Water Meter Box Bees
As the weather cools down, you will likely see an increase in bee activity. A common area for bees to set up their hive is in your water meter or irrigation box. This provides the bees shelter and a safe place to grow the hive, or so they think. The problem is, most meter boxes need to inspected monthly by the water utility company and irrigation boxes are routinely accessed by landscape crews. The bees prevent both from doing their jobs. An exterminator is usually called to remedy the issue.
There is a better solution to extermination. Why not rescue and relocate? This involves accessing the hive, much like beekeepers would on a commercial hive. You start by introducing smoke to the bees. To bees, smoke means fire and it causes the bees to go into emergency mode. They gorge themselves on honey, attempting to save as much as possible should they have to vacate the hive. This makes them pay attention to the task at hand, saving the honey, and not to you. After the smoke is introduced, the lid is gently lifted to access the bees. This is the tricky part. Now the bees, and honeycomb have to be removed and placed into a hive box. Empty frames with rubber bands are used to recover the honeycomb so the bees have something to work and have food reserves until they can be relocated. When the honeycomb is secure, the frames can now be placed into the hive box. Not all the bees will automatically go into the hive box. They need to be scooped up by a gloved hand, trying not to squish them, and placed into the hive box. Some beekeepers will use a vacuum. I have used a vacuum in the past, but now I just prefer scooping them by hand.
After you have collected as many bees as possible. It is time to close them in the hive box for a few days. This will help them adjust to their new home. Bees will also need water. This can be accomplished by placing a wet sponge within the hive. Once the hive is opened, the bees will be able to forage for water on their own.
Now I’m not suggesting you should do this. Unless you are experienced, and have the proper equipment, you should never attempt to work with wild bees in Arizona. 100% of the wild bees in Arizona are considered Africanized, also known as “Killer Bees”.
Rescue and relocation, that is where we at Luckey Bee come in. For the same cost as an extermination, the bees can be rescued and relocated. So spread the word. There is a better way. Don’t exterminate, relocate! After all, 1/3 of all the food we consume is directly related to bee pollination.