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Swarm in a wall

 
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ksia



Joined: 17 May 2006
Posts: 2320
Location: Mayenne, France
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 10 9:57 am    Post subject: Swarm in a wall  Reply with quote    

Our neighbour has a swarm of honey bees in her wall - behind a ventilation
block. About 2m off the floor. Impossible to get at the combs. It's been there about 2 weeks. I'd guess from the activity there're lots in there.

Yesterday we put a big-bucket-top-bar underneath with bee attractant squirted in, about 1m below the vent block.

As yet the bees aren't showing any interest.

Any ideas how we can get them to move house? Are they too well installed?

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 10 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Unless you can access the comb the only way is a trap out.
I don't like it because it invariably means a certain amount of brood & usually the queen get left behind & starve.
Not always the case, sometimes the queen will leave with the remaining bees in a starvation swarm but not always.
& it still leaves the householder with the problem of old comb in the wall which will invariably attract another swarm next year.
If you can convince the householder to live with them, better for all IMHO.
If it's a brick or block built house there is no risk of the honey causing mould or damp problems as is the case with dry lined timber clad properties like they build in the states.

How to do it.
Make a cone from bee proof mesh that fits over the ventilation block, to allow the bees to leave but not re-enter.
Put a small nuc with queen & bees very near by, preferably only a couple of feet away or less, bee attractant wont work, it needs to be a functioning colony.
The returning foragers will join the nuc when they can't find their way back into the wall.
They will be readily accepted into the nuc as they will be carrying stores.
As the bees in the wall run low on food they have two options, starve or leave.
Link & another.

ksia



Joined: 17 May 2006
Posts: 2320
Location: Mayenne, France
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 10 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

A brilliant answer (as ever) Tav. Many thanks. Links interesting.

Lots to think about.

I think she'll be ok for them to stay. And this looks like the most likely solution.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 10 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You would think I've done loads of them, but the truth is I've never attempted it.
Just read a lot about a subject I'm passionate about & it seems to have stuck.
Chances are they will die out naturally anyway.
The odds are against them.
Prime swarming season is over, so the swarm has probably got a virgin queen who needs to be mated before they can prosper & if she is successful varroa will probably get them, or they wont have time to build up sufficient numbers to over winter.
But if they survive their genetics could be important, which is why I don't like trap outs, as you save the bees but lose the genes (queen).
If there are still bees flying early next spring it's a prime spot to put up a bait hive or two.
Restricted for space in a wall cavity they are sure to swarm in the spring so keep an eye on them & wish them luck.


ksia



Joined: 17 May 2006
Posts: 2320
Location: Mayenne, France
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 10 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'll keep a look out in spring. And all this did give me the impetus to finish my first TBH:



Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 10 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Looks good.
Far neater than my efforts.
What have you used for the roof?

ksia



Joined: 17 May 2006
Posts: 2320
Location: Mayenne, France
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 10 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We had some old slates which I used for the roof.

mochasidamo



Joined: 22 Sep 2005
Posts: 615
Location: Montgomery
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 10 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Slates? Very posh . Well done.

The UK has quite a few airbrick colonies. Often on social housing estates where a prime swarm has gone into someone's chimney, the council have refused to move it for free so it has been left then it has caste swarmed around the neighbourhood. Or similar.

I avoided trying to remove one due to distance this summer. I've no idea why meshes aren't used in the building trade on airbricks to avoid bees and rodents moving in (especially as they are much less likely to get bunged up than those wretched trickle vents for windows).

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