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Encouraging Feral Bees into Hive

 
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DesertDisciple
New Bee


Joined: 23 May 2014
Posts: 6
Location: Lucerne Valley, CA USA

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 7:58 am    Post subject: Encouraging Feral Bees into Hive Reply with quote

Hello, this is my very first post. I will shortly be posting in the introduction forum, so if you would like to know more about me and why I joined the sight, you can read the upcoming post!

I have a feral bee colony that I would like to encourage into a hive. The issue is, they have nested between the inner and outer walls of an old stone outbuilding that is currently serving as a workshop Cool I've read around the net and haven't found a solution that really works for the situation. I don't own the property, so I can't tear down the stone wall and start cutting things out, nor would I want to if I could. It seems invasive.

I'm hoping to hear a way that I can encourage them into a new home where I can start cultivating them on a small scale. Should I just wait for them to swarm? A friend (who is not a beekeeper) told me about a method involving baiting them with royal jelly and providing a water source close to the hive. Would this work? In another topic someone suggested lemongrass.

Any help would be appreciated. They're not bothering me right now, as they haven't moved into the shop, and I don't mind them staying there for a while.

Thanks!

Andrew
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I take it that you rent the shop?
if so, can you not set up a "trap out" try googling it, take a nuc and position it so it covers the entrance, but has a hole drilled in it, so basically the bees enter and leave, having to pass through your nuc, filled with fresh wax, your hoping that they start building combs in your nuc, by inspecting every day or so, you can see if the queen enters and starts laying eggs, once that happens, look for her and if in the nuc, remove from the wall, I would not normally suggest trapping any bee in a box, but in this instance, fitting a queen excluder over the exit holes would keep her in the box, and hopefully attract the rest of the bees to join her??
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andrew and welcome

If they are not causing a problem then leave them and hope to catch a swarm from them. They could be a valuable asset in that respect and may provide several swarms each year.

If they have been there a while and have brood, then like any parent, they will not be lured into abandoning their babies. There is a method called a "trap out" and involves covering the entrance with a mesh cone which works like a one way valve. Foragers come out of the tip of the cone, but can't find their way back in. If you leave a small hive next to the cone with some young brood in it, they give up trying and adopt the new brood. Each day more and more bees are drawn from the trap out colony and gradually the queen stops laying as there is no food coming in and they use up the stores in the wall. Eventually the only bees that are left are the queen and a small entourage and they are basically starved out. In the meantime the bees that have adopted the new hive make an emergency queen from the brood and start a new colony. The process takes several weeks but does work.

If there is no rush to remove them, make yourself a hive (there are free plans on this site and rub the inside with beeswax and add a drop or two of lemon grass oil and hope to catch a swarm from it.

Best of luck

Barbara
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

seems most people just opt to trap the bees out whilst supplying a hive close by for them to use, do you have anyone close by that keeps bees and you could get a frame of eggs from?


http://youtu.be/221Z2Vndlyc
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DesertDisciple
New Bee


Joined: 23 May 2014
Posts: 6
Location: Lucerne Valley, CA USA

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to hear back so quickly from you all. Thank you for the suggestions.

The shop is actually included with the home that I currently rent.

So it sounds like I have two suggestions: trap them out or lure a swarm into a hive. The latter option seems more humane and potentially more fruitful. I don't like the idea of forcing them out at all, and they're not bothering me in the shop, so I see no reason to eradicate them. I would only pursue that option if they had found a way into the interior.

Barbara, would you say it's a possibility that this colony might swarm each year? I am almost certain there are brood, as I've witnessed an orienteering flight this week, which would suggest new bees. All of our local wildflowers are in bloom right now, so they've been particularly active.

Thanks again for the responses.
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DesertDisciple
New Bee


Joined: 23 May 2014
Posts: 6
Location: Lucerne Valley, CA USA

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dexter's Shed,

I don't know of anyone nearby, unfortunately. My area, though rural, is not very friendly to sustainable agriculture, though I feel that is quickly changing. There are certainly beekeepers somewhere out here, as folks sell honey at the local farmer's markets, but I believe they commute up from Orange County or Pasadena. Sorry, I don't know if you're familiar with Southern California, but everyone drives insane distances everyday. Smile
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DesertDisciple wrote:
would you say it's a possibility that this colony might swarm each year?


most certainly, get a box set up
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you know how long they have been there? If they have just moved in as a swarm themselves then they will probably not swarm again until next year or the year after, it depends on locals conditions.

In CA the swarming season seems to start much earlier than ours here in the UK, but I don't know if it extends right through the season or you have gap during the summer and then a potential second swarming season later in the year when there is a nectar flow. Local beeks would be able to advise you better.
Basically swarming season will be timed to more or less coincide with a good nectar flow as that gives the swarm the best chance of survival or it can happen when there is a bad drought and they are starving and move house to look for better forage elsewhere, but almost always it is the former.

If they are an established colony and have been there a year or more, then they will probably swarm every year if conditions are good but they may have already swarmed this year.

Local conditions in beekeeping are really important for the timing of things so it's best to make some local contacts and gain some knowledge even if you don't like their methods. Hopefully someone on this forum from CA will come along soon and advise you better although I imagine there will be a huge variation even within the state, between conditions at the coast and in the desert.
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Trip
Foraging Bee


Joined: 19 Mar 2010
Posts: 127
Location: USA, New York, Westchester

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dessertdisciple,

I would highly reccomend you search out some local bee mentors or local education. You live in Africanized Honey Bee territory and that gives beekeeping a decidedly more complicated twist than most of us here have to deal with. Even if the local beek's are not as wholistic as your philosophy they will have have had many years experience with AHBs that will make your introduction to beekeeping more rewarding.

I am in no way trying to discourage you from beekeeping just suggesting you be prudent and get local guidance.

Trip
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DesertDisciple
New Bee


Joined: 23 May 2014
Posts: 6
Location: Lucerne Valley, CA USA

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for your replies. I will definitely be looking up local beeks in my area for advice. I am well aware of the AHB situation in my area. For what it's worth, I've been within 5 feet of their hive entrance with no interest taken in my presence.

I'll post any updates as they progress. Thanks for assistance!
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wylderose54
New Bee


Joined: 18 Jan 2015
Posts: 5
Location: san diego,ca usa

PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:16 am    Post subject: feral colony Reply with quote

Just joined, so, skipping around.
Great topic, as there has been a wild hive in my yard fo 9 years. Noticed swarms a couple times every year. Am going to my 1st bee society meeting next month, so can get 1st hand info. My bees are very docile. The entrance is on the ground, going into a shed. We pull the weeds when they obstruct the opening, and they just buzz around us. Do bees recognize you ??!
Thank you for this wonderful info. !!!!
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All you need to know about bait hives:

Bait Hives for Honeybes
Prof. Thomas D. Seeley
https://ecommons.library.cornell.edu/bitstream/1813/2653/2/Bait%20Hives%20for%20Honey%20Bees.pdf

Good to learn beeology (bee-biology), too.
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wylderose54
New Bee


Joined: 18 Jan 2015
Posts: 5
Location: san diego,ca usa

PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you !
It's a wonderful start !
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