Stephen Fowler from Lismore NSW recently acquired this native bee box that was connected to a paint tin. The main front box entrance was closed but the bees were coming and going from the rusty paint tin lid beside the box. Many guesses were thrown around as to how it came to be and where exactly was the colony. Stephen brought the box along to a Coffs Harbour ANBA workshop for everyone to inspect. Time was short at the workshop but the discovery and transfer were done later where Monica also grabbed some great video that I have added here along with the photos.
Tim first removed the box from the tin and found brood in the tin. This was transferred to a new empty box. There was lots of dirt and mulch at the base of the tin that can be seen in the photos. Tim transferred the old internal entrance tube and surrounding structure in to the new box and says this is important to help the bees accept the new box and is often overlooked when some people do these transfers. (shown in video below)
After the transfer was done we simply had to check the box, which revealed a full colony including brood, so there was effectively two colonies living side by side with what looked like only one entrance. The bees in the original box seemed to have made their exit through the bottom of the wooden box and through the paint tin.
After opening the wooden box, it was closed back up and not split. Now there is two separate colonies in secure boxes.
Below: Video showing the quick version of events, 3:50mins. Hive supplied by Stephen Fowler / Presenter: Tim / Camera: Monica / Edit: Steve