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Old 02-21-2018, 01:01 PM   #1
MASTERS
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Default Honey bees forced abscond 2-19-18



Started out my day off before first light screening in the entrance/exits on this pecan that fell last year when the San Antonio river got out of its banks. At one time this hollow tree was completely under water and I was sure the hive drowned but after the water receded they were still alive somehow... As soon as the temps permitted I began by chaining up to the small end of the tree so I could pull it away from the trunk as I cut down to the comb with my stihl.



I made the first cut several feet from the known entrance and ended up being a few feet from the end of the comb.



Several cuts later I had got within about 6" of the comb on both ends of the hive. I boarded the ends up with plywood to keep the hive and queen in. I went to the shop and brought the skid loader back to move the log full of bees to a spot I wanted to start working them.



I stood the log up, removed the plywood, screwed a bottomboard with a 4" hole in it over the hollow in the log, a deep brood box with 10 frames with foundation as well as a second deep broodbox for extra space as the bees absconded. The dark lid it actually the top of my bee vacuum I use as it has a screened bottom that keeps the queen from escaping when I open the lid to allow the smoke to draw as I cold smoke the vertical log like a chimney.



Put some 2x4's on the log to stabilize it as the ends were not real square.





As the bees absconded they overflowed thru the queen excluder. These bees responded well to the smoke and absconded in about 2 hours. As they began to fan at the entrance I knew I had the queen in my broodbox.



I took them off of the log that evening, and left them until late yesterday evening to let them clean up any of the honey and pollen they had stored. I moved them to the house last night after dark and put a feeder in the empty top brood box so they had a little help as the weather was going to be wet and cold today keeping foraging to a minimum. I will mention that Texas is considered to be an Africanized state and I'm my experience the wild bees down here seem to be about 50/50 Africanized. If you get to work a real docile wild hive you can almost bet the next hive down the road will be hard to handle mean aggressive africans. Proceed with caution when working established wild hives!

Last edited by MASTERS; 02-21-2018 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:06 PM   #2
BlackHogDown
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Wow. Too cool!
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:06 PM   #3
nimrodajh
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Wow nice work
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:11 PM   #4
kruppa24
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nice work
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:13 PM   #5
Kurdawg
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Good job, i would have just killed them with ALOT OF FIRE!!!!
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:22 PM   #6
AntlerCollector
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Well done
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:27 PM   #7
elgato
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very cool
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:10 PM   #8
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Pretty cool! So did you get the honeycomb out of the trunk?
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:17 PM   #9
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Lots of work for sure . Well worth it . Iím going to requeen 2 maybe 3 hives pretty soon .
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:21 PM   #10
JakeGraves
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I remember my Grandpa had several bee boxes when we were little. We used to get a kick out of shooting BB's at the boxes. I'm assuming you are all suited up doing this?
What do you do when you find the mean bees?
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by darralld View Post
Pretty cool! So did you get the honeycomb out of the trunk?


When the bees abscond they have pretty much ate all the honey they had stored in the comb. The only thing left is stored pollen, eggs, and various stages of larvae. In the pic below is about 16" of comb I pulled out of the hollow to inspect yesterday evening before moving the hive to the house.

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Old 02-21-2018, 02:34 PM   #12
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Good for you for saving the bees. They are very necessary in our world today. This was very interesting to read.
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeGraves View Post
I remember my Grandpa had several bee boxes when we were little. We used to get a kick out of shooting BB's at the boxes. I'm assuming you are all suited up doing this?

What do you do when you find the mean bees?


I wear regular work jeans, t-shirt, and a breathable bee jacket with veil when I work on a wild hive. I've found a few Africanized hives around southern Bexar and northern Wilson counties. When a wild Africanized hive pose a threat to livestock and people's health they are dealt with accordingly and usually have their genetic potential erased by fire under the cover of darkness....

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Old 02-21-2018, 02:42 PM   #14
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Really enjoyed the read, and thank you for taking time to post.
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:46 PM   #15
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Good job
Thanks for posting, enjoyed the read
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:48 PM   #16
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Very cool! Thanks for sharing and the detailed info, learn something new every day.
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:51 PM   #17
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Aww Dustin, that was too easy. Its only fun when you get swarmed and have to run for your life.
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:59 PM   #18
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Good for you for saving the bees. They are very necessary in our world today. This was very interesting to read.
This.

I had no idea the state of our bees till my brother started messing with them. I dont swat at or try and kill them anymore
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:11 PM   #19
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Very interesting, thanks for sharing
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:11 PM   #20
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Awesome stuff!! I will be getting a few nucs this spring. Cant wait!
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:20 PM   #21
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Good read. I grew up finding and helping rob bee trees here in east tx.
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:22 PM   #22
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Yes sir, awesome.
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:26 PM   #23
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Good job!
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:26 PM   #24
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Were you able to save any of the comb? I've taken comb from removals and used rubber bands to center & secure them inside of empty frames and the bees will attach and finish drawing them out. Plus you potentially save the brood that was left in it.

I've never done a forced abscond from a tree but seen a few videos. Was there a hole cut in the bottom of your bottom deep that allowed them to crawl up & in? You mentioned they overflowed out of the queen excluder...I'm guessing it's that entrance excluder and not the traditional wire excluders?

Oh and great write up!
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:27 PM   #25
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I'm thinking honey pecan barbecue wood for my smoker. Bring on the ribs.
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:35 PM   #26
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Quote:
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Good read. I grew up finding and helping rob bee trees here in east tx.
I did the same around Limestone county, maybe 10% of the wild hives we messed with were Africanized and too aggressive to handle there. Its crazy to think how in roughly 300 miles the frequency in finding wild Africanized hives increases that much down here than up there.
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:36 PM   #27
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they are dealt with accordingly and usually have their genetic potential erased by fire under the cover of darkness....
This is poetic justice! I take the same approach with wild hogs.
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:45 PM   #28
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so cool!
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:47 PM   #29
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Were you able to save any of the comb? I've taken comb from removals and used rubber bands to center & secure them inside of empty frames and the bees will attach and finish drawing them out. Plus you potentially save the brood that was left in it.

I've never done a forced abscond from a tree but seen a few videos. Was there a hole cut in the bottom of your bottom deep that allowed them to crawl up & in? You mentioned they overflowed out of the queen excluder...I'm guessing it's that entrance excluder and not the traditional wire excluders?

Oh and great write up!
Thanks and yes I mentioned above there was a 4'' hole cut in the bottom board that I re-use on every forced abscond that allows the workers, drones(if there are any), and the queen climb up into the bottom brood box with 10 frames. That entrance excluder you see in the pics was originally a traditional full bottom excluder that got cracked and I cut up to make entrance excluders. I use frames with black foundation now ad even though they may set the bees back a couple of weeks it ends up being much cleaner frame of drawn comb. I tried to reuse comb before rubber banded into open frames that ended up causing several frames to be drawn together and a pain to deal with.
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:11 PM   #30
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Aww Dustin, that was too easy. Its only fun when you get swarmed and have to run for your life.
Lol I'm not a fan of those Afro-cans!
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:33 PM   #31
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I know what you mean about the Africanized bees living in close proximity to more docile hives. My son who lives in Orange Grove was removing two hives at my father's place north of Mission. The first bunch were in an old pop up camper. The only sting he got was from one he laid on inside the camper. That was one of the largest hives he's ever removed. The second bunch were in an old metal tractor fuel tank. They were about 50 feet from the first hive and hotter than a three dollar pistol. They attacked us standing about a hundred yards away, up at the house, and followed my son in his pickup for close to a mile. It's interesting work for sure.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:59 PM   #32
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I have had encounters with two African colonies. The first one, I was writing a estimate for a woman at her house. I noticed some bees on the front of the garage and pointed them out. A few minutes later, I was explaining the claim process and then she started acting crazy, like there was something in her hair. I had no idea what was going on. Then she took my cap off and started waving it around. At that point I thought she was completely nuts. She would shake it, then look inside, then shake it again and look inside. I finally realized, that every time she stopped shaking my cap, some bees would fly right back in it. We could not get them out of the cap. Once I did get them out and tossed it back in the truck, that seemed to have been an act of war. Because all hell broke loose immediately afterwards. We had bees very aggressively swarming and attacking both of us. We both wound up having to run way down the street to get away from them. By the time we got down the street, there was a huge swam all around my truck and her front yard. Eventually they calmed down and we were able to walk back down the street, so I got in my truck and left.

The other colony I had a encounter with, was at the house. I am not sure about that colony. They just showed up one day, found a hole in the wall of the house and made themselves at home. I did not mind. I don't mind honey bees. I tried not to get them stirred up, when cutting the grass, or working in the yard. For a couple of weeks there was no problem. Then one day I had my car out in front of the garage, which is detached from the house, about 15 yards away from the house. I was banging on something, then the next thing I know, something hit me, then again and again. I had no idea what kept hitting me. I looked around and saw bees zipping around in the garage very fast, then realized there were some outside the garage zipping around very fast, any time I made any noise, they flew at me and did not sting me, just slammed into me. Like a warning, very aggressively. I very quickly realized what was going on and moved away from the garage and house. When I did, there was a huge very dense cloud of bees all around the house, that extended out in multiple directions from the house. There was a very dense cloud of bees from the house to the garage and then all around and in the garage. I did not realize the colony was that large. I took a walk down the driveway for a while. I came back 15 minutes later and they had mostly calmed down, but were still swarming some. I tried to go back to work and not make so much noise. But within a few minutes of working, they were swarming again, again I had to leave.

Eventually I declared war on them, because it got to where I had to be very quiet anytime I was outside or they would swarm. I waited till darn and filled every hole or crack in the side of the house I could find. I worked on that for two or three nights. I had left one hole open, that I found a plug that would fit perfectly. Then I went and bought a case of the bug bombs and a case of wasp spray. I got the plug I had for the hole in the wall. Then took three cans of bug bomb. I would set off a bug bomb, then let it spray in the hole, making sure it sealed the hole up. Then I would put the plug in the hole, set off another can, then do the same with than can. I sprayed at least three cans of that stuff in the wall. Actually I think I stopped at three cans, because I realized something was wrong after I sprayed three cans in the wall. I shined the spot light around and realized there was a cloud of bees coming out of the bottom of the wall around the corner. At that point I dropped everything and ran inside. By the time I got inside, there were hundreds of bees swarming in the house. I really created one hell of a mess, very quickly. I quickly figured out they were going to light. I saw that the back patio sliding glass door was completely covered with bees, you could not see out the sliding glass door, it was solid bees. At that point, I was ready to leave and let them have the house. I shut off all of the lights except for one. Then stood in the dark, spraying them with wasp spray, as the went to the one light that was on. Once I had killed all of them in the main part of the house. I went outside with every pocket stuffed with a can of wasp spray. Then again stood in the dark and sprayed the back porch and sliding glass door down with wasp spray, two cans at a time. I don't know how I did not get stung. I managed to kill off of those bees. Then went back inside to find the spare bedroom full of bees. I set off some bug bombs in there and waited. That killed some, but there were quite a few still flying. So they got wasp spray. I then went to the spare bathroom, one of the bathroom walls, was where the bees were. That wall was noticeably warm where the bees were, every other wall was cool. They were ****** off. I decided not to stir them up anymore. The next day, there was a much smaller swam on the side of the house. Empty bug bomb cans and wasp spray cans all over the yard. I decided the was spray was working best, so I went and bought another case. Then got the idea of driving my truck right up to the side of the house, cracking the window and spraying the bees on the wall of the house. I managed to kill the majority of the rest of them that way. By the third day of the war, there were not many bees swarming outside the house. I had to restock up on wasp spray, I bought another case. Then went after the remaining bees, again by driving the truck up to the side of the house and cracking the window and spraying the ones on the house, then as many as I could get that were flying. By the fourth day, it was pretty much over. By the fifth day, the surviving bees left. That first night was scary, I was really ready to let them have the house. That turning on one light and letting them go to it, then standing in the dark and spraying them worked very well. I should have videoed the situation, when they were swarming in the house, covered the sliding glass door and were swarming all over the back porch. Then what it looked like after I killed all of those bees that night. The number of dead bees on the back porch was amazing. I may have gotten stung once or twice out of the whole four day war. I figured I would be swollen up huge, from a bunch of stings. No, I did not think to put on heavy clothing. I was wearing shorts and Tee shirt, I used the big pockets of my shorts to stuff wasp spray cans in.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:03 PM   #33
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My great grandfather used to keep bees. I have had interest in keeping bees, I really wanted to do so when I was a kid, but have been too busy most of my life. In recent years, my mother has been trying to get me to start bee keeping. I have thought about it, always thought it would be cool. But now with the African bees, I don't know about bee keeping. Those things are a pain in the ***. If I could keep the Africans out, I would not mind giving it a try. But if I ever had to go to war with those **** Africans again, I would probably give up on the bee keeping afterwards.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:06 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by MASTERS View Post
Lol I'm not a fan of those Afro-cans!
I am going to try and remember you are a bee keeper. I keep saying I am going to try it out someday. But I definitely would need help getting started. My great grandfather has been dead for over 20 years now, I don't know of anyone else who keeps bees. You seem to know them very well.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:10 PM   #35
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Good deal, looks like you put in some work to save them.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:16 PM   #36
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Thanks for sharing! I have a giant old tree on my property that is full of bees. I've been around them plenty of times and they never showed aggression.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:27 PM   #37
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Freaking cool! Well done.

With that said... Abscond
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:30 PM   #38
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Quote:
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I am going to try and remember you are a bee keeper. I keep saying I am going to try it out someday. But I definitely would need help getting started. My great grandfather has been dead for over 20 years now, I don't know of anyone else who keeps bees. You seem to know them very well.
Anytime you get ready to start let me know and I'd be glad to help if I can. You don't have to worry about Africans if you split your own hives and buy mated Italian queens for each split.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:36 PM   #39
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That was interesting. Thanks for the education.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:38 PM   #40
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Freaking cool! Well done.

With that said... Abscond
Define it please sir, I'm all ears
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:47 PM   #41
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Define it please sir, I'm all ears
I think Kevin was just messin' with you. I had not ever heard that word (abscond) in relation to bees, but then...I no little about bees.
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:03 PM   #42
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Define it please sir, I'm all ears
Aye! I am just messing with you I thought the thread was really cool and I really want to split my hive this year and try to capture some swarms in a couple traps I am making.

The word abscond usually implies leaving in secret or with an ulterior/hidden motive. I dont think bees hide the fact they are swarming, they just don't care if you know about it!

With that said, it does appear a lot of bee keepers use the word in relation to swarming hives.

Had to do a little searching and Oxford actually has bees leaving a hive as an alternative definition but none of the others do. Interesting!

Last edited by Kevin; 02-21-2018 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:21 PM   #43
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Quote:
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Aye! I am just messing with you I thought the thread was really cool and I really want to split my hive this year and try to capture some swarms in a couple traps I am making.

The word abscond usually implies leaving in secret or with an ulterior/hidden motive. I dont think bees hide the fact they are swarming, they just don't care if you know about it!
These bees we not swarming, they were comfortably living in that fallen tree that was going to be burnt. During most removals the queen will try and sneak off any chance she gets, and the workers will follow (march without flying) with bellies full of honey ready for the road trip.
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:24 PM   #44
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These bees we not swarming, they were comfortably living in that fallen tree that was going to be burnt. During most removals the queen will try and sneak off any chance she gets, and the workers will follow (march without flying) with bellies full of honey ready for the road trip.
Ahhhhh!!! OK, that does make sense now.
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:38 AM   #45
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Quote:
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Freaking cool! Well done.

With that said... Abscond
This is how I learned that word "Abscond".
Had a kid break into our shed in the country, steal a dirt bike. He got caught, out on bail and never showed up for his hearings. He is what I was told a "Absconder". Would have never correlated that with bees.

Great write up and thanks for saving the bees
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:39 AM   #46
ryno77
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Wow that's amazing
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:11 AM   #47
MASTERS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Viejo View Post
I know what you mean about the Africanized bees living in close proximity to more docile hives. My son who lives in Orange Grove was removing two hives at my father's place north of Mission. The first bunch were in an old pop up camper. The only sting he got was from one he laid on inside the camper. That was one of the largest hives he's ever removed. The second bunch were in an old metal tractor fuel tank. They were about 50 feet from the first hive and hotter than a three dollar pistol. They attacked us standing about a hundred yards away, up at the house, and followed my son in his pickup for close to a mile. It's interesting work for sure.
I got into a hive last year in a pop up camper, the entire cabinet over the fender well of the passenger side was the hive, largest I've ever worked as well. Was stung 21 times thru my ppe by them, finally threw the towel in.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:14 AM   #48
Patton
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Very cool, always thought raising bees would be fun and rewarding. We had a hive in the dilapidated house next to where I grew up. Sent them off to A&M and they confirmed they were Africanized.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:55 AM   #49
Ferg
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very nice, a lot of work, they had been there a while based on the black comb. Usually when a tree goes down the bees leave.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:16 AM   #50
MASTERS
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very nice, a lot of work, they had been there a while based on the black comb. Usually when a tree goes down the bees leave.
I caught a very small swarm about 250 yards from this hive last year in mid July that was probably a split from this hive. 250 yards is a stretch for a hive to move, but I guess its possible.
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