View Full Version : time to build new bee vac

12-16-2010, 06:10 PM
Already starting to line up some removals for spring and I want to upgrade my bee vac. Been using a modified bucket head vac and homemade cage in 5 gallon bucket. Basically an Owens style beevac. I like being able to use it on top of a ladder. Don't like small capicity of cage. Looking at a box type vac or a clip onto super style. Any thoughts?

12-16-2010, 07:03 PM
Might want to take a look at this one;


:lookout: PCM

D Coates
12-17-2010, 08:47 AM
I built that one last year. It's definately larger and heavier than what you've got but it holds a hole lot of bees without hurting them.

Bear Creek Steve
12-17-2010, 10:03 AM
I built a ROBO type bee vac last year and have used it with excellent results. Like you I also used a modified bucket vac unit ($20.00 at Lowes). Would recommend that vac unit sits on the ground and use a longer hose up the ladder. You need to keep the hose as straight as possible and shake/tap it occasionally to keep the girls from jamming the flow. I also use two ratchet straps to maintain the integrity of the stack of vac and super(s).

12-17-2010, 11:26 AM
I modified the Robo.
What i did was pretty much build a robo and then add a board to the outside that gives me a rim around the hives i have never found that i need more than one super. Think of it this way build the robo 19 7/8 by 16 1/4 (super size) then add a board that makes a lip to keep it more stable mine will stay together from pure vac power. I keep saying i am going to build one and sell it on ebay. I used pool vac hose and I too find that the girls bunch up both at the enterance and in the hose its self to if i built a new one i would try not having a slanted bottom this time I find as the bees get honey on them they hit that slanted board and stick for a second that makes the next bee have something to grab on to and they build a pile blocking the hose. I fix this with the one i have by turning the hive on its back to where the hose points to the sky. That allow gravity to help keep the hose clear.

Oh seeing that you have used the the bucket style major secret to the super style never put cut comb in it before you vac it might be tempting you open the wall no bees really on the frist few comb why not cut them and load before you start the vac. Worst idea on earth turns that slanted bottom into a sticky trap I did it once end up having to open the whole vac get bottle water and wash yes wash the bee for any of them to live worst mess on earth.

12-17-2010, 12:58 PM
Might want to take a look at this one;


:lookout: PCM

That is exactly what I need. I'm building one.:applause:


Bear Creek Steve
12-17-2010, 01:43 PM
I have not experienced the sticky bees problem that Haddon refers to, probably because I vac the maximum of bees off of the comb before cutting any comb. I do use a deflection ramp in the bottom of the vac at a 25-30 degree angle and no stickiness. I put 8 frames of drawn comb in a hive body sandwiched between the lower and upper part of the Robo bee vac. A bucket of water for washing hands and tools is a great thing to have handy when cutting the comb and rubberbanding it into empty frames.


12-19-2010, 12:28 PM
Thanks for the input. I'm going to build a robot style vac. Like the idea of a lip around it. Also like the idea of vacuuming them right into a super. I'll keep the bucket vac for those pesky 2nd story, top of the ladder cut outs. Might try to dream up a small box in box style to use for the tall jobs.

Bear Creek Steve
12-19-2010, 01:02 PM

Here's another idea for you. I cut the upper 1 to 1 1/2 inch of a 5 gallon bucket rim off and mounted it to the upper portion of the ROBO design. In your case, you could switch the same vac system back and forth between a ROBO and a 5 gallon bucket depending on your situation. The vac system just clamps onto any old 5 gallon bucket rim. ie. double duty for the cost of one vac.


12-19-2010, 06:50 PM
I built a bee vac using a 5 gal bucket and a battery powered dust buster. It is light enough that I can sling it on my back and go up a ladder with it (I am a 5'2" woman) I can collect a LOT of bees in it - pretty much about 4 gallons of them. The kicker is I can't LEAVE them there - they get too hot. So I always transfer them. But it works really well. I need to post plans for it...


12-19-2010, 06:56 PM
Do any of you folks have a line on where I could get some 2 1/2 inch flexible hose to use on a Robo-style bee vac that is NOT corrugated on the inside? I worry that the ridges on the inside of most hoses will beat the girls up too much.

12-19-2010, 07:38 PM
Tommyt's 123 Bee Vac :D

Go to a Local Dollar or wally Store and get one of those
Plastic storage Box's with lid
The ones that are 3' x 2' deep Built a Wood box like you get
when you buy a Bee package Built it so it will fit inside the Plastic
Storage bin
Cut 2 holes in the bin too fit Hose's cut an additional hole in the Bee Box package.
Now take one hose put through the Bin and into the Bee Box Package,put the second Hose into the Bin only ,when you put the lid on the storage bin your done. A roll of duct tape is needed for adjusting Vacuum pressure.
The hose that is not in the Bee Box goes to Shop Vac and the other is the one you collect the bees.
It is so simple to make a chid can do it.
I will take pictures of mine and post,I know I don't do well with type.
You can make one of these right at the Home depot if you were in a bind and needed one asap
Heck if you buy one the fits a Plastic milk crate you just wrap the crate in screen,pop a hose in it,then drop it in the Bin


KNC Bees
12-19-2010, 10:44 PM
We built the one using the plans on this site and have had great luck with it. We are changing from a reg vac. hose to a pool vac hose as it is smooth on the inside. Ebay, roughly a $1.00/ft plus shipping. Got the 1 1/4 adaptors @ Lowes.

12-20-2010, 05:28 AM
Was thinking of the same thing this past summer. I would love to see pictures.

Thanks man

12-20-2010, 10:46 AM
Rough Pictures but I hope you get how simple the last is the whole thing packed and ready to carry to the Job
I added the Piece of wood to the catch box to stiffen it and thats where I put the hose
You could put the hose any were you feel sorry no Pic of it hooked up


I can only put in 4 pictures so I will make 2 posts sorry

12-20-2010, 07:01 PM
Hey your pics got deleted can you post them again?


Kingfisher Apiaries
12-20-2010, 07:19 PM
I have one of the vacs that blasts the bees right into a 10 frame box. I hate it! The bucket design is the best out there. You can climb a ladder with it, set it up fast, and not break your back. If you do not want to make it yourself, brushy sells a good one.


12-20-2010, 08:34 PM
I have one of the vacs that blasts the bees right into a 10 frame box. I hate it! mike

WHY? What don't you like about it?

12-20-2010, 08:49 PM
here is 1 of 3 of 6
here is 2 of 3 of 6

here is 3 of 3 of 6

12-20-2010, 08:56 PM
by george they are post wooo hooo

Hope these are good enough for the Idea

I pack it all in one box and then hook it up to a Vacuum
It is far from HIGH tec but it works


12-20-2010, 09:46 PM
I have one of the vacs that blasts the bees right into a 10 frame box.

Sounds like you need less suction, only enough is needed to barely pull them off of the comb and into the hose. If you are just ripping them off of the comb then that is waaay too much suction. Have used one for a couple of years now and they work great.

Kingfisher Apiaries
12-21-2010, 07:15 AM
The blasting is a figure of speech. I did a cut out that yielded 2 deeps crammed full of bees and I maybe killed 50 bees.
Here is the vac. See why it is so heavy!!! That fact hinders me from taking it to jobs when I really should!!!!http://lh3.ggpht.com/_9ZnAN1FsJyQ/TRCrtTFR96I/AAAAAAAAAHo/VpnMkYUebA8/IMG_1296.JPG

12-21-2010, 09:02 AM
I am robo all the way. Had him make my first one 2 years ago because I needed one ASAP and he was willing to do it quickly for me. (Had 2 jobs coming up in 7 days.

I lose very few bees. The continuous running of the vacuum keeps the bees cool. I put in frames of comb that I have sprayed with SW to help them out.

The outfit is heavy (when it's full of bees and cutout comb). But that's the only negative I can find. You can always find something you don't like but that doesn't mean it isn't the best.

The one I made hasn't been used yet. But I did make a couple of modifications. I made the middle section a little larger and the grooves slightly. I also made the screen for the middle section easier to use by putting sticky aluminum take around all of the edges for easier sliding. The bottom section I changed up the screen opening so that it was on a swivel and the wire is indented some into the hole when sitting in place. Had problems with bees wanting to escape while removing the hose because the screen as designed on the first robo was not sturdy enough to stay together and screws were destroying the screen.

I still use the foam on the resting edges of the sections but I have also stapled them down as the sticky doesn't hold up when removing the boxes.

I didn't put on a slat around the edge of the middle section but I did have to make a change to my original one to keep from getting eat up by angry escaping bees. It doesn't take but a second or two for hundreds of them to escape and jump all over you!!! :lookout:

So now I just tape down two of the sides of the middle section to the box containing the frames and vacuumed bees. This keeps the middle section on when I remove the top section long enough to add the cutout frames that are in another box.

When I now pull out the screen in the middle section I no longer end up squishing a lot of bees that are pulled with the screen through the slot.

Always keep the vacuum running at all times. It's never turned off until I am ready to put the whole thing in my truck.
Always wash out the hose sections that are used to vacuum the bees after each use. There is a lot of honey build up when vacuuming the bees. I don't care how careful you are you can't avoid getting honey into the hose when vacuuming the bees of the comb.
Always have a bucket of water and cloths available to keep your hands, gloves, knives, and other equipment honey free. While a bucket of water isn't enough, it's better than not having any water.
Always have some cardboard or a piece of thing plywood to use when cutting the brood comb and honey comb to fit into frames.
Always have more tools available than you think you will need because you never know what you are going to be up against. I had 2 colonies that I removed that were in a stone veneer wall. Ever tried to cut into the stone and through the wire mesh while 20' up a ladder? Try to think of every situation possible. As I come up against something different, I add that "new" tool to my arsenal of equipment that I take with me on every job.
Always have 1 more bucket, box, frames than you believe you will need. You can't see behind a wall or ceiling.
Always inventory before you leave for the job.
Always take a camera to take pictures as you are doing the job. They are great references for later jobs and to show to the owner as to why you had to open such a large area or have unexpected damage.
Always carry more than 1 pair of gloves. There is only so many times you can wash the gloves in the same bucket of water before the gloves become slick from saturated honey.

12-21-2010, 09:46 AM
Tommy, I like the storage tote idea a lot. Ease of building. Also I think I'll build a couple boxes for the tote to help split the colony up and give them more room to breath. Thanks man


12-22-2010, 04:49 PM
OK Guys
I want to apologize to Barry and everyone else for messing up my Posts with these pictures, I just couldn't get them right, now the thread has bits and pieces of me stumbling through the thread:doh: One should have done it, so what I am going to do is post just the address of the pictures ,If there is anything else I can do to help let me know.
If you want different pictures send a PM , I'll do my best to take them and get them to you
Dan Great Idea as too building more than one Bee holding box ,I will do the same before summer gets here and I Hopefully get more calls for removals
Thanks and hope Future Pictures go up once and correct:)

12-22-2010, 05:00 PM
Dan I added the corner piece to make the box Rigid I would say anything similar would work.
What I didn't mention was on the main vac hose and the bee intake hose I put a nail on the inside of the Plastic tub this keeps the Hose from pulling out while in use
When done I open the Tub pull the nails and hose close and staple the screen over the catch box.
I should make a slider door for the catch box
This is just another view of the tub

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