Friday, May 9, 2008

Colony Extraction at Buffalo, WV

On April 13th I went and performed yet another colony extraction at an old farm house near Buffalo, WV. This was a fairly simple cutout as I could do it from out side of the house while standing on a picnic table. Here's a nice picture looking up through the field where the farm house is located.

After meeting and becoming acquainted the the the land owner, who drove down from near Columbus, OH, I began to start the work. Finding the entrance to the colony was easy enough. It looked as if someone had possibly shot a hole in the fromt of the house with a small rifle, possibly while deer hunting on the property. Once the hole was formed it became a perfect place for a swarm to settle down inside the wall cavity.

Once the entrance was discovered it was time to remove the old asphalt siding and the old oak boards underneath.

As you can see from the previous picture, the colony was not very old. I would guess that it was a late swarm from last year, possibly in July, which never had the opportunity to build up nicely. The picture is a closer of the comb. I forgot to take my digital camera with me so most of the pictures are quite blurry.

In the next picture you can see the manner in which the comb is measuered and cut to fit the wired split frames.

Here is a good example of a wired split frames full of comb which was cut out of a hive.

It took me a little while, but I did find the queen. The picture is blurry because I tried to get too close with the disposable camera.

This picture is of a wired catch frame with some brood comb in it which I place into the wall where the colony was to attract the stragglers. You have to leave a large enough gap between the inside wall and the comb or most of the bees will festoon over onto the wall.

After removing the comb and bees from the wall I reinstalled the old oak boards and asphalt siding. I also used a scrap piece of OSB to cover the hole in order to deter any returning foragers from reentering to old nest site. I also placed the the hive body which was the bees new home over the old entrance on the edge of the roof to encourage them enter it.

At dusk and after the bees had seemed to settle into their new home. I sealed the entrance and proceeded to bring them to their new home. This picture was taken the following morning before the screen was removed from the entrance.

I must say that out of all the cutouts I have done that this was possibly in the worst shape of any. There was absolutely no capped honey and no nectar in any of the cells. I don't know whether or not this colony would have made it until the flow began or not. There was a small amount of pollen that the bees had gathered. I noticed that there was also quite a bit of varroa mites. Actually, there was a lot of them when compared to how small the colony population was. The mites I seen did not include the mites which I did not see inside of capped brood or between the abdominal segments of the bees. A few days after getting them home I performed a test for hygienic behavior which they failed miserably at. I had grafted some queens from some of my own hygienic feral stock and have since replaced the original queen of the cutout with one of them. The cutout is now building up nicely.

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