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Tree Trap Outs

On occasion there will be a colony of bees in a tree that need to be removed. It may be that the tree has fallen, or is too near a home, or needs to be cut down. It my opinion, a tree trap out is never completely successful as the queen will refuse to leave. Typically unless you cut the tree open, which tears up the comb and often kills lots of bees, you will simply catch all of the foragers and weaken the hive such that it can not survive.

I received a call about bees in a tree that had just recently been pushed over in order to make room to build a house. The tree was described as being about 18″ in diameter with the bees entering and exiting via a knot hole. Upon arriving at the location, it was obvious the homeowner had no idea what size an inch was. I guesstimated where to make my top and bottom cuts, stapled screen over the holes, and we used his tractor to load it into the back of my truck, and I headed home.

Back at home I fabricated the typical screen cone and set up a nuc box and began the trap out via the knot hole. I placed a single frame of capped larva with the a queen and nurse bees I pulled from a standby nuc, plus 4 empty but drawn comb frames in the nuc. The standby nuc got busy and made another queen. Since the tree had already been pushed over, I choose to leave it on its side rather than stand it back up and risk shaking (more?) comb loose. Several weeks went by and I had another nuc, but the stink from inside the log was pretty strong – too many other vermin got in there so I disassembled the setup and rolled the log out of the way and let nature take its course.

In hindsight – I mentally developed a better plan for next time. Next time I will stand the log back up straight, make sure I have cut the top enough to expose the comb, and place a peice of plywood with a 3-4 inch hole in the center on it, then a hive body and top cover tilted to allow top entrance only. Maybe, just maybe, they will all move up to the hive body.

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