I've been playing around with an idea for making a bee vac out of a five gallon plastic bucket. My idea is to go to staples and buy one of those mesh trash cans. Line this with window screening or small sized hardware cloth. Drill holes in the side of the five gallon bucket to put support rods through for the trash bin to sit on. The rods should be high enough that the trash bin is snugly wedged between the rests and the lid of the bucket, when closed. Now, drill a hole in the top of the bucket and melt your hose to the lid with a blow torch. Do the same near the bottom of the bucket, below the trash bin (may need to be a bucket larger than 5 gal depending on the size of the trash bin). The hose at the bottom will connect to a shop vac. With the large surface area for air to pass through in the "bee cage," I don't think bees will get squished agains the sides of the trash bin. My question is, where to the bees get quished if they do, in the container or in the hose they come in through? If the answer was the hose, I would have to drill holes in the side of the bucket to reduce the force of the pull though the hose.
Any suggestions before I experiment this spring and possibly kill some bees?
I am thinking of using the bee vac when harvesting honey instead of blowing the bees out of the supers to reduce the numbers of lost bees (mainly nurse bees who have not yet taken orientation flights -- and who are also the ones who actually to the packing of honey into the supers and the capping/wax secretion, etc.
I am also thinking of making a square funnel that will rest in a super. The funnel will have the same width bottom opening as the hole in a bee package, and I will have a stack as follows: two empty deeps, the funnel with bee cage at bottom, an empty shallow (so the bees don't zing off the side of the funnel!), and then the super I will be extracting. I will then blow the bees down through the funnel and into the cage to be returned to their hive, or to use for a split (hmmm just give them a frame of eggs....). This will eliminate the issue of the air being thick with bees while I rob honey. Besides, who needs overcrowded hives right after the honey flow is over? We all know this leads to swarming. Possibilities abound...
I should get some interesting responses here!