Cutout in Palo Alto – Lincoln Bee Colony – Completed

We’ve completed the bee removal in Palo Alto on 7/22/2010. My dad was stung once through the bee suit. And me, my body is really feeling the pain from neck down with sore muscles.

Day 1 was the simple part though I had to climb the Yucca tree to cut. It was about two stories high, though it didn’t look that high when I went for the site check. I’m afraid of heights! I did get a great view of the sunset from up above. 🙂

Day 2, the final day of the cutout, well, it’s a cutout and it involved A LOT of cutting with a chainsaw. The Yucca branches that I removed on Day 1 were thinner in diameter. Day 2 was the tough part in cutting especially when it got near the base. Arrived at Karen and Bruce’s place around 9AM as the fog was starting to burn off. (Darn, I was hoping we could work in our beesuits without the sun today but that didn’t happen)

We had to use a light to see the bees inside the Yucca tree. Here’s my dad using the bee vac to capture some bees before we start cutting.

A closer look at how little room we had to work with until we removed more of the trunk of the tree. Two exposed combs with only pollen.

After bee vac’ing we cut the trunk in half since it was already hollow in the center. That made it a little easier to cut since the trunk wasn’t as thick. We cut, vac’ed, cut, vac’ed all day until we removed the left half of the Yucca trunk. Below is my dad working the 16″ chainsaw to expose the colony as much as we can.

Here’s a closer look at where the colony lived. You see where the combs are, that’s where they started building first. The hole below, after we removed all the combs today, I found that these two holes connected at the bottom, and bottom is about 3.5 feet down (arm’s length)!!!

After exposing the colony some more we were able to remove some combs. Cut with a long knife and used BBQ tongs to grab and pull them out. It was kind of tough to remove the combs because we didn’t know they were about 2 ft long going down the hole. And the hole was only about 5 inches in diameter. So we were on a mission to remove all the combs and bees only, not being able to save any brood. Nor did we have high hopes in finding the Queen on this cutout. There were some really old black combs, and I was told that there was a previous colony that lived there. Due to the hole size and depth, I would say we removed 99% of the combs. I did see some in small cracks that we couldn’t reach but that’s not a problem because now the Yucca tree has been cut down and the hole will be filled with dirt on Friday to prevent any future swarms from moving in.

We took a quick 15 minute lunch break. While dad started to vacuum the bees again I snapped a few pics around the garden. Really pretty flowers and the bees just loved them! I think I need a flower gardening lesson from Karen, and fruit trees as well. This first pic I don’t think bees liked this one but those are some pretty flowers.

A bee from the colony we are removing landing on what looks like Sage or Borage. I have to say, I suck at flower identification.

I wish I had my macro lens for some more awesome flower photos.

Look at the row of flowers and yes, covered with honey bees.


Now which one of these flowers will the bee land on. There are just so many.

Here’s the end result. We cut the Yucca tree to the base, soil level. Opened up the hole large enough to remove the bees and combs. That hole was deep, we had to stick our entire arm and shoulder into it to remove the combs at the bottom. We bee vac’ed a good number of bees which we will combine with one of the hives, or I might give the bees away to a fellow beekeeper. Because there are foragers out we did come back in the evening to remove the remainder of bees.

Thanks Karen, Bruce, and Lothar for this bee removal opportunity.

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