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URGENT!!! Bee help needed! dug up a swarm.

 
pollinator
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So last night my friend decided he didn't like the beehive that was in the ground near his house. So he dug it up, put it in a plastic bin and brought it to me. Now, incidentally, I have a topbar hive in my shed that I have been wanting to put to use, but never gotten around to it. So tonight I will.

It's real hot here, about 100-110 F. So the bin is in the shade of a tree with wet straw piled on top.

My question: how exactly should I go about moving them tonight and what do I need to be thinking about?

Obviously, I should be reading the really good books on this topic, however, I become a beekeeper in just a few hours...

Thanks in advance.
 
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This advise I now give you is maybe not legal in your state or country but try to find the queen and cut her wings so she can not leave her new home.Give them food,sugar water 50-50.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Rolf Olsson wrote:This advise I now give you is maybe not legal in your state or country but try to find the queen and cut her wings so she can not leave her new home.Give them food,sugar water 50-50.



Hmm, he took the comb with the bees, so I think they have honey in their comb already, do i still need to give sugar water?
 
gardener
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I would NOT cut the queen's wings. Finding her would likely be difficult anyway.

Unless you know for sure there is honey in the combs they will need to be fed. 50/50 sugar water as Rolf suggested.

What kind of bees are these? I suspect they are not the apis mellifera we have in the US. That could be a factor. Transferring loose apis mellifera bees from a bin to a hive is not exactly precise & elegant. Just carefully pour most of them into their new home. Leave the bin open & near the hive so the stragglers can join the main group. Shortly before dark is considered the best time. They are less likely to leave at that time.

Good luck!!!

 
Rolf Olsson
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Keep us updated how it goes.
Good Luck!!
 
Nathanael Szobody
pollinator
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Mike Barkley wrote:I would NOT cut the queen's wings. Finding her would likely be difficult anyway.

Unless you know for sure there is honey in the combs they will need to be fed. 50/50 sugar water as Rolf suggested.

What kind of bees are these? I suspect they are not the apis mellifera we have in the US. That could be a factor. Transferring loose apis mellifera bees from a bin to a hive is not exactly precise & elegant. Just carefully pour most of them into their new home. Leave the bin open & near the hive so the stragglers can join the main group. Shortly before dark is considered the best time. They are less likely to leave at that time.

Good luck!!!



Thanks! I don't know why they wouldn't be apis mellifera; they're native here in central Africa.

Is dumping or scooping more advisable for moving them?
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Also, how long do i leave them in there before opening up the entrance?
 
steward
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:Is dumping or scooping more advisable for moving them?



On my farm we dump bees whenever possible. We leave the entrances to hives open all the time, even when adding new bees.

 
Mike Barkley
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My initial thought was that they might be the so called killer bees. So a bit more protection would be advised.

I don't bother blocking the bees in either. Some people do suggest using some grass & twigs to make them work to get out. Their theory is it gives time for the bees to settle in & adjust. It does make sense. My theory though is that if I was a swarming bee, or worse yet, had just been forcefully ejected from a cozy safe home that I wouldn't be very likely to leave a suitable replacement home some kind soul provided.

Are you putting these bees at your house or at the school? Seems like an excellent learning opportunity for all.
 
steward
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the only time I've seen honey bees underground was in or next to some sort of structure. but my experience with honey bees in Africa is extremely limited, so that may well be very common there. in North America, bumble bees are far more likely to be ground nesting than honey bees. they do make comb, but not large colonies like honey bees.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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tel jetson wrote:the only time I've seen honey bees underground was in or next to some sort of structure. but my experience with honey bees in Africa is extremely limited, so that may well be very common there. in North America, bumble bees are far more likely to be ground nesting than honey bees. they do make comb, but not large colonies like honey bees.



In this part of the world the weather is extremely hot. Lots of animals make sturdy holes the ground to live in. Even African squirrels live underground. Termites make large vaulted underground chambers that control airflow, and when abandoned bees often move into the climate controlled home.

 
tel jetson
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makes sense. is there a tradition of keeping beehives below grade?
 
Nathanael Szobody
pollinator
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So I moved the "hive". Rather anti-climactic. There were only about fifty bees total. I can't say I saw the queen, but they were all huddled in a clump. I just picked up the piece of comb they were on and set it in the new hive. The. I let a few stragglers crawl on my finger and put them in. Felt silly for wearing a bee suit.

Poor things, they were pretty weak.

tel jetson wrote:makes sense. is there a tradition of keeping beehives below grade?



Not to my knowledge. This tribe doesn't even know they can be kept domestically.
 
pollinator
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Finding bees underground makes me think they are not actually honey bees (apis mellifera). In our region bees that need to be dug out (holes in the ground, compost heaps etc...) tend to be bumblebees. They have much smaller colony sizes which fits with your description as well. Any chance you can take some up close photos of them for us?
 
Nathanael Szobody
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They all died. Some left, but the others were dead by this afternoon. So sad that a young growing hive was destroyed for no good reason. There's one little comb of honey that really is blowing my honey-loving brain right now. Sure wish they could have made more.

So I'll leave the hive out and hope to catch a swarm. Any advice on that?
 
tel jetson
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in general, the best way to bait a swarm is to approximate as closely as possible ideal conditions for the colony. in your case, it sounds like that's generally underground or at least earth-sheltered in some way. does that seem doable?
 
Nathanael Szobody
pollinator
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tel jetson wrote:in general, the best way to bait a swarm is to approximate as closely as possible ideal conditions for the colony. in your case, it sounds like that's generally underground or at least earth-sheltered in some way. does that seem doable?



I can certainly shade it, but putting it underground would be a challenge.
 
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