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Thread: Driving bees in Log Hives

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    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Default Driving bees in Log Hives

    That was a rather fine BBC2 Natural World programme on France the noo. One piece had Yves, the native dark bee enthusiast, and his traditional log hives somewhere in the deep south. To take queens of selected stocks away to a distant mating site (and essentially artificially swarm them) the process involved taking off the bit of slate on top, parking a ventilated travelling box on top, and whacking the sides of the log with sticks until the queen and quite a few workers moved up, presumably to get away from the din. Maybe that has lessons for us.

    Here we go, about 43 min in. Just after the otter (no capybaras to be seen ... bit of an in joke for those who were here when we had one of our neonicotinoid 'discussions' ). Yves-Elie Laurent in the CÚvennes seems to be the beekeeper.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b041z55p/Natural_World_20142015_France_The_Wild_Side/

    Last edited by gavin; 27-04-2014 at 09:20 PM.

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    Thanks for the link I rather liked that log hive malarkey, might be a nice experiment!

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    Senior Member busybeephilip's Avatar
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    Actually, driving bees was a very well established practice in Ireland using native black bees (when native bees existed), I have several old Irish beekeeping books from early 1900 describing the process using skep beekeeping, it was used as a way of getting the honey out without killing the bees. there is photos of a beekeeper undressed (no veil or gloves) drumming on a skip and showing the use of "driving irons". You would not be able to do this with todays bees !

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by busybeephilip View Post
    You would not be able to do this with todays bees !
    Not unless they are decent bees.

    A photo from the old days (2010)
    Handling Galtee Stock.

    opening-up..jpg

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    Senior Member busybeephilip's Avatar
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    Not many bees flying from that hive Jon, I reckon it has been depleated

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    Senior Member busybeephilip's Avatar
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    Some Buckfast CAN be this quiet too !! others mixed with Amm can give you a really good stinging and nearly impossible to work with.

    One of my worst experiences was collecting a swarm of nice quiet looking yellow bees after getting the usual phone call from the council. The bees had been on a bush for a few days and were within easy reach for taking. So in I storm armed with cardboard box in hand and a quick shake to get the bees while a small crowd gathered some distance away. I learnt very quickly that swarming bees can and do sting ! I was badly stung in the hair face and hands - it was a lesson learnt - never go near bees without a veil no matter how quiet they might be, it only takes one sting right part of the eye to damage your sight. The bees eventually went into the box after I gracefully retired trying to look brave scraping the stings from my arms
    Needless to say, once hived those bees were a nightmare to work at

    - Swarming bees can sting -
    Last edited by busybeephilip; 28-04-2014 at 02:46 PM.

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by busybeephilip View Post
    Not many bees flying from that hive Jon, I reckon it has been depleated
    There were plenty of bees in that Galtee box.
    I took the picture and saw the demo.
    Worst thing I did with a swarm was one at my da's house.
    I was just there for a visit and he had a swarm about 20 feet up a conifer in the garden.
    He lent me a veil and a skep and I went up a ladder to collect it.
    It was still above head height at the top of the ladder so I held up the skep above my head and shook the swarm.
    At this point I realised the veil had a 6 inch rip in it so half the bees ended up on my face.
    I got a couple of stings but thankfully this swarm was docile.
    A swarm which spends 3 days out in the rain can get pretty cranky as the bees are starving.

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    Senior Member busybeephilip's Avatar
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    Yes.....its taken me some time to learn, but chasing after swarms can be a dangerous practice unless they can be taken without a ladder, sometimes they are nothing but casts that come to nothing.

    There will be a lot around the usual spots in Belfast this year, I'll be giving the council your name and number !! BBC newsline - Cycling beekeeper holds up rush hour traffic

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    I am already getting stuff through to the secretary account about people with bee colonies in wall cavities. Probably mason bees though.
    Swarming will start soon. A lot of big colonies about. Clip those queens.

  10. #10

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    I had a mason bee call last week, but it did culture a connection with some Canadians who invited me to stay at their lakehouse!

    I'm counting on non clipped queens for my own increase this year

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