[Maleny Mammoth]

 

Beehive Removal from Reesville, Sunshine Coast

Almost all beehives can be removed in a single day and only occasionally do we leave the catch-box on site for an extra day or two to ensure that we catch all of the returning forager bees. This job however was the first one ever to spread over two days.

As it turns out, this hive was bigger than anticipated and after 5 hours work, at 6pm I had only just exposed the brood comb. It was at this point I decided it was better to leave the brood nest intact until the next day.

No one really knew how long this hive had been in the wall of this Reesville house, but my best guess was at least three years. This estimate was based on the colour of the comb and the fact that it was tough as leather. The queen lays her eggs into the comb and as the larvae pupates it spins a cocoon which lines the inside of the cell. As generation after generation lines the cell with more and more cocoons the comb becomes darker and darker and the comb becomes tougher and tougher.

To complicate matters the comb in this hive had been built at all different angles and because it had been there for so long the comb was attached to the the walls in all sorts of odd spots. Removing it was a delicate operation, particularly when I was also trying to find the queen at the same time.

Locating the queen is often involves cutting out all of the honey comb first, reducing the number of bees using the bee-vacuum, isolating the options for her to run out of the brood nest to some other nook or cranny, and then methodically removing each piece of brood comb. This process of elimination worked well on this occasion and I found her pretty much where I was expecting.

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