You probably don’t remember, but I made ant moats for my hive stand legs. See below…
Conceptually, my ant moat was the bees knees. In reality, after every rain, the moat filled with water. YEAH, Water in the Moat! I should be happy, right? WRONG! 3 days later all of the water evaporated or was absorbed by the 4x4 sitting in the moat. My original plan was to avoid this problem by filling the moat with oil. Well, that would work, if (a) oil was more dense than water, (b) the 4x4’s didn’t wick up the oil, and © rain water didn’t fill up the moats. Needless to say, my moat, was a waste of time.
I had seen a different approach to the ant moat on the internet, that used PVC. Here…
and, yet again, here (there are lots of variations to the PVC ant moat)…
So, I thought I would try something similar. Below is what I came up with and I provided detailed instructions on how to make one yourself (the 4x4 block of wood is simulating one of the legs of my hive stand).
What my design would look like if a 3 year old drew it:
Before I get into the details, I want to tell you a couple of things I would change in Version #3, so you can make those changes yourself…
- The gap between the moat walls (3" PVC cap) and the rain cover (4" PVC cap) might be too small and could be small enough for some ants to bridge. The gap MIGHT be big enough, I’ll see what happens, but, I wish I used a 4 1/2" PVC cap instead.
- The nail I used was too long (3 1/4"). It only need to be long enough to bite into the 4x4 and keep it from sliding around. A 3" nail would have been better.
4 : 4" PVC Caps (they need to be flat, not rounded)
4 : 3" PVC Caps (flat, not rounded)
8 : 1 1/4" PVC Caps (flat, not rounded)
1 : 10" piece of 1 1/4" PVC pipe
4 : 3 1/4" Nail
Dremel or something similar
PVC Prep Solvent and Glue
Drill bit that has same diameter as nail
Tool to cut PVC (Miter saw, hack saw, PVC cutter)
Step 1: Prep the PVC for Glueing
The PVC I bought had rough edges on the surfaces that I was planning on gluing together. I had to grind down the roughness with my air grinder (a dremel would work just as well).
Rough Spots on PVC
Rough Spots Grounded into Oblivion
Step 2: Glue stuff together
PVC gluing works this way… you apply a solvent to prepare the surfaces (my solvent is purple), then you apply glue to both surfaces (my glue is clear). Then you stick surfaces together, twist the surfaces back and forth against each other a little bit, and wait 2 hours for it to dry.
Applying Solvent (sorry I don’t have more images, hopefully things are self explanatory)
Putting the parts together
Try your best to glue the 1 1/4" cap right in the middle of the larger cap.
By the time you are done, each 3" and 4" cap (8 total) should have a 1 1/4" cap glued the inside of it.
Step 3: Cut the PVC pip into four 2" segments
Using your tool of choice, cut the 1 1/4" PVC pipe into four 2" segments. The segments are intentionally shorter than the depth of the 1 1/4" caps. The pipe’s purpose is to keep the moat from moving left/right, the pipe is not going to support weight. Once you assemble everything you will see what I mean. This is nice, because this means that your cuts do NOT need to be square.
Then, clean up the edges of your cut and chamfer the edges if you want (chamfered edges tend to fit more cleanly). Chamfered means that you rounded off the edges of the pipe (see images).
Step 4: Assemble the moat
The hard parts are done, now we just need to stick everything together (Note: My PVC pipe is purple, I don’t know why, I think it indicates it is a certain type of PVC pipe. I am mentioning this in case you think I covered the pipe with solvent)
Step 5: Add something to the moat so the hive leg doesn’t slip off the slippery surface of the PVC
Our moat is almost perfect, but, a slight nudge will allow the hive legs to slide right off the moat. We need to add something to keep the legs from sliding around. I decided to add a nail to the moat that would bite into the bottom of the hive leg. I drilled a hole the same diameter as the nail in the top part of the moat and made sure I picked a nail long enough to bottom out onto the bottom of the moat.
Since the top and bottom of the moat are dry fitted together, all I need to do is separate the top from the bottom and fill the moat with oil. After the moats are installed, I plan to periodically check them by lifting the leg of the hive, taking the entire moat off, and temporarily place a block of wood in place of the moat until I am ready to put the moat back.