I got a call from a family who had a wild honey bee hive in the eve of their house! I had no experience removing wild bee hives and the thought of climbing a 10′ ladder and removing the hive myself scared the liven day lights out of me! Especially after seeing how very hot (aka, Africanized Bees!) bees behave first hand.
You are probably thinking, why in the world would I want these bees?! Well, I”ll tell you these are my native bees to my specific area. They’re stronger than any package or nuc I could order in the mail. We’ve been doing bees for three years and lost all of them. Keeping bees at our place is by far the most difficult endeavor on our homestead, EVER. Learning how to keep bees is HARD (well at least for us it has been, the learning curve is straight up!)
A friend told me about a bee removal family, Einstein Bee Farm! I cold called them and to my surprise, the owners John and Cindy offered to come and teach me how to remove the hive!
I’m going to share with you…
1.) Our equipment list
2.) Hive removal video
3.) Removal pictures
4.) Honey bee resources
1.) EQUIPMENT & PREPARATION LIST
- A Bee Vacuum – you can make your own or buy one from places like Colorado Bee Vacuum or Dadent Swarm Box.
- A queen clip – find it here
- A box that fits your bars, top bar hives or Langstroth, whatever hive you’re using
- Long zip ties if your using top bar and rubber bands of you’re using Langstroth (to attached the comp to your frames) – find them there
- 100′ Foot Extension cords – find it here
- Two white sheets – find them here
- No Jewelry – take off your rings etc. If you get stung and swell, they’ll have to be cut
- Tin Snips – find them here
- Pry bars (several sizes) – find them here
- Hive tool – find it here
- Paint scrappers – find them here
- Scissors – find them here
- Pole saw (the two removals I’ve done we needed one!) – find it here
- If you have long hair, something to keep all strands back and away from your face (bandana, hair ties, bobby pins etc.)
- Smoker – find it here
- Lighter or blow torch – find them here
- Fuel for smoker – make your own with cardboard, wood chips, dryer lint, cotton or other natural fiber string, pine needles etc. or buy pre-made fuel pellets like these from Mann Lake.
- Duck tape (to tape any area a bee could get in, like between your pant leg and boot) – find it here
- Sugar water in a spray bottle – find it here
- 5-Gallon Buckets (at least three, one to sit on, one for scrap trash/comb, one for good comb/honey/etc) – find them here
- Bucket with a solid top like a Gamma Seal, fill with water to wash hands in (if there’s lots of honey in your hive! 🙂
- Water Bottles to drink (if you’re in hot weather, use a cooler full of ice… cold weather a thermos of something hot!)
- Full bee suit, preferable with attached hood with full zipper! 🙂 Whatever makes your happy. Just keep in mind you won’t know the temperament of the bees until your into the removal and if they’re hot. Here’s one from MannLake. The 100% cotton ones we find to be the coolest if your in hot places like Texas!
- An EPI-PIN, If you think you may have a severe reaction to stings.
2. ) HIVE REMOVAL AND RELOCATION (VIDEO)
3.) Our Day in Pictures! 🙂
Didn’t have a ladder tall enough, went to Lowes and bought a 10′. Good excuse for more equipment 😉
This is not a swarm. It’s an existing honey bee hive! Folks, read that again please. Read my typing… this is not a swarm. It’s a hive because there is comb.
Learning from the best folks, John and Cindy from Einstein Bee Farm. I would have never attempted this without their expertise and knowledge.
Lots and lots of tools, this is only a few of the great collection!
Box to the left is bee storage from the bee vacuum
Smoked a little and then started cutting comb off. Every move John made he looked for the queen.
Zip tied the comb to our Top Bar Goldstar Honey Bee hive. If you have a langstroth hive you can rubber band the comb. See picture, source is from Einstein Bee Farm.
Side note on getting the comb on top bars. I don’t recommend zip tying comb that is very heavy and dark. The bees will attach it to the bars, but the new wax cannot support the heavy comb. You won’t be able to work your hive at all. Heavy dark comb will fall from top bars, use Langstrough hives if you are removing a colony of bees that has been there for a long time. You’ll know they’ve been there for a long time if the wax is very very black and heavy. They’re won’t be much new wax (it’s light yellow). Don’t ask me how I know this. It was a painful lesson.
I learned from Cindy, this is a good brood pattern (brood is baby bee larvae), see how the capped brood is in a circle pattern.
The goal is to find the queen. Get one of these queen clips. We didn’t find her on this removal, however, the good news is there was brood that was within 3 days of being laid and the bees made a new queen!
Brought the bees and comb back to the farm and John put in the comb and dumped in the bees.
4. ) Resources
If your interested in honeybees relocation, check out …
The facebook page of Einstein Bee Farm, https://www.facebook.com/EinsteinBeeFarm
JP the Bee Man – http://www.jpthebeeman.com/jpthebeeman/ and his YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/JPthebeeman