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Old 06-07-2022, 16:36   #1
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Honey bees in the mast.

I used a seldom used halyard and a swarm of honey bees came out the top of the mast. The bees have been there less than a month because i changed an anchor light a month ago and there was not a sign of bees.
Have any readers experienced this problem and how did you solve it?
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Old 06-07-2022, 16:38   #2
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

Call an orchard and find yourself a beekeeper. There is a good chance they will be able to get them out.
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Old 06-07-2022, 17:36   #3
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

Or consider yourself lucky with a never end supply of honey for your tea and toast.

I also was away from my boat for less than a month and was startled last weekend by a large female mallard guarding the area under the dodger. Well, she was sitting on a nest of 6-8 eggs by the looks of it.

She was pleasant enough to let me down below, but puffed herself up and hissed if I stopped and gave her a look.

My son looked up some facts and tells me they should be gone within 28 days. But his friends did suggest scambled eggs when he texted a photo and asked what to do.
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Old 06-07-2022, 20:03   #4
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

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Originally Posted by Pandor View Post
Or consider yourself lucky with a never end supply of honey for your tea and toast.

I also was away from my boat for less than a month and was startled last weekend by a large female mallard guarding the area under the dodger. Well, she was sitting on a nest of 6-8 eggs by the looks of it.

She was pleasant enough to let me down below, but puffed herself up and hissed if I stopped and gave her a look.

My son looked up some facts and tells me they should be gone within 28 days. But his friends did suggest scambled eggs when he texted a photo and asked what to do.
@Pandor, you don't want to scramble those eggs if she has been sitting for more than a few days. give mama a couple of donuts every day and you will have a new friend, though.

@ottewja, Many hobby beekeepers would love to take that bee colony off your hands. Free bees! Most pros will be happy to do it, too, even if they don't really need the bees. After the queen and a significant number of workers are in a new hive, there will still be some stragglers and it will be a few days before you can try to recover honey. There won't be much though, with a newly established hive.
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Old 06-07-2022, 20:08   #5
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

Top of the mast.

Halyard pulley disturbed them.

Hollow mast.

NOBODY is going up in a bosun's chair, fully dressed in a beek suit with a smoker, to somehow get them out of the mast. I am pretty sure you do not want the beek to cut, drill, or in any way damage your mast.

Kill them. Use strong insecticide.

Not every errant colony can be saved. Don't even try to save this one.
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Old 06-07-2022, 20:52   #6
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

Contact the closest beekeeper. They know how to get the bees out, and if they are able to extract the queen, the rest will follow her to a new location, which is a way better thing to do than poisoning them. Our honey bees are under various threats, and saving this queen would be a good thing in the world.

We're in Australia, so, if you're here, I can put you in touch with some friends of ours who keep bees. Otherwise, Google beekeepers and see whom you can get to help.

Thank you for asking.

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Old 06-07-2022, 21:49   #7
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

Yeah unless you need to leave, why not try to recover them... It might be as simple as a beekeeper placing a portable hive box at the base of the mast and waiting for a week or two for them to notice it and move in. If you can't find a beekeeper to help, I'd find a beekeeper's smoker (20 bucks on amazon) and pipe some smoke up the bottom in small amounts frequently. If the queen gets tired of it and flies out, the rest will follow her. This way you won't have a mast full of dead bees like you will if you try to kill them.
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Old 07-07-2022, 06:35   #8
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

I am pretty sure that they can be driven out, and will happily take up residence in a proper bee box conveniently placed nearby. Don't kill until you talk to a beekeeper. A bee colony is a marvelous and fascinating thing, not just a bunch of stinging bugs.

Is your mast stepped on deck?
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Old 07-07-2022, 06:38   #9
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

Hope they can be saved. Nice to see so many people on the forum wanting to see them saved.
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Old 07-07-2022, 06:40   #10
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

I had bees in my mast last season and it was a nightmare. The bees got into the cabin and left sticky honey/pollen all over everything. I tried to see if any beekeepers could move the hive, but due to it's inaccessibility, none were interested. I ended up calling an exterminator who first pumped chemical up the mast. It seemed to get rid of the bees, but they came back and recovered the hive. I had to hoist him up in a beekeepers suit so he could apply insecticide down the mast. Then he covered the top with a bag to keep bees out and to heat up the mast in the event any came back. That finally did the trick. I then had to replace my halyards because I could not get the honey and wax out (I tried everything suggested in this forum with no luck.)

Now, when I leave the boat for the season, I cover the top of the mast. I feel the effort is worth it compared to the nightmare of having to get rid of the bees and the guilt for killing a hive. Good luck.
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Old 07-07-2022, 08:12   #11
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greatest Lakes View Post
Call an orchard and find yourself a beekeeper. There is a good chance they will be able to get them out.
A mast climbing BeeKeeper?
Rare item.
BYD
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Old 07-07-2022, 09:44   #12
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

I had a hive nest in my mast last year. I tried traps, essential oils (catnip and peppermint) sprayed into the mast that were supposed to repel bees and a few other "home" remedies to no avail. The only thing that worked was setting up the halyards so they would slap the mast in even the slightest breeze. The bees were gone in less than a week.
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Old 07-07-2022, 09:58   #13
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

I'm a bee keeper and will tell you no one in their right mind is going to climb your mast and besides, this is not a way to catch a honey bee swarm. I'm surprised that honey bees would take up residence in a mast as they tend to get pretty hot, wasps however are definitely a different story. If you have a deck stepped mast, you might try to send a shower of water from a hose to the top of your mast and make them very miserable.

My guess is that the won't stay very long in any event. Nothing to worry about until you have to climb the mast again........
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Old 07-07-2022, 21:28   #14
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

I would be more worried they’re paper wasps rather than bees

Wasps and hornets can sting multiple times and don’t die when they do sting
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Old 09-07-2022, 15:47   #15
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Re: Honey bees in the mast.

Had a swarm of Africanized bees in the mast in Chiapas Mexico. Solution was for local beekeepers (I thin) who used a smoke gun to fill the mast. First time it didn't work so they brought a bigger gun the next day. Next morning over 100 dead bees on deck and a bit later the whole hive was sitting on another boat. Dock staff went to get a spray bottle with dishwashing / water mix. Apparently that makes their wings inoperable and the would perish. Never saw if that works since the whole hive fly off to some other location before they got there.


If they had not been Africanized would have just moved them to another location.
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