Watermeter Removal Plan
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bastrop County, TX USA
    Posts
    313

    Default Watermeter Removal Plan

    I have been requested by the local water company to remove bees from an inground watermeter. They are, in fact, honey bees, and do not appear to be particularly aggressive (not AHB). If they turn out to be a problem I will requeen them.

    Since they are not bothering anyone or causing any particular problem this is my plan:

    Adapt a bee box so it will closely fit the top of the meter box. Since the bees are using the keyhole in the meter lid I will make sure it is open to the bottom of the bee box.

    I have set up the bee box with no bottom, a standard top with a top entrance, and a standard lid.

    I plan to smoke the bees early in the morning and open the lid. I do not know how long the bees have been in the meter, so may have a box full of comb or just a few. I will remove most of the comb and rubber band it into frames in the bee box. Hopefully I will get a lot of eggs and larva, maybe the queen.

    The bee box will be set on top of the closed meter, with access still through the keyhole. My theory is that the bees will come out through the keyhole, be required to move past the frames with comb, and then exit through the top entrance. If I have not been able to find or move the queen she will eventually move up to the comb with larvae and eggs in the frames, and the bees will repair and attach the comb to the frames.

    Since there is no time pressure I will leave the bee box on the meter for a couple of weeks to be sure I have the queen, comb with larvae and most of the bees in the bee box. I will then move the entire thing to the bee yard and assemble a proper hive with a base, super, etc.

    What do you all think? Any suggestions?

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    2,244

    Default Re: Watermeter Removal Plan

    I done a similar approach many times. In fact, I have a specially dimensioned hive box that fits tightly on the my local standard water meter box (and a separate bottom board cutout for similar irrigation control boxes. I rubber band all the comb (invariably built on the lid) into frames, and put the filled custom box on top of the lidless open meter for an hour to overnight. Even if the queen didn't move up during the comb removal, she (and all the workers) will overnight to reach the comb (now all one story up, above an now empty box in the ground.

    When I tried direct removals, the queen often drops off the comb, and hides in the pipe entrance caves at the bottom of the box, where she is hard to catch. Vaccuuming the dirt floored open boxes leads to a vacuum full of dirt. So it is better to let the bees migrate themselves.


    I have a three sided box or more properly lid stand that I rest the lid on while cutting comb. The comb hangs down, rather than turning the lid over. Often the queen drops on to a ground cloth (to move off the frames for safety). Have your queen clip ready, and use a ground cloth, so she is easy to spot.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Cape Town South Africa
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Watermeter Removal Plan

    I have done lots of these
    If the ground surface is grass then put down an old white sheet next to the cover.
    Smoke and open the cover. Carefully turn cover upside down.
    Try not to let combs break
    Place your nuc for full size hive next to the now large hole in the ground.
    Start removing comb with brood and fasten to frames with elastic bands
    start scooping out bees and dump into hive that now has a frame or two of brood.

    I like to keep the lid of the hive three quarters closed as much as possible during this time.
    Smoke the hole in the ground. It helps to have a small pipe to put on the end of the smoker so that you can blow smoke directly to the bottom of the hole in the ground.

    Scoop bees into hive and encourage the rest to march in.
    Close the lid. Wait for last stragglers and seal the hive and you are finished.

    Max time should be 90 mins.

    You should have at least 80% of the bees.

    You can try to use a small amount of Benzeldehyde to speed up the process.

    Probably one of the easiest cut outs to do.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Tampa fl
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Watermeter Removal Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by Cape Bee View Post
    I have done lots of these
    If the ground surface is grass then put down an old white sheet next to the cover.
    Smoke and open the cover. Carefully turn cover upside down.
    Try not to let combs break
    Place your nuc for full size hive next to the now large hole in the ground.
    Start removing comb with brood and fasten to frames with elastic bands
    start scooping out bees and dump into hive that now has a frame or two of brood.

    I like to keep the lid of the hive three quarters closed as much as possible during this time.
    Smoke the hole in the ground. It helps to have a small pipe to put on the end of the smoker so that you can blow smoke directly to the bottom of the hole in the ground.

    Scoop bees into hive and encourage the rest to march in.
    Close the lid. Wait for last stragglers and seal the hive and you are finished.

    Max time should be 90 mins.

    You should have at least 80% of the bees.

    You can try to use a small amount of Benzeldehyde to speed up the process.

    Probably one of the easiest cut outs to do.
    Exacalty how I have done 4 times this year. Saved me having to type it up thanks

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: Watermeter Removal Plan

    Why not just open the meter, cut out the comb, put in a deep box with rubber bands, vacuum the bees, dump in the deep box, set the deep box over the water, all entrance to water meter must be closed, return at dark and close up the deep box and take it home, I have lost count how many we have done like this, works every time.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Watermeter Removal Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    I done a similar approach many times.
    Nice system....
    I am a bit suprized I would not have taken you for a chaser of ferals

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    2,244

    Default Re: Watermeter Removal Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    I am a bit suprized I would not have taken you for a chaser of ferals
    My creed is that we have a social contract with the larger society. They tolerate our fascination with venomous stinging insects, and we, in turn, take care of the colonies that misbehave and impact their pedestrian and non-colorful world. It just what we do as beekeepers.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bastrop County, TX USA
    Posts
    313

    Default Re: Watermeter Removal Plan

    I now have two meterboxes set up and pending. Going to give them 2-3 weeks to move into the hive box before I move them. I figure there is no problem with their location, and the longer time they have to move in and make comb and larvae the better.

    Is it possible to wait too long, as long as they do not run out of space?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bastrop County, TX USA
    Posts
    313

    Default Re: Watermeter Removal Plan

    Checked both meters. First one, which was quite small, did not move up into the box. Bees had made a lot of comb, though. Went into meter and moved all new comb into box and sealed it to the meter better so bees must use top entrance and move past the comb. Will check in a week or so.

    Second meter bees had all moved up into the box with the comb I had moved. They are making comb like mad, will move to the yard and add a super this week.

    Looks like the plan works, with modifications.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bastrop County, TX USA
    Posts
    313

    Default Re: Watermeter Removal Plan

    Update: 5/29/18

    Moved one of the colonies to the bee yard. Used brush over the entrance, though it was apparently not necessary. They have settled in well. Had to go into the box to manage some extra comb that I removed from the meter box just before moving. Do not know why they went back down into the meter, but they moved ok. Am sure I got the queen, though I have not seen her yet. The colony is still quite calm and quiet. Checked the meter box the next day, only 4-5 bees in the area, no sign of a queen.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •