Feral Colony Removal from a Downed Hollow Tree

This old, hollow cottonwood tree was cut down and then I was contacted to remove a colony of honey bees that had been living in it for years.  It took three evenings to get them out of the tree and into my hive box.

The colony was in a cavity about 14″ in diameter and about 6′ long.  I started cutting-out comb but I could only reach about halfway in.

01

The second evening, I put my hive box against one end of the log.  There was an open entrance on the top of the box, outside the tarp, and an open entrance in the end of the box facing into the log.  I put frames of honey and drawn comb in the box for them to move onto.

02

The other end of the log I blocked with a piece of plywood.  Now, the only way in and out of the log was through the box.  I left them like that for the next 24 hours.

03

On the third evening, I removed the tarp and the plywood, and using my bee smoker, coaxed them out of the log.  After a day of going in and out of the box, and working on the comb in the box, they decided to all just go in the box instead of trying to go back in the log.  They landed on the top of the box and marched in for about 45 minutes.  This photo doesn’t begin to capture the energy in the air around me.

04

The bees in the box, the entrances corked shut, and the box in the back of my truck to take back to my apiary and install in a hive.

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