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Cut outs - advice to new players

  • 01 Sep 2016 8:55 AM
    Message # 4221110
    Andrew Wootton (Administrator)

    A “cut out” is really for more experienced beekeepers to tackle.  My advice is to start with swarms which are much quicker and easier.

    Sometimes the bee colony has established in an inaccessible place (eg high in a tree) and they more or less irretrievable.  In typical building operations, it requires a beekeeper who is sufficiently motivated to do the cutout at the top of a ladder and requires juggling combs of dripping honey and bee brood one handed while being touched up by the occupants.

    Make sure before you start that the householder knows there will be some building damage and that they not you are responsible for restitution.

    The process is to remove parts of the building structure (eg weatherboards, eave linings) until the nest is exposed.  Then remove each comb one at a time and strap the brood combs into Langstroth frames with rubber bands (it’s possible but difficult to do this with top bar style frames).  Throw the honey combs into a bucket for crushing and straining - they are too heavy to hold straight in the frames.  Put the brood into a hive body and leave the flying bees (there will be a lot!) to find and return.  Then close them up (preferably at nightfall) and remove.

    The bees are usually quite defensive at first as you are destroying their nest.  Often towards the end they seem to get demoralized.  But you should expect to get quite a few stings. It's better as a 2 person job and will typically take a couple of hours or more. Plus the scoping visit and the night time pickup. 

    So it is often prudent to leave cutouts to the pest controllers who will nuke them.  Sorry bees.

    Having said all this, I've done lots of cutouts and they are certainly good experience and you usually end up with a good hive.  And my first major beekeeping experience was a cut out with another inexperienced beekeeper and it went well.

    Last modified: 01 Sep 2016 9:00 AM | Andrew Wootton (Administrator)

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