Since they seem to be well established, and if I could move the tank to an appropriate place, I would leave them in the tank and take three or four starts from them each year. In early Spring, take the queen, and let them make themselves a new one, (get the genetics).
It should be easy to seal off all entrances except one in the tank. An easy trapout.
That's what I was thinking. Just wanted to make sure I was on the right track. I have access to some heavily wooded property with few bees. I think I may stick it up in an old deer stand and rig it up for starts.
A friend of mine found a swarm in a 5 gal gas can brought it home and attached it to a hive with a small tube and when he found the queen in the hivebody laying he removed the can and left it next to the hive and then did a normal cone trapout, he said it was his best hive coming through winter. It looks like with this one you could just set a hive body right on top where the hole is and the seal off the fill neck should be real easy to get them to move up into a body
You are right. I'm certainly into making it easy, although that doesn't seem to be my default setting. That's why I posted the question I'll pot it on a 50 gallon barrel in the shade of the woods. It would be dead in a day in the South Texas sun. And if I miss a swarm, those woods need some bees anyway!
Victoria is in South Texas about 20 miles from the Gulf Coast. Heat in the summer is the problem. It rarely freezes, and the rare low is 20 in the winter. These bees have been in this tank at least 7 years according to the owner, who bought the property 7 years ago. They were in the back of a small wooden shed type structure, with shade but no insulation from cold. So they must be able to regulate the temperature sufficiently to survive in this area.
My first hive came from an open branch hive removal on November 19, 2012. The brought in pollen all winter long and were booming when spring arrived. Something is blooming year round. So our winters are very mild. Its a good place to keep bees.
That thing would probably rattle like crazy with a sawzall. I think that I would overwinter it and cut them out in the spring during the first decent flow when the numbers are lower and there would be less honey to deal with. But I'm a wimp.
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