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Re: Another trap-out

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  • Barry White
    Hello, everyone, Between being sick and violent weather, I haven t been able to keep up with reporting on bee events here. I ll bring you up-to-date as soon as
    Message 1 of 16 , 30 Apr 15:26
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      Hello, everyone,

      Between being sick and violent weather, I haven't been able to keep up with reporting on bee events here. I'll bring you up-to-date as soon as I can.

      For now, I have an important question regarding the trap-out. You will recognize from the following that I'm even dumber with a sinus infection than without one.

      On 4/18, Hive IV swarmed. It was a good sized swarm that I happened on "by chance," as I hadn't planned on going out of the house. They lit on the peach tree right next to the apiary, about five feet off the ground. God is very good to me. If they'd been any higher, I probably wouldn't have been able to retrieve them, as sick as I was.

      4/19 Wanted to take a frame of brood to the trap-out, but was too sick to do anything.

      4/20 I went to check the trap-out and found that the resourceful little buggers had found another entrance under a second story door and were back inside the house again, both in the wall and the house proper. Wondered why they wanted to give me so much work when I was barely able to drag myself there. The trap-out hive no longer had bees in it; everyone had gone back home. I knew I not only had to block them out of the house again, but that the hive needed more than empty comb and nasonov pheromone to compete with Lady Queen's magnetic personality. Planned on pulling some brood comb the next day.

      4/21 Here's where I get really stupid. I could see a queen cell in progress through a window, but I opened Hive IV anyway after that frame of brood. I wired the boxes apart, thus cutting two queen cells pendant from Box 1.:O( The frame I pulled (next to the one with the visible queen cell) didn't have any queen cells on it, but capped and uncapped brood. Why I didn't just put it back, I don't know. Anyway, I managed to get the comb to the trap-out and installed. It has definitely helped attract bees. Today (4/30) there are two visible emergency queen cells visible through the window.

      So here's the question: Is it possible that they actually had young enough brood from which to raise queens given the timing of the swarm? Should I give them another frame of brood and eggs, or wait to see what happens?

      Thanks for your help!

      Yours,

      Katherine
      Kentucky, USA
      zone 6
    • David Heaf
      Katherine wrote: I went to check the trap-out and found that the resourceful little buggers had found another entrance under a second story door and were
      Message 2 of 16 , May 1, 2011
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        Katherine wrote: " I went to check the trap-out and found that the
        resourceful little buggers had found another entrance under a second story
        door and were back inside the house again, both in the wall and the house
        proper. "

        The will to live of these colonies is truly remarkable. If there is a chink
        in the defences, they'll find it. I wonder how many attempted trapouts never
        work out. Cutouts are hard enough, especially when the queen and some bees
        retreat into the nooks and crannies of the building.

        Katherine: "Is it possible that they actually had young enough brood from
        which to raise queens given the timing of the swarm? Should I give them
        another frame of brood and eggs, or wait to see what happens?"

        This is a somewhat belated response as I know your post came in a little
        before midnight local time, and I have been tied up with other things today.
        Your swarm was on 18 April. It is said that most prime swarms emerge as soon
        as the first queen cell is capped. If the old queen laid her last egg in the
        parent colony as late as 18 April the oldest usable larvae would be past
        their 'best before' date on 23 April. As you took the frame of uncapped
        brood on 21 April there could have been usable larvae on it, possibly even
        day-old larvae.

        Katherine: "Should I give them another frame of brood and eggs, or wait to
        see what happens?"

        Only if the trapped out bees have not made emergency queen cells. Anyway,
        where would you get them from; do you have another colony to plunder?
        __________________________________________

        David Heaf North-West Wales, UK
        Warré & 'National' hives at 30 metres OMSL
        Warré beekeeping English web portal:
        http://warre.biobees.com/index.html
        David Heaf's beekeeping pages:
        http://www.bee-friendly.co.uk
        __________________________________________
      • Barry White
        Whew! After quite a period of hectic activity, I m finally getting to sit down, give you an up-date, and ask a pressing question. ... Of necessity I had to
        Message 3 of 16 , May 11, 2011
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          Whew! After quite a period of hectic activity, I'm finally getting to sit down, give you an up-date, and ask a pressing question.

          > Katherine:
          > "Is it possible that they actually had young enough brood from
          > which to raise queens given the timing of the swarm? Should I give them
          > another frame of brood and eggs, or wait to see what happens?"
          >
          > David:
          > Your swarm was on 18 April. It is said that most prime swarms emerge as soon
          > as the first queen cell is capped. If the old queen laid her last egg in the
          > parent colony as late as 18 April the oldest usable larvae would be past
          > their 'best before' date on 23 April. As you took the frame of uncapped
          > brood on 21 April there could have been usable larvae on it, possibly even
          > day-old larvae.
          >
          > Katherine: "Should I give them another frame of brood and eggs, or wait to
          > see what happens?"
          >
          > Only if the trapped out bees have not made emergency queen cells. Anyway,
          > where would you get them from; do you have another colony to plunder?

          Of necessity I had to take the "wait and see" approach.

          27 April - A handful of bees were finding their way back into the wall via the escape cone. Apparently some manipulations of mine with the cone had allowed them to establish a scent trail into the opening of the screen cone.

          30 April - Replaced the escape cone with a shorter, newly constructed one. I observed two emergency queen cells being constructed through the box 1 window, but still suspected their viability.

          2 May - No activity through new escape cone. Queen cells still in progress.

          8 May - Queen cells seemed to have been dismantled. Hive was very busy and purposeful, but I didn't see any pollen coming in. Came back later in the day to make a more detailed assessment. I had hoped to bring them some comb with both brood and eggs, but I had found that my planned donor hive (Hive II, the hive with "the dwindles") had no brood or eggs at all.

          The combs I pulled at the trap-out all had capped honey, nectar, and pollen, but no eggs. The comb I'd given them (observed from above due to attachments) still had some capped drone cells, but was otherwise cleaned out. The bees were very calm throughout the manipulation in spite of being queenless. A very good nectar flow is on.

          To answer David's question, do I have another colony to plunder, the answer is yes, but I don't know which one it would be wisest to use. Please tell me what you think. Here are the options:

          Hive IV - This is the strongest hive. I took a comb from them for the trap-out too close to the time they swarmed, and so there wasn't any brood young enough from which to raise a queen. Saw a young queen in this hive 2 May, following what seemed to be a mating swarm. We've had some lovely weather since then that would have made mating flights possible.

          Hive III - This hive was established with a swarm from Hive IV on 18 April. They have filled box 1 and are building in box 2.

          Hive II - I had hoped to use this as the donor hive, as I was about to superimpose a Lang box with a recently hived swarm. That way it wouldn't have mattered if I did take the queen with the comb for the trap-out, as they were about to inherit a swarm queen. As I said, thought, they had no eggs or brood. They were very calm, and showed no signs (that I could perceive) of queenlessness except a humming that started when I opened the hive and continued until after I shut it up. They have been foraging right up to this point and bringing in pollen, but with fewer and fewer foragers flying every day.
          I have put the Lang with the swarm in it on top of this hive after verifying that the queen there is laying a nice pattern of eggs. I joined them through newspaper, which they'd chewed through in less than 24 hours. They seem thrilled with the 2 1/2 boxes of comb in the Warré below their Lang box. The Lang has frames with black plastic foundation. I could conceivably cut out some of this to give to the trap-out. (Just as an aside, this swarm was hived in the Lang the same day, 25 April, as another was hived in a Warré with popsicle stick guides but no wax. The Warré has MUCH more comb drawn than the Lang, even though the Lang's swarm was larger. I really think plastic foundation hinders a good start building comb.)

          Hive I - this is the hive that was populated with a swarm 25 April. They have just about filled box 1, and are festooning in box 2.

          If you had to disturb one of these hives to pillage some brood comb, which would you choose?

          Thanks in advance for your help!

          Yours,

          Katherine
          zone 6, Kentucky
          USA

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        • David Heaf
          Katyherine wrote: If you had to disturb one of these hives to pillage some brood comb, which would you choose? I d go for I or II, certainly not II or IV
          Message 4 of 16 , May 11, 2011
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            Katyherine wrote: "If you had to disturb one of these hives to pillage some
            brood comb, which would you choose?"

            I'd go for I or II, certainly not II or IV which are in the process of a new
            queen getting established. You don't need a whole comb, just a 2-3" disc of
            cells cut with a 'pastry cutter' made from a food can. A slightly smaller
            can can be used as a plunger to ease out the cut comb.

            But why not review the whole project? A trapout gives you some bees, and
            possibly some honey if it works OK. But it does not give you a colony unless
            you plunder another colony for eggs, or find a queen from somewhere. It is
            easier for frame beeks to do trapouts because they can easily sample eggs in
            comb whenever they need them. But for Warrés it is likely to be more
            invasive and the damage to the donor colony might not be worth the overall
            effort.

            If you need to get the honey out of the cavity you could let one of the
            building up hives rob it out. The trapped out bees could be shaken out in
            the apiary and left to 'ask nicely' to be admitted to a colony.

            Here is a situation where a trapout would have been the only option for
            saving the colony:

            http://www.dheaf.plus.com/beeremovals/criccieth_high_street_trapin.htm

            But the investment of time and effort on a chimney top site of a three
            storey building on a busy High Street would have been great.
            __________________________________________

            David Heaf North-West Wales, UK
            Warré & 'National' hives at 30 metres OMSL
            Warré beekeeping English web portal:
            http://warre.biobees.com/index.html
            David Heaf's beekeeping pages:
            http://www.bee-friendly.co.uk
            __________________________________________
          • Barry White
            David said, ... Thanks, David. My thinking exactly at this point. I would have attempted this trap-out in any case to help out the family. They were in the
            Message 5 of 16 , May 12, 2011
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              David said,

              > But why not review the whole project? A trapout gives you some bees, and
              > possibly some honey if it works OK. But it does not give you a colony unless
              > you plunder another colony for eggs, or find a queen from somewhere. It is
              > easier for frame beeks to do trapouts because they can easily sample eggs in
              > comb whenever they need them. But for Warrés it is likely to be more
              > invasive and the damage to the donor colony might not be worth the overall
              > effort.

              Thanks, David. My thinking exactly at this point. I would have attempted this trap-out in any case to help out the family. They were in the midst of a trying time when the bees showed up in a dying woman's bedroom. A trap-in would actually have been harder given the nature of the house. Mr. Padgett built it himself over a period of many years, and, while lovely, it has more ins and outs than you'd think possible.

              I just declined to remove bees from the church where I did the trap-out last year. They made no effort to seal the building, even though I warned them that they'd have bees as long as they left things unfinished as they have. They also continue to employ a pest control company to spray the building with pesticides once a month. You can hardly breathe in the basement. I did offer to have my son do a trap-out, stipulating that he would charge them for it and require an agreement to stop spraying until the trap-out was complete. I don't think they liked the idea of paying for his help.

              I have indeed found that trap-outs are expensive in terms of time, labor, and sometimes entailing damage to colonies or equipment. In the future I'll be requiring that they be "worth my while" in one way or another before I take one on.

              Thanks again,

              Katherine



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            • David Heaf
              Katherine wrote: I have indeed found that trap-outs are expensive in terms of time, labor, and sometimes entailing damage to colonies or equipment. In the
              Message 6 of 16 , May 12, 2011
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                Katherine wrote: "I have indeed found that trap-outs are expensive in terms
                of time, labor, and sometimes entailing damage to colonies or equipment. In
                the future I'll be requiring that they be "worth my while" in one way or
                another before I take one on."

                I always charge for this work. It raises the bar for the clients and makes
                them consider whether it is better to leave the bees where they are. Often
                it is a case of the client needing access to part of the building for
                maintenance work. If I manage to recover a viable colony, it is a bonus.

                The local Council refers bee infestations to me. However, someone in their
                pest contro, department who used to keep 100 bee colonies and gave up has
                now returned to beekeeping and is looking for colonies. As s he said to me
                the other day: 'If it's a bunch of grapes, I'll take it'. That means that I
                get the difficult ones, the ones least likely to result in a viable colony.

                Private pest control companies here seem to have become somewhat wary of bee
                infestation jobs. That's probably because of convictions and fines over the
                last few years resulting from collateral damage caused by improper use of
                pesticides, particularly failing to seal up all access to the killed colony.
                __________________________________________

                David Heaf North-West Wales, UK
                Warré & 'National' hives at 30 metres OMSL
                Warré beekeeping English web portal:
                http://warre.biobees.com/index.html
                David Heaf's beekeeping pages:
                http://www.bee-friendly.co.uk
                __________________________________________
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