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Hi Dennis,

I found a wild bee hive in a dead tree that is on the ground. Bees still have an active hive inside the tree. I am looking for the best and easiest way to get these bees. I want to use a single or double deep super, place it close to the opening in the tree. Brian Morehead

Hello Brian,

It doesn't work that way. You'll need to cut the tree open, remove each sheet of wax and tie them in a hive frame. Place each frame inside a standard hive and relocate the hive a minimum of two miles away or the bees will return to their original location. After two weeks, you can relocate the hive to another location if you like as long as it's at least two miles away from that location.  There's a lot of work involved in removing bees from a tree and your odds of not killing the queen or capturing the queen is fifty-fifty.

I hope this helps.



Hi Dennis,

Any thoughts about collecting uncapped honey?   Judy P

Hello Judy,

It is normal for beekeepers to think that they should not extract uncapped honey because that is what you read in most books. However, if you sit down and really think about how the bees handle nectar that is coming into the hive, the answer will become clear.

Let’s think past the general answer you read in the books and do what the bees do. When the field bee gathers the nectar from the flower, she stores it inside her honey pouch. While the nectar is there, enzymes from the bee will mix with the nectar.  When the field bee gets home, she will pass this nectar off to a house bee. The house bee takes the nectar into her honey pouch and enzymes from her will mix with the nectar. These enzymes along with moisture evaporation are what change the nectar into honey.

The house bee stores the nectar in a cell. The nectar will stay in the cell until the moisture content evaporates down to about 18%. When the moisture level reaches this magic number, the bees will seal the cell. This seal will help prevent any further moisture outside the cell from reaching the honey.

So, now we can answer the question. If the honey super has been on the hive at least three or four weeks and the bees still haven’t capped the cells over, it is probably OK to go ahead and take it for extraction. By that time the excess moisture has evaporated. Sometimes the bees don’t seal the cells because the honey flow has ended and the house bees have quit producing fresh wax. Most wax production takes place when there is a large amount of nectar coming into the hive. That stimulates the house bees wax glands. Just to be safe, you should purchase a refract meter and check the moisture content of the extracted honey. If the moisture is too high, place the open buckets in a room and raise the room temperature up to about 90 degrees for a couple of days. Then check it again.

You can leave the honey supers on the hive through the winter but, remember, bees move up during the winter. The bees will move into the honey super and in January or February the queen will start laying eggs in that honey super. You will not be able to use that super for the spring flow because it will still have brood in it. You can’t use a queen excluder under the super because it will restrict the queen from joining the winter cluster in the upper box.

It would be best to go ahead and extract the honey and store the supers unless your bees are light in stores, then you can leave it on.

I hope that this has helped you. Good luck.

Dennis Brown


Hi Dennis,

We enjoyed your talk this past Tuesday at the bee meeting.  If you please, comment on mineral oil fogging for mites. Pros vs cons. Perhaps compared to sugar dusting? Thanks, Kathleen

Hello Kathleen,

I've not ever experimented with mineral oils. I do know that most essential oils can kill the good bacteria located in the bees gut. The act of sugar dusting causes the bees to groom themselves which dislodges the mites from the bee. It does nothing to the mites located in the cells.

Why are you considering any kind of treatment? Are you having a mite issue? Think about selecting a more hygienic bee from a breeder who doesn’t use chemicals and you won’t have to use any chemicals in the hive. The bees will keep the mite level down.



Hi Dennis,

My husband and I have recently started Bee keeping (May 30). It is a NUC colony from Bee Weavers. We have many questions about them, But we found a hive under an old dog house by our barn. It seems very active but what we can’t see is the hive without lifting the structure. We did some things to elicit aggressive behavior but they didn't not respond, so probably not Africanized. We now would like to transfer them to a new hive about 1,acre away and see how they do. Is this not a good idea? Should I send some specimens to AM to R/O any Africanization or just re-queen them. Katie Schatzlein

Hello Katie,

Welcome to the world of beekeeping. If you were interested in removing the bees and relocating them, you should first have extra equipment ready. You would have to cut away each comb and place it in a standard frame then tie it in with string. After you have removed the comb, you should move the hive a minimum of two miles away or the field bees will go back to the original location. You could lose about half your population.

That being said, I don't typically advocate removing a hive from somewhere and then bringing it back to your bee yard. Ninety-eight percent of all bee diseases are found in honey comb. If you bring back honeycomb that is diseased and place it with your other hives, you could spread the disease throughout your entire operation. It happens more often than beekeepers are aware of. Since the bees in question are already located on your place, I would suggest that when you are removing each comb, you should check them for any signs of disease. If you spot disease, place everything back and at night time burn them in place. Soak your gloves in bleach and then run them through the wash machine. Take your hive tool and push it down in your lit smoker and scorch it good.

There's a lot to learn in beekeeping. I've been at it since 1964 and I'm still learning. I hope this has helped you.



I don't have all my notes in front of me. But I was
wondering if you could comment on the honey flow,
the hive activity and the current weather conditions
and how it is impacting the Texas bee populations.
I am guessing that the season is longer and wider
than normal but I know there is no normal weather
here in Texas. I just read in the paper the Ag
fishing report and would like to know the bee
Thanks, Michael


In Texas we have two MAJOR honey flows. Starting around the 1st of April, we have the yaupon flow which last for around three weeks. This year with all the rain, the honey flow was a bust. The rain washed the nectar from the flowers almost every day. The second flow is from the Tallow tree. That flow starts around the last week in May and runs for three to four weeks. This year the first two weeks of the flow was a bust as well because of the rain activity. Most beekeepers this year will have to supplement their hives by feeding sugar water because of the low food stores.

The commercial beekeepers have taken a huge hit in their operation. The early weather has prevented them from raising many queens and package bees for sale. There have been many reports of hives being under water and or floating down the rivers. All in all, this has been a very trying year for the beekeeper.



Days Gone By