Bees create buzz on Main St.

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Beekeepers Neil Zehentbauer and Tim Groger (on ladders) insert a commercial bee hive box into a tree as Laura Alexander waits to hand up sections for the box.

As beekeepers remove hive from old tree

By Leigh Ann Rutledge

CCM Reporter

What was all the buzz on W. Main St. in Carrollton July 12?

Bees, bees and more bees!

A tree located near the intersection of W. Main St. and Moody Ave. was slated for removal. However, two honey bee hives were located in two separate branches. Property owners Jeff and Leslie Lucas wanted the bees moved before the tree was taken down.

Beekeepers, Neil Zehentbauer of Kensington and Tim Groger of New Garden were summoned in to relocate the hives.

A tree trimming company trimmed the top bulk out of the tree down to the hives.  The first hive was removed a few weeks ago on a 92-degree day.

The men performed  a “cut-out,” to remove the bees living in the abandoned tree.  Bees were vacuumed from the tree into a bucket. Then they were put in a “deep” box in frames, which are pieces of equipment made of either wood or plastic, designed to hold the honey comb. The bees were then transferred in with broods, immature bees that have not yet emerged from their cells.

According to the beekeepers, it was a huge well-established colony several years old with approximately 120,000 bees. A typical bee hive has around 60,000 bees. The hive was so big, and with the heat, a second box was needed to gather all the bees.

Laura Alexander of Carrollton was on her way to grocery shop when she drove by and saw Zehentbauer and Groger in their beekeeping suits working at the tree.

 A relatively new beekeeper, Alexander asked if they needed any help. She became interested in pollinators when she enrolled in The Ohio State University master gardener class. She has been involved with bees for two years and has two hives, one active and one ready to colonize.

On June 12, the trio returned to the tree to begin the process of removing the second hive. They found the bees entrance (in the limb) and cut the section off with a chainsaw. Once the limb dropped, they opened the limb, exposing the bees.

Breaking pieces of the limb apart, they found the queen, who was placed in a queen cage. The bees were shook into a frame and placed in a deep box. The queen was also placed in the box. The queen is larger than the other bees and cannot get out of the cage, but allows the other bees to tend to the queen.

The drone bees (male honey bees) and worker bees (female bees whose reproductive organs are undeveloped. The majority of the honey bees are worker bees and do all the work in the colony except for laying fertile eggs) will follow the queen into a commercial hive. They can sense she is inside due to her pheromones – chemical substances secreted from glands and used as a means of communication.

The deep box was placed in the tree so forager bees out gathering pollen would have a home to return too. When beekeepers perform a cut-out, they attempt to gather as much of the honey comb as possible, which contain baby bees and the brood.

Zehentbauer noted the hives had newer combs which were yellow. Further inside the limb, they found remnants of old combs. The Lucas’ believe bees have lived in the tree for five to six years.

The men removed the bees June 14. A hive was relocated to each man’s home where they raise bees.

Zehentbauer said the queen has been removed from the cage and he sees no reason they would not adjust to their new home. Between the two hives, they removed seven wooden frames of combs.

As for bee hives in trees, Zehentbauer said if it is established in a good healthy tree to leave the hive. The bees will propagate with swarms leaving to create their own hive.

Earlier this spring, the men were called to an old house to remove bees in the walls. The property owner wanted to tear the home down to build new and wanted the bees saved.

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