Courtney the Dancer
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: San Juan Islands., WA, USA
Thanked 26 Times in 25 Posts
Rep Power: 16
I was a commercial beekeeper and I don't know of a "simple" solution to your problem. I'm assuming that the boat doesn't leave the dock much? Bees (if they are honey bees) have very precise geographic zeroing ability and even moving the hive a few feet messes them up tremendously. There is a saying about moving a hive "less than a foot or more than a mile". Meaning that if you move the entrance less than a foot they will figure it out and if you move it a mile or so they will immediately re-orient themselves when they exit the hive. The only two suggestions I can make are: 1. Climb the mast at night (when everyone is home) and spray them. There will be a LOT of dead bees at the base of the mast to vacuum up, and possibly a fair amount of honey (12 lbs/gallon) wherever the colony set up housekeeping in the mast (it may not be right at the top, could be quite a ways down). After the bees are dead, if there is honey in the cells other insects (yellow jackets) will probably go in and take it so that might not be a problem (other than the yellow jackets). 2. Move the boat during a hot sunny day, half of the bees will be out foraging. Do this a couple more times and the hive will "probably" die out eventually. The down side to this is that you won't be well liked at the places you "leave" several thousand bees which will quickly adopt another mast as home and won't be in good humor at losing their home and queen (in other words kiss your friends at the marina goodbye).
Wish there was a good third option, but I can't think of it.
SV Laurie Anne
1988 Brewer 40 Pilothouse