I'm rather interested in the idea of a bee vac as an aid in removing feral bees from walls etc.I've never seen one so.....
what designs work best.? Have you made your own or is it store bought?
I'm sure some of you guys have had experience with these things..any ideas on how I could go about getting my hands on one or even making one..?
Any and all info would be appreciated.
The first "bee vac" I used was just an old wet and dry shop vac. I don't know if it was just because it was old, or because it lacked power, but it worked quite nicely as it was.
The next time I needed one and couldn't find that one I bought a low powered shop vac and it was a disaster. Killed a lot of bees.
I put a damper on it by cutting a hole in the top and putting a piece of plywood on, with a screw for a pivot. I covered the hole with 1/8" hardware cloth that I screwed on and duct taped around the edges. This worked much better because I could control the vacuum, but still was not the best. It still killed a lot of bees.
I bought the unit from Brush Mountain Bee Supply, which you hook up to a shop vac. Between the damper I installed on the shop vac and the one on the bee vac it worked better.
Adjust the damper so it barely picks up bees. This seems frustrating because it's difficult to get them vacuumed up if it's adjusted correctly. If you adjust it so it's easy to vacuum them, you hurt a lot of bees.
The problem with all of this is it takes a bit of trial and error to get it right and when you get it wrong on a feral hive that you are doing all at one time, you have pretty much killed all the bees by the time you realize your mistakes.
The plans on this site look pretty good too.
The longer you run the vacuum with bees already in it the more you stress them out. I recommend putting a one way cone of screen or hardware cloth on a feral hive and once a day, quickly vacuuming up the bee beard on the outside (or just brush them into a box) until you have a very reduced population. You can put these in a box with a queen or combine them by putting them on top of another hive, or put them on a double screen board on top of another hive.
Then tear into the hive itself. This way the bees don't have to an hour or more of exposure to the stress of the vacuum. This kills fewer bees.
Now that you have a reduced hive population the remaining bees are not only less in number, but are less aggressive. Of course bees are like people. You have to watch their moods. Just before they get disheartened enough to be less aggressive they will be more aggressive. You want to wait until they have reached that disheartened stage.
This is only really covering the conditions and adjustments of the bee vac.
The removal of comb etc. is covered in the swarm catching frames section of the plans section. I donÂ’t make the swarm catching frames, I just use rubber bands on regular frames. I suppose if you do a lot of them the swarm catching frames might be worth it.
Hi guys -
I talked at length with Matthew Westall, whose plans are on this site a month ago as I'm preparing to use his plans to make one. He has done over a hundred removals and has a lot of good advice to offer for using the vac. One thing he said was you keep working the outside combs first, removing the bees first, then the comb. He said in almost all cases, the queen will be in the last clumb of bees on the last comb. At that point, he removes the queen by hand and cages her, not subjecting her to the ride down the hose.
I made to one on here. I used a slightly more powerful vac motor though. The reason I did this, was I used a longer hose, but you really do hurt/kill alot of bees regardless. It works, don't get me wrong. I will make some suggestions though, make 3 or 4 cages for them, put a screen near the vac opening,(primary suction) and figure out a way to close off the cage. Using multiple cages puts much less stress on the bees in the cage. I use hose that is smooth on the inside. If you use a rippled hose, plan on killing more. As for getting to the queen, good luck. When the bees get sucked up, it is an all out attack for a while. If I do it again, I will remove comb piece by piece till I get the queen, then vac them off. I removed a colony from a barn, that had at least 10 pounds of bees, and I never did get the queen.
I use an old small vac motor bolted to the top of a five gallon bucket lid. My hose is spa hose from Home Depot with home made clevis nozzle. I have a ball valve on the lid to allow for suction power adjustment. I have several matching buckets with screened lids to minimize time bees are exposed to the vaccuum. I cut some foam rubber for soft landings in the bottom of the bucket, but if one keeps the suction low they are not needed. The bees are on the bottom of the bucket and one can switch to an empty one without losing any. I get a few dead bees with every bucket, but feel that most are killed by poking them with the nozzle. The bees slide out of the buckets easily when dumping them into a hive. I can do a few jobs a day and drive home with a load of ventilated buckets. Works great.
I wish I could find the old vac that worked well for me, so I could look at the hose and the arrangment and figure out why it worked. The smooth hose might be part of it. I'll have to look for one. The foam also might help. You can here them hit. I guess I still prefer weakening them with the cone and then you could just brush the clump of bees off every day until you have most of them without putting them through the trauma of the vacumn.
I have a question about the bee vac. I built one from the plans from this sight and it does work great, as mentioned above.
My question is does anyone know of a battery powered vacuum that could be used on one? I have removed feral hives from trees where there was no electricity, and a bee-vac that is battery powered would have been helpful.
There used to be one in my van (when it was new before I bought it). I assume a place that sells conversion van equipment or an RV place might have 12 volt ones. You can buy small 12 volt rechargable gel batteries that you could mount somewhere, or use an old car battery, depending on where you want the weight of the battey and how much weight you want to put up with.
I think weight would be the biggest problem. You would need a dc to ac converter, but that probably would not be a problem. Any RV place should have one. I guess you could make one too. Never really thought about it. But all in all, you will need a strong battery, with alot of amps, because you will need at least 15 amps @ 120v after the conversion is made. You would need at the very least about 12v 200 amps to get it to run, and then how long do you want it to run... Details detailss!!!
DC motors work as well as AC motors. I know they make 12 volt DC vacs, I'm just not sure how big. Since my biggest problem with bee vacs is not having them too strong, I would think you could take a small one and convert it. Just use a hose to a five gallon bucket or build the moter and all into the lid of a five gallon bucket.
They may even make a regular size one for 12 volt.