Removal of Nests of Native Bees from their Natural Home
by the Soft Split Method (Eduction Method)

Introduction

There are times when it is physically impossible to remove a nest from their established home. Here are some places that may into this area of impossibility.

a.    Brick walls of your home.
b.    Farm fence posts.
c.    Besser block wall.
d.    Timber power pole.
e.    Hollow part of a grave stone.
f.    A tree which is to be preserved.
g.    A rock cliff face.
h.    A public building. (There is a nest up 3 storeys in the Gatton Shire Council Civic Centre)
i.    Under a concrete slab.
j.    A log of bees which has sentimental value.

The method explained as follows, will generally preserve the original nest and also provide you with a new boxed nest.

Background

Bees will naturally propagate into the local area. This occurs once or twice a year. You can offer them a ready made new home, by simply forcing them to use the box that you provide. This will happen if you place the box directly over their existing entrance.

Step One

You will have seen from our pictures, that our boxes are based on the Original Australian Trigona Hive (OATH). For this method of transfer, we only use the bottom box plus a lid. For Austroplebeia australis, we simply fix an extra layer of timber to the insides and bottom of the box. There is a new 20 mm diameter hole bored in the back as well.

Step Two

To effectively connect the box to the entrance, you will need to prepare two mounting boards. One fits to the back of the box, while the other is fitted to the original nest. The mounting boards that we use are 300 mm long X 150 mm X 25 mm timber. these boards need to be flat and straight.

Step Three

It is important to ensure that there are NO bee leaks. The bees must exit via the front entrance of your box. The mounting board must fit tightly onto the log. Use an electric planer to level off the log's entrance. If there are any splits or cracks around the entrance, fill and level off with "Knead it". (Available from hardware store)  Screw the mounting board onto the log with two 50 mm roofing screws. The other mounting board can be screwed onto the back of the box with 50 mm particle board screws.

Step Four

Line up both holes in the mounting boards and screw together. If you have some left over nest material, place a small amount into the box. Fit the lid and hold together with a strip of rubber band made from a tyre tube. The front entrance hole can have a resin plug fitted to the inside. Simply provide a 6 mm hole in the centre of the resin plug.

Step Five

Ensure that the log is stabilized so that it will not fall over. Check for bee leaks. Within a few days of mounting the box, you will find that the bees have accepted their new entrance and have remoulded the resin plug to suit their needs. After two weeks, you will find that there is pollen cells at the front of the box, and honey cells at the back.

Brood may appear during Spring and Summer. To encourage brood production in the box, take some brood from an established hive and place in the middle of the box. Egg production may then start.

We have now found that the best way to encourage egg production, is to disconnect the box after a few months. Do this during warm months only. Place the box to the side of the log at the same height using a bracket screwed to the log. The returning bees will recognise the box's entrance and return to it. Make sure that you close the back entrance to the box. The bees will be forced to produce a laying queen and brood should commence shortly after. The log nest should recommence working too.

Step Six

When egg production is underway in the box, you can remove this box and move it away atleast 1 kilometer. Return the box to a new location in your yard after a month. You may install a new box back onto the log immediately after removing the first box. This process can continue indefinitely.  See the Australian Native Bee Research Centre for their page on EDUCTION

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