www.savebeesflorida.com (Honeybee removals and top bar hives)
Very interesting, good work!
I have been working with water meter bees for some time with the local water company, and use a technique that seems to work well. It is more labor intensive than immediately moving them from the meter, but for me there is a much higher rate of success, including not worrying about if I have the queen or bees absconding:
1. I remove the lid and inspect the meter box. Most of my calls involve bees that have been in the box long enough to build comb that has eggs and larvae. I find if they have not been there long enough I am best off to leave them for a week or so until they do. (The homeowners do not seem to mind, and, in fact, are interested.)
2. If there is comb with eggs and larvae I remove it and put it into frames (with rubber bands). I do not worry about physically moving bees or the queen. I just put the frames in a bottomless hive box.
3. Clean out the meter box, removing all remnants of comb, brood and honey.
4. Place the bottomless box over the open meter box, setting the lid aside some distance to minimize robber attacks on the colony. The hive box is usually larger than the meter box, so I use dirt to build a level base for the hive box to rest upon, effectively sealing the seam between the hive and meter.
5. Place an inner lid and outer lid on the hive box (you need some type of upper entrance).
6. Leave the hive box in place, undisturbed, for a couple of weeks.
7. Inspect the hive box. Most times the queen and all bees have moved up into the hive box and set up housekeeping, with new eggs and larvae.
8. Lift the hive box and place it on a base. (The bees hardly notice what you have done. Takes 30 seconds.) Seal the entrance. Inspect the open water meter box to verify no comb...if there is repeat #2.
9. Transport to your beeyard.
As I say, this takes more time, and more visits to the site. I am a very small scale beek, doing it from the point of interest and knowledge, not profit, so I have the time. I find this technique is more effective than trying to move or vacuum the bees, with less trauma and interruption for the hive. The only problem I have had recently was when I tried this technique before they had eggs and larvae. In that case the colony (which was quite small) immediately absconded from the area.
Last edited by marant; 06-02-2019 at 10:51 AM.