We have been fascinated with bees for several years. We had plans from the beginning to raise bees in the future. But to our surprise, in early October, we discovered that bees had started to form a hive in our in ground water meter!
Because of our interest in bees, Brian began reaching out to local bee experts. He was disappointed when he was told starting a hive this late in the season would not be a success. Because it was such a small hive, the bees probably would not make it through the winter.
Brian immediately began researching how to care for late hive bees. We made batches of sugar water and set it beside the water meter until we could get our own hive box. It was exciting to see the combs the bees had formed under the lid of the meter box within just a few days. Of course, that same week the water company came out to replace the meters. Fortunately, the young man saw that we were taking care of the bees and let us know that if we wanted to keep them, we needed to get them moved. Otherwise, they would have to spray the bees.
Brain decided to go for it. He watched 100s of YouTube videos to learn how to capture bees and transfer them to a bee box. We ordered a hive box, a feeder, and a beekeeper’s veil. When the items arrived, we immediately set up the box. It was placed it near the water meter so that the forager bees could locate their new home. We prepared the frames by putting rubber bands around them to hold the combs in place. Brian put on his beekeeper gear. He even put rubber bands around his pant legs! It was time for the move.
He slowly and carefully cut the combs away from the meter lid and placed them in the frames. The frames were set into the bee box. All we could do now was wait to see what they would do. On warm days we could watch the bees bring pollen in to their new home. We continued to provide the bees with sugar water that was placed at the top of the bee box. The bees would go through about two cups every 3-5 days depending upon how cold it was. The lower the temperature, the quicker they used it.
Finally in November, we added a feeder box and provided them with a much thicker form of sugar water. As we get closer to winter, we only see the bees leave their home on sunny days. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed that they make it!