My First Honeybee Cutout

Last Monday evening, I received a call from a local bee keeper who I have been learning more about bees from. He had been contacted by some local homeowners who had bees in the walls of their home. They wanted to have the bees removed in a process that is called a cut out. The bee keeper, Ted, told me that based on the number of bees that he had seen at the residence that there was a good possibility that I could fill the three Top Bar Hives that I had built. We made plans to meet the following evening at the home to begin removing the bees.

I had to modify my top bars in order to attach the comb that we would be removing. I came across this video, but since I didn’t have time for glue to dry I didn’t use any. I drilled 1/4″ holes in the top bars at an angle but the holes in the paint sticks I drilled straight. This put just enough pressure on the 1/4″ dowel rods that they were very secure.

The homeowner used a sawzall to cut through the plaster and lathes. Ted then carefully removed the plaster and slowly began removing the lathes. The bees had attached the comb to the lathes; so when he removed the lathes, caution was necessary so that the comb wouldn’t be broken.

cut out 2The bottom of the comb had been cut by the sawzall. This comb is new comb. You can tell because it is so white looking.

cutout6cutout5As he removed the comb, Ted used the bee vac to remove the bees from the comb. I didn’t get a picture of the bee vac but basically it is like these plans. He cut the comb to fit in my frames. I then secured the comb by placing big rubber bands around the comb and frames. cutout 3

During the cut out, we found six capped queen cells like the one in this picture (top right corner of comb) We also found lots of capped brood (top middle of the comb) and capped drone cells (larger cells bottom middle). The cells that look shiny contain honey.

Since we found six capped queen cells we didn’t spend much time looking for the queen. I divided the three TBH into halves so that each of the queen cells would be in its own hive. I then divided the remaining comb evenly between the hives. When I got home, I poured the bees from the bee vac into the TBH as well. It was a little tricky to evenly divide the live bees, but hopefully I got them divided evenly enough that each of the hives will thrive.

I am so excited to have bees and to continue to learn about these magnificent pollinators!

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2 Responses to My First Honeybee Cutout

  1. Andrea says:

    How exciting Jen!

  2. This is sooo cool. I want to know if they ‘take’ to the new home. Please keep us posted.

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