Today I visited my friend Deans house to watch him transfer some bees from a log. I thought this may interest some people as there is a method.
First thing he did was to lay out an area to work on. This log had come from a tree that was leaning up against another tree and the native bees had built into the gap in between the two. It was easy for Dean to see what was going on with the bees. To the untrained eye the hive looks like a big mess of goop. It’s actually cerumen and tree resin mixed together.
The job involved locating the brood where the queen lays her eggs which Dean picked prior to even cutting the hive open. This is what the bees call home. Dean carefully cut away pieces of the structure till he had a good visual on the brood.
The brood was then placed in a box with the lid slightly skewed a small piece of brood covering (involucrum) near the hole. This acts as an attractant to the bees to help them find their way to the box.
All honey and pollen were put in a separate place and a small amount of unbroken pollen is added to the box.
I noticed all of Dean’s other boxes had their entrances sealed and I asked why. Dean explained that a lot of the bees in the log work within the log and do not come out if they are not worker bees. Opening the hive sends them searching for a hive to call home. When these bees try and enter an established hive, the established hive goes into defense mode. This inevitably leads to a fighting swarm. Good tips Dean!
The tree remains are then taken away after the remaining workers are blown or shaken off. The box is placed where the log used to sit and left for a couple of hours till the bees find their brood.
For more pictures of logs visit this site. Link
To read more about transferring bees from logs try this book found here.