Bee Removals and Swarms

Bee removal highlights for 2016 and earlier

See 2017 year bee removals here

See 2018 year bee removals here

Removal 1:

Photos of our swarm removal from a local Naples house. Click on pictures for full size images.

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The swarm was located near the peak of the roof.

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A little smoke calms the ladies down.

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The bees retreat exposing the beautiful combs attached to the wall.

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Cutting the comb away from the wall and placing in a nuc box.

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Bees in their new home.

Once at the apiary and after a day, the opening of the nuc entrance resulted in the bees leaving the nuc and going over to another hive. This happened probably because the swarm nuc was queenless. We were probably unable to get the queen because she was inside the tile roof structure on the house.

Once at the apiary and after a day, the opening of the nuc entrance resulted in the bees leaving the nuc and going over to another hive. This happened probably because the swarm nuc was queenless. Since we saw many bees going in and out of the roof tiles. we did not get the queen because she was most likely inside the tile roof structure on the house and not on the soffit/wall combs we collected.

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View of ANOTHER VERY LARGE swarm that may have to be removed at some future date.

 

 

 

Removal 2:

July 1, 2015 – We were asked to take a look at a hive that established itself in an upside down flower pot located near a storage shed. Investigation showed the bees to be gentle, with agreeable temperament, and the hive looked good to try to save. Thanks for the following pictures go to Nora and Tom Peek, Naples area photographers. Click on any picture for a larger view.
July 2, 2015 – UPDATE: We had a hard, long rain this afternoon. A check on the new hive after the rain showed the hive completely EMPTY ! All bees were gone from the hive. The hive was dry and clean with no dead bees and lots of brood comb abandoned.
July 6, 2015 – UPDATE: We had left a brood box next to the tipped over flower pot because we saw a lot of bees collected there, with the hope that they might make the brood box their new home. It appears they did exactly that and we transported the hive box to our apiary in the hopes we will be able to queenright the hive.

July 24, 2015 – UPDATE: Earlier in the month, we had taken brood and eggs from another hive and placed in this hive. Hive inspection today showed all the queen cells have hatched but no sign of a queen except for the one cell I had caged. It has an active queen confined. We are expecting bad weather for the next few days, so she will remain confined for a while before deciding to release her in this hive or make a new nuc.
July 25, 2015 – UPDATE: the hive has a roaming queen so some more brood frames were removed from hive #7 to make the hive stronger. So far so good on queen rearing.

 
First step is to tip the flower pot over and access the situation

First step is to tip the flower pot and look the situation over. It is important to observe the bees temperament on being so disturbed. If they remain relatively unaggressive, it is a good sign they might be candidate for relocation.

 
Smoking the hive and looking for the queen

Smoking the hive and looking for the queen

 
Found the queen and she looks healthy and active

Found the queen and she looks healthy and active

Removing the comb and placing into empty frames

Removing the comb and placing into empty frames

 
 
Shaking as many remaining bees into the hive box

Shaking as many remaining bees into the hive box

 
Placing the captured queen into the hive box

Placing the captured queen into the hive box

Closing up and getting the hive ready to transport to its new home

Closing up and getting the hive ready to transport to its new home

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Removal 3:

Tale of a WildFlower Apiary swarm chase………

Saturday, October 31,2015, we happened to notice a ball of bees on the back top edge of one of our larger hives. It was a swarm. So we quickly set up a new hive box with frames and sugar syrup in order to see if we could catch it……

  1. Sweep the ball of bees into a bucket and dump into the new empty hive.
  2. The bees leave and ball up on an old satellite dish.
  3. Sweep the ball of bees into a bucket and dump back in the new hive
  4. The bees leave and ball up on the outside of the new hive (video below starts) and then move over to the hive corner where I first saw them (video below end)
  5. Sweep the ball of bees into a bucket and dump back into the new hive box
  6. This time, they leave again and go over to the bee cam and cover the housing.
  7. Sweep the bees into a bucket and dump back in the new hive box.
  8. This time, I close up the new hive box entrance and leave them until the next day, hoping that they will get acclimated to the new location.
  9. Next day, I open the hive entrance, and they instantly boil out and swarm to a high branch in a tree. Out of reach, I leave a nuc box on a ladder, thinking they may find that suitable. I give up as I’ve given it my best shot…. 4 bucket transfers attempts.
  10. Next day, I see activity at the entrance of the new hive box. If this is the same swarm I had been chasing, then they, for some reason, decided to come back to the new hive box that they originally had been dumped into and left 4 times…… go figure…….


WildFlower Apiary Hive Swarm – October 31, 2015

Removal 4:

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11/21/2015 – We took a look at the hive this morning and were disappointed. The hive is basically abandoned and the remaining comb is becoming contaminated with wax moths. There was no sign of any queen and there were only a few bees present. I don’t think we ever got the queen. This and other failures prompted us to finally complete our bee vac design so that we may have better success at getting the queen.

11/17/2015 – We got an email from John in Marco Island concerning a couple hives in a tree on the side of his house. We took a look at the situation and were able to remove one of the hives. I must say they were some of the most gentle bees I have ever experienced.

It is too soon to tell how well the transplanted bees will do, so stay tuned. When the hive entrance was opened at the NaplesBees apiary location, the bees seemed to want to stay around, which is always a good sign !

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Click on picture for larger view

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Removal 5:

3/23/2016 Update……An inspection of the hive revealed a busy queen and a good brood population with lots of larva.
3/11/2016 We put our bee vac to use today and removed a large hive located in an empty compost bin. It took about 4 hours, but all together I think we vacuumed up 15-20 thousand bees. We cut to size and positioned the brood comb into frames, filling a brood box. Here is the hive after positioning in our apiary. We will do a hive inspection in a week or so and see if we have a good hive.
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Original location of bees in an empty compost bin
on the side of a house,
Hive relocated to brood boxes in our apiary.
click on pictures for larger view

Removal 6:

3/18/2016 Another hive was removed from a shed located in the back yard of a house in north Naples. Everything went smoothly, with the bee vac scooping up a small hive with around 10,000 bees. We’ll let them get settled down in their new home and open up the box in the next day or so to see how they are doing.

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hive located in a backyard shed in north Naples
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  bees relocated to our apiary
click on picture for larger view

Removal 7:

3/23/2016 We went to Bonita Springs today and removed a small swarm from a palm tree. It was an easy removal. Once back at the apiary, an attempt to place the bees in a nuc in the yard resulted in them leaving and swarming on the outside. A regular brood box and stand was positioned next to the nuc and the bees marched right in to it and seem to be staying. Perhaps the nuc was too small.
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bees in the palm tree the bees didn’t want to stay in the nuc
click on picture for a larger view

Removal 8:

3/30/2016 We went to a house in Naples today and removed a fairly large hive that had taken up residence in a house roof overhang. Access was not easy and the comb extended back up the truss. After a night to settle down, the bees were transferred to the apiary.

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corner of house roof with bees bees relocated to apiary
click on picture for larger view

Removal 9:

4/13/2016 We got a call to remove a small swarm in a water valve box next to the street in the Lake Park area. It was a very small swarm with only around a thousand bees. A small queen cup was seen but got damaged in the comb removal, so we will probably just combine this hive with another small one we currently have in the apiary.

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small bee hive in a street water valve
click on picture for larger view

 

Removal 10:

4/16/2016 We removed a very large hive from the flooring of a gazebo located in Port Royal. The hive consisted of many large combs that filled the floor section that you see opened up in the gazebo pictures. The next to last comb removed (located near the center of the gazebo) had a gorgeous queen which was captured. Most of the brood comb and some pollen/honey comb was placed in a 10 frame brood box. Since there were so many bees, an additional 10 frame brood box with plastic foundation frames was added above the comb filled brood box.
gazebo_1 gazebo_2 gazebo_3 The hive as relocated in the apiary. It is the center hive on the stand. Click on the picture for a larger viewgazebo_hive_in_apiary
   
   

Removal 11:

5/5/2016 Update: Today a look in on the hive was disappointing. There were very few bees and the combs had lots of wax moth webbing and moth larva. I was suspicious of the viability of this hive as a few days ago, it was observed on the beecam of a sudden explosion of bees coming out of the hive. That was rare to observe and if they did not return unseen, then the majority of the bees with the queen probably permanently left. The hive was removed from the apiary and all the frames sterilized by freezing for 24 hours to remove any remaining pest eggs/larva.

4/25/2016 Update: A quick look into the hive today revealed the queen had eaten her way out of the marshmallow plugged queen cage where she was placed from the original flower pot removal. She was spotted roaming the comb in apparent good health. As goes the queen so goes the hive!

4/23/2016 We removed a small hive of a few thousand bees from a flower pot located in the back yard of a Lake Park house. They had just about filled the flower pot with comb. The last comb removed had the queen on it which we were able to capture. We removed all the comb and fitted them into 4 frames. We placed the queen on a frame in a marshmallow plugged cage which should allow the bees to release her in a day or so as they settle into their new home.

Click on any of the pictures below for a larger view.

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The bees in their up side down flower pot

 
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The captured queen The captured queen closeup
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click on picture for a larger view

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click on picture for a larger view

Comb mounted in frames Notice the specially made grab bar that hold the comb in position until the bees “weld” it to the frame. The grab pins and rubber bands are then gently removed.
   
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click on picture for a larger view

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click on picture for a larger view

Hive relocated to the NaplesBees apiary. The entrance is reduced and leafed to promote “reorientation”. A sugar water feeding bottle is on top to promote comb building. As with all the hives in the apiary, we use a custom designed hive stand that has a bell (the inside of which is coated with bearing grease) on the support legs which prevents ants from crawling up from the ground and invading the hives — just one less problem for the bees to defend against. In the left picture you can see the live beecam globe that allows remote viewing of various hives’ activities…… we like to keep a close eye on the newcomers to the yard.

Removal 12:

4/30/2016 We removed a small hive of a few thousand bees from a water shut off valve located in the front yard of a house in Foxfire . Looking as hard and careful as we could, we never spotted the queen. We cut out all of the comb and transferred to frames in a brood box which will be set up in our apiary.
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click on picture for a larger view

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click on picture for a larger view

   
   
   

Removal 13:

5/31/2016 – We removed a Naples area small hive located in a water meter. The hive was fairly gentle and the queen was captured. Interestingly, we almost gave up on finding the queen because she was not found to be on any of the removed comb. Instead she was found hiding under a small screwed down plastic compartment on the underside of the water meter lid…….. amazing!! If we had not noticed this compartment and unscrewed it, we would have missed the queen and the hive probably would have reestablished itself. The next day we placed the hive in our apiary.
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Hive in water meter. Most of the comb was attached to the underside of the lid. Hive placed in the apiary. The bottom box and entrance restrictions will be removed once the hive’s bees have reoriented.
Click on a picture for a larger view.

Removal 14:

6/3/2016 – We were called out on a bee hive removal from a construction trailer in Golden Gate Estates. The hive had established itself between studs on an interior wall, necessitating removal of the paneling to reveal the comb. We estimated the bee population to be around 20,000 and removal took about 4 hours. They did not seem to be overly defensive.

6/4/2016 – UPDATE — We placed the hive into our apiary as hive #11

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These bees after relocated to a hive box in our apiary.
Hive in trailer wall. The multi layer comb was removed in sections so that it fit on deep frames. There was comb and bees at the bottom and at the top of the wall.  
Click on a picture for a larger view.

Removal 15:

6/5/2016 – We were asked to remove bees from a concrete block wall in Lakewood. The process involved gradually breaking into the blocks and opening up the hive in order to remove the long combs of brood. As can be imagined, breaking the block with a hammer did not make for happy bees. We vacuumed up the bees as the blocks were broken up and eventually got 15-20 thousand bees. Unfortunately our camera pictures of the process failed. The hive was placed in our apiary.

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Click on picture for a larger view

Removal 16:

7/8/2016 – We removed an absolutely packed hive located in a ground water meter box. Comb completely filled the available space. We found and captured a large queen, vacuumed up the bees, and mounted the cut out comb into frames.

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click on picture for a larger view

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click on picture for a larger view

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click on picture for a larger view

 
   

Removal 17:

7/13/2016 – We removed a small and very calm hive from a palm tree located at a house on Forest Hills blvd. We opted to simply cut the branch and place in a box for transport. We’ll relocate the comb into a frame before putting in the apiary.

Bee_hive_in_palm_7_13_2016

click on picture for a larger view

 
 

Removal 18:

7/24/2016 – We removed a very large hive located on the side of a house in Bonita Springs. The hive consisted of over a dozen large combs covered in bees….. probably 25,000 bees at least. It took 3 hours to vacuum the bees and put most of the brood comb into brood box frames.

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The large hive built on the side of the house. Click on for a larger view.

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Setting up the bee vac box.

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Inserting the removed comb into frames

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Inserting the removed comb into frames. It is cut to size to fit in the frame and held in place by bar of pins and rubber bands. In a short time, the bees will “weld” the comb to the wooden frame and the pin bar and rubber bands will be removed.

   
   
   

Removal 19:

7/27/2016 – We removed a another large hive located underneath a mobile home. The comb ran from the edge of the home inward about 8 feet, filling up the space between two floor joists. Click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

Bee entrance under mobile home.

Bee entrance under mobile home.

Comb between floor joists.

Comb between floor joists.

Comb between floor joists

Comb between floor joists

Bees after being moved into the apiary.

Bees after being moved into the apiary.

   

 

Removal 20:

8/19/2016 – We removed a small hive from a pool side storage bin. There were only 4 or 5 small combs and maybe 5000 bees. Click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

8/25/2016 update – The hive had no queen and no chance of making one, so it was combined with another small hive in our apiary using the newspaper divider technique.

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Bees on pool storage bin

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Bees in pool storage bin

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Bees inside pool storage bin after several small combs removed

 
   

Removal 21:

8/26/2016 – We removed a small hive from a water meter at a house in Royal Harbour. The water meter box was full of comb and after carefully removing each comb, the queen was found and captured. The bees appeared to be very gentle. We’ll give it a week or so in the apiary and then see how the queen is doing.

Bees and comb packing full a ground water meter box.

Bees and comb packing full a ground water meter box.

 
 

 

Removal 22:

9/3/2016 – We removed a small hive from a house window alcove in Grey Oaks. The hive consisted of gentle bees and about 5 small combs, mostly of brood. The comb was removed and placed in brood frames and will be placed in the apiary. Unfortunately we did not spot the queen, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t get her as the beevac might have picked her up. We’ll give it a week or so in the apiary and then check the queen status.

9/14/2016 update: We took a look at the hive today and spotted a good queen. We removed all of the comb support mesh wire from the frames as they had mostly welded the comb to the frames.

beshive_removed_from_window_alcove
 
 

 

Removal 23:

9/14/2016 – We removed a small hive of gentle bees from a water meter located in North Naples Boca Avenue area. We found the queen in what seems to be a usual spot, which is on the bottom of the water meter lid under a screwed down plate. Removing the screws reveals a good size hiding place that the queens and many bees always seem to like to hide in.

Placing comb into brood box frames. Click on for larger picture.

Placing removed comb into brood box frames. Click on for larger picture.

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Water meter box after removing a couple combs. click on for larger view

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click on for larger view

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Captured queen that was hiding under water meter lid. Click on for larger view.

   

 

 

Removal 24:

9/17/2016 – We removed a good size hive that had established itself inside a dilapidated water fountain at the rear of a house in north Naples. The entire column below the water basin was filled with comb.

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Removal 25:

10/12/2016 – We removed an 8 large combs size hive under the overhang of a roof. The bees were very calm and not aggressive at all. In fact it is one of the few times in a removal that I did not observe a single bee even attempting to sting. I never spotted the queen but saw several hatched open queen cups.

Click on for larger picture.

Click on for larger picture.

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After a little smoke and bee vacuuming.

Removal 26:

11/2/2016 – We removed some large combs on a hive under the overhang of a house roof located in the Orchards gated community. The bees were very calm and will make a good addition to our apiary. Unfortunately, we never spotted the queen, but I have to believe we vacuumed her up as there were virtually no bees left when we got done. It was probably a fairly young hive but I estimate there were 15K-20K bees. Notice the bright yellow comb, a sure indication that the hive is fairly young. Click on any picture for a larger view.

UPDATE: 11/5/2016 – After we had removed the bees as described above, we relocated the bees to a hive box in our apiary. Unfortunately, today it was noticed the bees had completely left the hive box for parts unknown. Even though all their comb was mounted in frames in the hive box, from the standpoint of the bees, sometimes things are just not right and they decided to abandon their brood and honey comb and move on. Such is the “art of beekeeping” !!!

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Hive on side of house

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Beautiful yellow comb showing after a little smoke.

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After a few combs removed and some vacuuming

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End result

   

 

 

 

Removal 27:

11/11/2016 – A medium size hive was removed from a water meter box located in the Crossings subdivision in Naples. The removal went well and they were very gentle bees, but something a little unusual happened when we started removing the combs and mounting them in hive box frames. After about 15 minutes, word must have got out because a cloud of thousands of bees descended on our location trying to rob the honey in the combs. It was amazing to be in the center of the activity, but it was a clear indication that there was at least one hungry hive somewhere nearby.

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Bees in the water meter (click on for larger view)

 
   
   

Removal 28:

12/2/2016 – A medium size hive was removed from a cabinet in an outdoor kitchen behind a house in Golden Gate. The bees were very gentle, and we cut all the comb out and placed in frames. We never saw a queen as we vacuumed up the bees.

Bees in an outdoor kitchen cabinet

Bees in an outdoor kitchen cabinet