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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Terrell, Texas, USA
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    281

    Default Bees in a Gas Tank

    A winter question to ponder....I recently picked up an old metal gas tank, complete with metal filler spout (72 Camero I think). The bees never use the filler spout and instead opt for the 4 inch hole where the fuel pump/sending unit was intalled. This tank was leaning against a fence with the filler spout up and the hole down, just above the ground. They seem to have built about a 20 lb nest in one upper corner of the tank. Since we have had a freeze and all the nectar sources a gone, I don't want to try and remove the bees until spring. Anybody have any ideas on how to get them out? I can certainly cut the tank with a cutoff wheel or metal jig saw blade. My experience with this would seem to say that I will have more mad bees than you can shake a smoker at. Looking for a way to trap them out.

    My first thought is to lay the tank flat and put a bait hive over the hole but sure am looking for better ideas.

    Thanks for you thoughts,

    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
    Posts
    5,080

    Default

    If you have a box of drawn comb, your idea is worth a try. The comb being out of orientation just may be enough to make them move up into the box. I would give it a try for a month just to see.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Terrell, Texas, USA
    Posts
    281

    Default

    Thanks iddee. Our buildup starts in the middle of January. Would you do anything before then?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Venango/Crawford Pennsylvania
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    1,709

    Default

    Tom- Are they going in and out the Fill tube at all? Cap the tube. If so, here is something I did back years ago. Take screen and make a funnel with just a big enough hole for them to get out and place it over the hole. Have a hive right next to them with comb frames of you have any. Most of the time they will just cluster near the screen. Once you have most of them out you can put them in the hive and then maybe cut the tank to get any remaining bees and the queen if she didn't come out. Make sure you cap the hole so they don't go back in... and remove the tank away from the hive. Leaving the hive there, that will get any bees that are out and any that leave the tank to go in the hive.

    To late to do it this year I would think... at least here.

    Good luck.
    "Where wisdom is called for, force is of little use."
    Herodotus (circa 485-425 BC), Greek Historian

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Greensboro, N.C.
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    Default

    I would do nothing until the first pollen begins coming in after the first of the year.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Terrell, Texas, USA
    Posts
    281

    Default

    Thanks iddee. We sometimes have cedar elm pollen the 1st week in January. Will get after this then.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, Texas
    Posts
    1,378

    Default

    If you wait till they are in a pretty strong flow, you could probably use a high speed cutoff wheel (like on a dremel) to cut them out if it comes to it. I did one last spring that was similar and the bees seemed for the most part to be too busy to get real agitated, of course a lot depends on the temperament of the bees, so I may have just gotten lucky. Once you have the hive opened up good, they tend to become confused and more docile as it seems that they recognize that they have "lost the battle" and their home is no longer defensible.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oxford, Kansas
    Posts
    1,988

    Default

    cut off wheel + Old Gas tank = Bad day on the farm

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Venango/Crawford Pennsylvania
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat View Post
    cut off wheel + Old Gas tank = Bad day on the farm
    I was thinking that too... Glad someone said something...
    "Where wisdom is called for, force is of little use."
    Herodotus (circa 485-425 BC), Greek Historian

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
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    Default

    Hold my beer and watch this!!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    1,313

    Default

    If there were any gas fumes left at all the bees would not have chosen the site, so I'm sure you are safe with the cut off wheel.

    If it were me, I'd do a hybrid trap out/cutout.

    I'd move the gas tank 20 feet away or so, and place a nuc box (with brood) at the old site to catch foragers.

    Give them 30 mins to an hour for a lot of foragers to go to the old site and smell the brood and go on in. This will get rid of most of the foragers which are the bees that will give you a problem when cutting.

    Then proceed to cut the gas can open with a cut off wheel or whatever. Remove comb and gather remaining bees. and place in the aforementioned box. With luck you'll get the queen and then all the bees will gladly stay in the new box and within an hour after all the comb is removed all the bees should abandon the gas tank.

    Good luck. Keep us posted as to what you decide to do and how it went.
    Troy

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
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    3,536

    Default

    If there were any gas fumes left at all the bees would not have chosen the site, so I'm sure you are safe with the cut off wheel.
    There may not bee any fumes in it now but when you start cutting (grinding) there will bee so take the above advise and do not use a grinding wheel ! ! !
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, Texas
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by honeyman46408 View Post
    There may not bee any fumes in it now but when you start cutting (grinding) there will bee so take the above advise and do not use a grinding wheel ! ! !
    With both the filler tube and the fuel gage hole open to the atmosphere, the fumes would most likely have long ago dissipated. And when you account for the ventilation that would be accomplished by the bees I would say the chances are pretty near zero. At least that is what I told myself last spring. I do admit however, that I still felt a little uneasy when the sparks started to fly. I guess it all boils down to "Are you feeling lucky today?"
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oxford, Kansas
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    Default

    Let me make sure I got this right. we have a tank with the potentual to have highly volatile fumes. packed with flammable bees wax. Now we are going to take a heat generating spark throwing wheel to it and cut it in half. Sounds like another Darwin awared is in the works

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Phelps Co. Missouri USA
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    856

    Default

    Just wondering:

    If the tank had highly volatile gas fumes in it, would bees be living in side it ?


    Looks like it going to be a long long computer winter !!

    PCM

  16. #16
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    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oxford, Kansas
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCM View Post
    Just wondering:

    If the tank had highly volatile gas fumes in it, would bees be living in side it ?
    It takes very little fume to make things go boom. Just a hint of fume and a whole lot of oxygen is all that is needed to flip your world upside down.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat View Post
    It takes very little fume to make things go boom. Just a hint of fume and a whole lot of oxygen is all that is needed to flip your world upside down.
    Yea, but if its really a tiny bit of fume, you won't even get a "poof". There really is an optimum fuel to oxygen ratio for explosions, once you get outside of it the danger no longer exists. But the "devils in the details", in other words, you better be darn sure that you are outside of that ratio.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Venango/Crawford Pennsylvania
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    I knew someone that tried welding an old tank that was on a old car that they were restoring... guess what, he ended up in the hospital. Might not happen, but I am no into takeing a chance. So think about it. I am sure you will be ok, are you?
    "Where wisdom is called for, force is of little use."
    Herodotus (circa 485-425 BC), Greek Historian

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, Texas
    Posts
    1,378

    Default

    Without being there, its really difficult to judge. Take a look at this gas tank hive:

    http://www.beesource.com/eob/feral/feralhive10.htm

    A lot depends on what kind of shape the thing is in and how long its been out of service. I would not hesitate to use a grinding wheel on something similar to this.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
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    Default

    One little fact you need to keep in mind. Per volume, gasoline has more potential energy stored in it than TNT. Now just how many fumes would you need to release from the pores of the metal to make you wish you hadn't?

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