What should I do about a hive in my backyard?

jmonette1June 18, 2008

I have discovered a beehive in a tree in my back yard and I am concerned about safety. I hate to destroy them as I know how valuable they are. I think it has been there for a little while at least, there are three layers of honeycomb with a fourth being worked on. I know little to nothing about bees except that I understand even non-africanized bees will attack if provoked. I have a dog and a cat and a 14 year old daughter, we have a pool but it is on the opposite side of the yard. Is it safe to keep it there? The bees have not reacted to lawn mowers or barking dogs. Also what keeps it attached to the underside of the tree limb so it does not melt off in the 100 degree heat we have been experiencing?

Thanks, Jan

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Hopefully someone with more knowlege or first-hand experience with AHB will answer. If AHB is in your area, I'd have them removed. I think it's only ocassionally that you would find European honey bees building a nest hanging from tree branches, although it does happen from time to time. Beeswax melts at a higher temperature, that's why the combs stay attached.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 10:31PM
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I'm not sure where you live if Africanized bees are in your area they are cause for concern, but even they don't generally go out looking to attack. Most honeybees will mind there own business, they may be a nuisance if their coming to the pool for water. Most areas have bee keepers association where you might find a list of people that might want to remove the hive for you. Below is a link to state associations that might steer you to someone.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.okbees.org/associations.htm

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 8:15PM
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Sorry, about the wax question, there is little danger of the wax actually melting unless your expecting temperatures of 140 or so. Sounds like Iraq. Also if it's a healthy active hive they are probably reinforcing the connection to the tree with propolis. Building the hive in the open is not a good long term plan but it does happen.

Here is a link that might be useful: propolis

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 8:27PM
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txbeeguy(z8 TX)

I see you're in southern Calif, which is in Africanized bee (AHB) territory (as your posting seems to indicate that you're aware). I've got some experience with them (AHB), and as the previous two posters have advised, I would recommend that you not leave them in place either. From your description, the current bees you've got are undoubtedly European honeybees (EHB - the desireable kind). If they haven't attacked a barking dog or someone mowing grass nearby, then they're not likely AHB - even though the nest is in the open (which is unusual but does happen on occasion, as pointed out previously).

Here's the real danger: since AHB are dominate in any area they move into, the long term prospect of this colony staying EHB, is very slim. When (not IF) AHB take over this hive, they will pose a deathly danger to your dog and/or cat (at a minimum). And it doesn't take much to "set them off" - certainly, something as simple as a dog barking can do it; not to mention a lawnmower!

I, likewise, would recommend you contact a local beekeeping club and see if you can get a 'volunteer' to come out and collect up this colony. Describe to them, what you've said here and let them know they're not inside a structure (wall of a house) but be honest when they ask how far off the ground they're located. The main thing is to not let them stay around very long (the bees...not the beekeepers).

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 1:59PM
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Thank you so much to all who responded. I appreciate all the information. I am in Temecula CA by the way. This morning I went outside and saw a bright yellow object in my tree, well apparently the bees left sometime last night or early this morning and what I saw was the honeycomb with out the mass of bees on it. I had no idea honeycomb was so bright and yellow. Anyway, there are maybe a dozen or so bees still hanging around it that I can see. Do they live deep inside, so there may be many more? I don't understand why they would go to so much trouble to build such a large structure of honeycomb, and then just leave. It is the middle of the afternoon now and they have not come back. Why do they just leave? I noticed a trail of ants going up the tree trunk to the honeycomb, would ants make bees leave? All I have done is just go and look at them, quietly of course. Should I do anything with the remaining honeycomb structure? Thank you in advance to any one who responds!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 4:38PM
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The bees ran out of room. How high up is the tree hole? If it's low enough, you could wait until dusk to attempt to harvest the honey. I wouldn't do it without a smoker or bee suit, however.

If it's too high, I'm sure the racoons and chipmunks will be happy to do the job.

If you have a tree with a hole that size, your tree is in trouble.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 5:32PM
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From what I understood, the bees were not in a hole in the tree but rather built the comb hanging down from the branches. New comb is very white but gets darker as bees hatch out from the cells. Also, what you may be seeing is any left over honey or pollen in the cells. The ants are probably just there for the leftovers. If you wait a while they will clean out. If it's not too high, you can cut it down and keep as a conversation piece. When bees swarm,they usually find a place to hang out on a branch, fence post or any number of places while the scout bees are still checking out possible new locations. This may be anywhere from 20 or thirty minutes to a few days. I had a swarm in a nearby pine tree that hung around for 6 days before leaving. They were too high up to safely capture.Sometimes they can't find a place and the bees will start building comb where they are. This may be what you experienced.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 9:36PM
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If you get another swarm colony,you can check here to find someone who may be interested in removing it for you.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 7:04AM
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