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Beehive underground

 
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LambertoDK
New Bee


Joined: 20 Dec 2015
Posts: 2
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 1:01 pm    Post subject: Beehive underground Reply with quote

Hi, a neighbour has an hyper-swarming hive and one swarm has settled underground in the garden just near to mine in the last summer. He has small children and the possibility of a carnage is there...

I would like to recover he hive and place it into a new proper hive... anyone that has some suggestions on how to dig them out?

This winter has been a mild one (so far... I'm in Denmark) and i believe the swarm is still alive.

The new hive would be placed just 3-4 meters from the underground hive... just on my side of the fence.

Thanks for helping!
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Barbara
Site Admin


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

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Are you saying that your neighbour's bees have swarmed in the past few days which seems incredibly odd and suggests there is something wrong? Or do you mean that they swarmed in the summer in which case I'm not sure why this is urgent?

Also, it would be helpful to know what sort of cavity they are in? Rabbit or fox hole or something similar... ie an earth cavity or perhaps some sort of container that is buried below ground... metal, plastic or wooden or maybe beneath a pile of stones or timber? Honey bees don't usually make their homes underground but bumble bees do, usually in mouse holes, so worth checking they are definitely honey bees. Can you take a photo of it because I would really like to see what has attracted them to such an unusual site.

I would suggest, if they are honey bees, that the area is cordoned off from the children for the winter and the colony removed in the spring if they make it that far. Removing them now is a recipe for disaster in my opinion. Whatever honey comb they have will be damaged and honey spilt and there is too much risk of the queen being killed/lost in the process.

When you come to remove them you might manage to smoke them out or possibly drum them out if you can drive a stake into the ground near them and beat it repeatedly and place a hive right above them. Or possibly try a trap out. Place a tube over the entrance and run it into a hive above with a comb or two of brood in, so that the foragers leaving the colony in the ground have to go through the hive above and when they return, they will stay there with the brood rather than going back underground. You have to make sure you cover all of the entry/exit holes to the underground hive, so that bees can only exit via the tube into the hive above. It takes about 6 weeks to get most of them out.
This should only be done in spring or summer though.

That's as much advice as I can offer

I hope they make it through the winter and you get the chance to give it a go.

Regards

Barbara
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LambertoDK
New Bee


Joined: 20 Dec 2015
Posts: 2
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks.

The bees have swarm in the summer and entered a small hole in the ground, like 3cm in diameter only so i guess is a mice nest. Underground there may be some cavity generated by sand washout as the soil in very sandy in that spot.

I have no direct experience in beekeeping (my father had 20 or 25 hives but i never participate actively). Now i want to start beekeeping in my garden and the opportunity of hosting that swarm just came around.

I didn't know how urgent it can be but i though it was a good idea to start acting now if needed... obviously i was wrong and there is time.

I will have a look to the trap thing but i don't understand how the queen will move to the new hive... or the bees will make a new queen?

Thanks again
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1495
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look on the forums for, "Trapout. " Also worth looking for this on youtube.

I haven't ever done it but basically you form a funnel from where the bees go in and out to the new hive so eventually all the bees move. I haven't done this, just read about it but I would wait until the weather warms up a bit before starting. (Am open to others' suggestions on this though!) Once most of the bees have moved you could dig out the nest to get some of the comb to tie it in to the frames/top bars in their new home. If part of the, "Funnel" is a clear plastic tube it will make it easier to see when the numbers moving through drop.

Edit: Make 100% sure they are honey bees and not some species of mining bees which often burrow into the ground. If a swarm was actually seen going in that is conclusive. Please don't be offended by this - I get at least one call out a year to collect a swarm that turns out to be bumblebees and at least one a year that turns out to be wasps!

If they are one of the Adrena mining bee species I have never known these be aggressive.
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 586
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

catchercradle wrote:

Edit: Make 100% sure they are honey bees and not some species of mining bees which often burrow into the ground. If a swarm was actually seen going in that is conclusive. Please don't be offended by this - I get at least one call out a year to collect a swarm that turns out to be bumblebees and at least one a year that turns out to be wasps!

If they are one of the Adrena mining bee species I have never known these be aggressive.


That was my first thought - it's unusual for honeybees to nest underground. I've never seen it.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1495
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know somewhere near me where there is a nest under a drain cover so I am not discounting it but it would need some structure there to make a space for them.
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