This was originally classed as a “difficult” to “impossible”cut-out because of: 1) rather sensitive bees that were really bouncing off of veils at the slightest vibration of the tree, and 2) the lemon tree had been left to grow untrimmed for probably the better part of a decade and all of its branches had become intertwined into a nest of inter-connected twigs without a central trunk.
Yuka and I spent about 2 hours carefully pruning with a sharp Fiskars pole pruner (without the saw blade) until we had cleared to the main branches. Once the outer frass of branches was trimmed away, an extension ladder fit nicely against 4 central branches to get a closer look. Turned out the colony had placed 90% of the comb mass against only the main branch, and the others were simply growing around it (with a little burr comb to further strengthen the mass.)
I guessed at using pruning loppers to cut free the top-most branches and the comb stayed nicely intact only on the main branch. This allows a “standard” t0p-bar cutout rescue similar to what I did with the palm frond colony (snip both ends and lower the whole thing to a receiving box and trim to-size). Because the branch is quite curved, to maintain the uprightedness of the colony, we chose to sit one end on the box bottom, and support the other end with a forked stick from other tree trimmings. One more in the middle braces the mass, and duct tape creates the desired side-to-side stability for movement.
No smoke used at all. Only 1:1 sugar water spray with vanilla. Bees stayed completely sane the entire time all the way into the box. We dimmed the lights around before cutting and used my head LED red light to do the downward movement – but they didn’t mind white light while I was cutting. This is how I really like to see relocations work.
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