm afraid I have no experience of using vinegar, so I can't comment on that. I do know that oil of cloves works like an invisible force field to repel them though, which reminds me that I must restock on it as I have a trap out to do very soon.
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PottylottiCharlotte
New Bee


Joined: 28 Jun 2016
Posts: 3
Location: UK, Northumberland

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both. Yes picking up some oil of cloves today! I wish we could leave them where they are too - theyve been there for years minding their own business - but building work is starting just a couple of feet away on the roof in July and the builders are nervous - and I am nervous for them too! I think the plan is to extract them today and then sprinkle oil over site and the pack the roof with lagging... And take bees away for a while.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1568
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again Charlotte

Great to hear that you are enjoying becoming a beekeeper proper (as opposed to just hosting them in your roof!) and that you have the support of a local friend and mentor in this new challenge. I assume you have used a National hive for the cut out as it is probably easier to fit the cut out comb into frames unless you are familiar with rescue bars for top bar hives.

I've been to Bolam Lake and it's a lovely area.

As regards the other beekeeper keeping the swarm, you can only claim ownership if you are actually in direct pursuit of the swarm from your property/hive, so the other beekeeper was most likely within their rights to refuse you. They may well have invested time and fuel, travelling to collect it, so they were not being unreasonable I think.

It's important to move the bees on an evening after they have stopped flying or fasten them in at night and move them the next morning. With the ones in the roof, vacuuming them up in the evening is important, so that you get all of them at one go. If you intend to move them all the next morning and plan to leave those in the bee vac box overnight, then do make sure that they have plenty of ventilation and are not sealed in. It would be a dreadful shame if they suffocated.

Regards

Barbara
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