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Old 22-12-2016, 14:06   #1
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Angry Bees in Mast

Just bought an Irwin 38 with bees in the mast. Didn't think much about it--surveyor didn't see it--but now I'm seeing that it's a serious problem. Turns out my halyards are all frozen! All I can guess is that the bees have glued the halyards to the wall of the mast.

I have no way to pull anyone up to kill the bees. I don't know how large the opening is at the top of the mast. It must be full of honey. There's no access to the bottom.

Anyone else been through this? Riggers won't go up there for fear of getting stung. Exterminators don't like hanging from ropes or cranes.

Scratching my head in south Florida.
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Old 22-12-2016, 14:10   #2
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Bees in Mast

I believe you can maybe shine lights on them and or maybe host a boom box up by them and they will eventually leave.
As a kid I have robbed a honey tree. I think after they leave your pulling the mast
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Old 22-12-2016, 14:25   #3
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Re: Bees in Mast

Professional bee removal people use a vacuum (shop vac) to remove and relocate bees from a tree or house.
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Old 22-12-2016, 16:43   #4
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Re: Bees in Mast

Bees do not like smoke. They hate it actually. You need to come up with a smoke device (some barbeque coal in a pot) and a blower (for example the dinghy pump is perfect) then duct the smoke into the base of the mast. Just a tiny bit and they would start leaving in a hurry. As long as you stay around the smoke pot you will be safe as the bees will avoid you. Still, I would cover up, including the face as they will be quite upset .

I would then use hot water to wash the honey off the halyards. What a fun problem to have. Good luck.

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Old 22-12-2016, 17:02   #5
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Re: Bees in Mast

Personally I would smoke them out, then pull the mast and do a detail inspection and pressure cleaning.

Who knows what the condition is till you look inside
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Old 22-12-2016, 17:03   #6
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Re: Bees in Mast

Maybe call a local bee keeper?
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Old 22-12-2016, 17:07   #7
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Re: Bees in Mast

I am a beekeeper and you need to get one to help you. The inside of your mast is a mess and will need to be pulled.
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Old 22-12-2016, 17:13   #8
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Re: Bees in Mast

Inspected a CSY with bees in the mast. We passed.

Smoke em out.
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Old 22-12-2016, 17:47   #9
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Re: Bees in Mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bleemus View Post
I am a beekeeper and you need to get one to help you. The inside of your mast is a mess and will need to be pulled.
That is what I thought
Would beekeepers be interested in collecting the bees in the MAST, assuming they are honey bees?
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Old 22-12-2016, 17:58   #10
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Re: Bees in Mast

I've smoked bees in hives. I don't recall them leaving but rather going quiet. Whether the bees go or not, the real issue is to get the halyards working. I would think that you should be able to apply enough pressure on at least one to get it moving. If you can, you can get someone brave to go up and use an insect spray to kill the bees (sorry, not a greenie) Masts usually have several openings in them and you might be able to dislodge the wax or pressure wash or steam clean it out. most of the wax will fall to the bottom of the mast and might stay there. The residue can become smelly over time. You might need to lift the mast to get it out ( not difficult and doesn't need to be lifted far to do the job(. You might be able to remove it with boiling water if there is a hole at the bottom of the mast, but don't pour water in and the let the wax melt and set. You must have flow through. the smell of honey in the mast might attract bees but a regular spray of insecticide into the mast from the top will solve that. An alternative is to take the mast off and do the same work on the ground.
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Old 22-12-2016, 18:21   #11
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Re: Bees in Mast

A beekeeper can install a hive box at the entrance, equipped with wax foundation and a one-way door, that allows the bees to go out, but not back into their hive. When the foraging workers come back loaded with nectar and can't get back into their hive, they will set up housekeeping in the hive box. Since all the bees except the queen go out daily to forage or defecate, they will be forced to move into the box. This procedure will no doubt be somewhat complicated if the entrance is aloft. Operations are best done at night, when all the bees are in for the night. Find a creative beekeeper. Once the bees are evicted, the wax and honey and dead larvae can be addressed. The queen will die also.
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Old 22-12-2016, 18:51   #12
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Re: Bees in Mast

So it sounds like it would not be worth a beekeepers time to save the worker bees and develop a new Queen?
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Old 22-12-2016, 19:09   #13
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Re: Bees in Mast

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So it sounds like it would not be worth a beekeepers time to save the worker bees and develop a new Queen?
The queens is not the issue - location is.

Queens are often "replaced".

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Old 22-12-2016, 19:17   #14
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Re: Bees in Mast

Oh Lord, I love reading internet experts.

They might be bees. If they are, then they are apis melifera, the honeybee. This is highly unlikely since bees like forest. But God knows, I've seen it all.

Or are the hornet "bees"? Hornets will nest anywhere. They too build a nest that can encapsulate halyards. Sans the honey, which is immaterial.

The elimination of either is similar- destroy the nest. Your halyards WILL move, which will break up the nest. Noting, of course, that it's not unlikely they chewed through the halyards which were in the way- but you'll figure that out when it drops to the deck.

If they are honeybees and you want the $30 queen, drop the mast, cut into sections on either side of the nest, and extract the queen. If you don't want to cut up your mast, the forget the useless advice given elsewhere.

Tie off the head of your halyards (I shouldn't have to say that) and then yank them back and forth to destroy the nest. Do this at night, since bees and wasps sleep at night. I'd do it during the day, but I've been stung over 4000 times, so your preference may differ. Bust up the nest. It may have to be a repeated (almost daily) event to make it inconvenient for them and convince them to leave. Forget the poisons and such, if they're mid-way it will only piss them off and not kill the nest.

The real problem you may face (particularly with hornets) is that they may have removed some of the protective plastic cover on the wire/ coax. You'll figure that out over time when lights, radios, and such don't work quite right.

My guess is that they are Vespa maculata, the bald faced hornet. Second guess, yellow jacket Vespa virginiensis. Could be V. crabo or V. Germanica, but I doubt it. Way down the list is the honeybee A. melifera. If the halyards weren't given much oomph could be narrow-waisted wasps such as mud daubers, which isn't any challenge and won't do any damage to wiring. But who knows? Every time some weird event happens I learn something.
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Old 23-12-2016, 14:48   #15
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Re: Bees in Mast

If the hive is large and the weight high up the mast will seriously alter your balance and make for terrible handling. I have heard that people have tried to pressure wash inside the mast and heat to melt it all up and have it run down, some say it's doable some say it makes a mess and you will never have none sticky halyards. I have seen this before and it made for a really nasty snap /jersey motion at anchor and can only imagine how it effects actually sailing.
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