Sometimes after a log transfer or a rescue you are left with a lot of pollen and honey in a mish mash. I thought about this problem for a long time and how I could possibly remove the bees without killing them. I asked myself the question “what things would make me leave my home if someone took the roof off? Fire? Flood?” The idea was born. Bee floating.
I had observed many insects growing up floating in water. I often studied them and knew that a lot of insects will float when placed in water and so several years ago I started doing this. At first I tried dropping a little piece of propolis in water. As I watched from the side of the jar, each bee made its way out and let go of the structure, floating to the top.
Below is a short video I made to show you how it’s done. Because this relates to skilled bee keepers who have already learned to transfer hives, bee floating will be placed in the advanced section.
Bee Floating Tips
This technique should remove nearly all the bees. Make sure the structure is loose in your bucket before filling it with water.
Don’t have everything in your bucket squeezed in tight. Gaps will enable the bees to make their way out and float up.
After the bees have left, the pollen can be washed out with a hose and dried in the sun and then fed back to the bees or be placed in a solar wax melter.
If you have to leave in a hurry a branch can be placed on top of the bucket. The bees will cling to this and make their way out.
Pollen and honey when mixed ferment and this lets off fumes. Don’t enclose you container otherwise your bees will die.
Water is cold. Do this in the heat of the day when the bees wont have a problem drying out.
This takes time and each bee makes your colony stronger, put the bees first and they will thank you later with lots of yummy honey.
You can take usable honey-free components out and freeze them before filling your bucket. Later when the colony is strong you can add them back to your colony.
Bees that are alive will float with their legs outwards. Dead bees float curled up. Choose to quickly remove the ones that are alive. As shown above.
I hope this helps everyone think of new ways of sorting out our little stingless bees from their nests. More ideas to come.