New home for the bees

I got a call from St. Pete Beach about a swarm that had moved into a wall and the owners didn’t want to kill the bees so they asked me to take them out.  Since the colony is in a location where I can silicon caulk up all the holes except one I was able to set up what we call a trap-out.  Over the one entrance I have left I put a cone made of screen. 

The bees come out to go foraging and walk to the end of the cone to leave their home.  When they return they go back to the entrance they are used to and find it is covered with the wide end of the screen cone and can’t figure out how to get back in.

I put a box with a frame of eggs and baby bees (called brood) by the door.  When the foraging bees come home and can’t get in their hive they smell the brood and go into my box.  There they will realize there is no queen and will begin to raise one, which takes 16 days until she emerges as a bee and another week or so before she is mated and laying eggs.  In the meantime the hive in the wall is emptying out.  Eventually they will all be gone, the queen there may decide to leave with anyone left.  After about 6 weeks the hive in the wall will be empty, all the honey there will have been consumed and I can block it up and take the box, which should have a new queen and be doing well, to an apiary.  You must check these regularly to be sure the cone has not gotten blocked with a dead bee and, for large hives, to be sure the box you left is not completely full, in which case you’d need to put another box there.

As I was putting the cone and box up these bees were so calm and gentle I didn’t even think to put on a veil and the home owner was so surprised.  I do usually use a veil with hives I don’t know but this is a pretty small colony and were not very defensive of a home they had only moved into a few weeks ago.  I do not want to advocate being unsafe but I like to work with honeybees with as few barriers between myself and them as possible.  I am more connected to them and can be more gentle and calm with less equipment on.

I took a video of this and put it on YouTube, you can see it at the link below or embedded.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQKDGsOd3K4 

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