Message from Timothy about swarms

Timothy wrote this post on FB today. I found it important enough to copy it into the blog for future reference of course.The thing about the trees is interesting. I notice that Tits and other birds also choose cavities in trees to build nests in. OMG so many thing to take into account when managing the garden. Yesterday I preformed a cutout. A cutout is when a established beehive is cut from some existing structure in this case from a flat roof. Beehives will move into any suitable space which a roof of a house represents. Normaly in nature swarms/beehives would move into cavity’s in trees and caves. With our modern lives these cavity’s are rare and most large trees are felled and certainly the rotten one which are hollow tend to be tidied up. This leaves manmade cavity’s for the bees to choose from. This invariably means that the hive becomes a pest. In this case their entrance is directly above a doorway and presents a safety risk. So how does a cut out work. First you have to get access to the combs of the hive. From there I catch the bees using a bee vac which is esentaly a vacume cleaner slightly modified to not harm the bees unduly. As I remove the bees I cut the combs and separate brood(baby’s) from honey(sticky mess) from wax. I am constantly on the look out for the queen and when I find her I catch her to unite later with her bees and her young. When all the wax/combs are removed and most of the bees caught I place a few combs back into the cavity to catch the last of the bees. I then come back in the late evening to catch these bees which stay on the comb rather than run into the wall or elsewhere. In the mean time I bring the baby bees/brood to one of my apairys and begin placing this brood in combs in a standard beehive using string wires and rubberbands. Then I unite the bees in the beevac with the brood. The last bees which are caught that evening are united later that evening. If I find the queen I cage her for her safety and will release her in a few days. Its a horrible job. It tends to cause damage to the property in this case minimal but in other cases quite a lot. This is the main reason beekeepers manage their bees against swarming. It is near to impossible to preform a cutout without killing quite a lot of the bees in the process as well which is disheartening for most beekeepers and certainly is for me. Hope this was of some interest. And sorry for the length of it but telling a small part of the story doesn’t really do justice to the procedure.

© Peti Buchel