Hello I am new to bees. We are talking down a grain bin in South Dakota which is home to a huge hive living in the wall. we will be taking the bin down next summer I was just wondering if and how I could bring the bees from the bin to our home in Minnesota and when would be a good time of year to do that. Thanks for any information, Nicole
Can you take some pictures? My guess is early spring would be the best time before the queen really starts laying. I have a few videos of cutouts I have done and they are large difficult projects but worth it to save the bees.
Check out this facebook group which I am a member of JPTheBeeMan and watch some of Jeff Armstrong's videos of hive removals on youtube.
Depending on your location it may be too late this year for them to be moved sucessfully.
When you do move them you will want to save all the brood comb by fixing it in place in frames using rubber bands, ensuring it stays the same way up as it came from the colony. Once you have transferred most of the brood you can put a lid on the box and position it as near as possible to the original hive location and the remaining bees will find their way to it by scent. You can also use pieces of cardboard to scoop piles of bees up and move them to the box.
Don't try to save honey stores - it is heavy, sticky and messy and can easily kill bees by drowning them. The comb is often too heavy to hold in place properly in the frames so it slips and moves out of line. Instead you can throw all the capped honey in one bucket and all the uncapped nectar in another (the uncapped may ferment - maybe make mead?). You can then feed their own honey back to them which gives them a boost repairing all the damaged comb.
EDIT: Just saw you posted your location as South Dakota. It is too late for you, as the bees will not have a hope of repairing the damage before they slow down for Autumn. Wait until spring when the colony is flying and busy.
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.
pick a warm day or days. take precautions to avoid chilling brood. I prefer hemp twine to rubber bands, as it won't recoil when the bees chew through it, but plenty of folks have success with rubber bands. I also prefer feathers or whole wings over plastic bee brushes.
any way you go about it, it's going to be a traumatic event for the colony, but thoughtful preparation and deliberate movements will go a long way to minimize stress for you and the bees.