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  1. #1

    Default Vacuum bee killer question..

    I used my Kelly bee vac for a swarm up in a tree the other day, filled up both boxes and had about 3 pounds total of bees, I didnt notice many dead till i dumped them into a hive, I'm guessing way over half of them were dead, I kept them in a cool place for about 2 hours til I could get them home..is this kill rate normal with bee vacs?
    Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms should be a convenience store not a government agency

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Cleveland, Texas
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    Default

    Definately not. You probably had it set with too strong a suction. The suction should be set to where there is a bit of a "struggle" before the bees get pulled in. When I use my vac, I typically have no more than 10-15 dead bees. I also prefer not to use it on swarms, I usually just drop them into a box.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    Lightbulb

    If the pressure is too high it will kill a lot of bees. The bees take a wild ride down the tube bouncing off the inner walls then hitting the collection box. Some of the damage to the bees will take a few days to kill them, you won't really know how many bees you kill until you can observe the dead in front of the hive, then you have to take into consideration the ones that flew off to die.

    One of my earlier mistakes was sucking up a swarm that would not stay in the nuc box. It was a very hot day, over 1oo, the bees were on the sunny side of a brown steel building. After repeated attempts of brushing and scooping them into a box and failing I decided to suck them up. There were way to many in the collection box and by the time I got home all I had was a wet, sticky ball of dead bees.

    When using a vac keep the hose as short as possible,
    use the type of hose with no ribbing on the inside,
    keep the hose as straight as possible,
    set the air volume to barely pull the bees off the comb,
    a small one inch end on a two inch hose works best,
    remove the screened catch box from the vac as soon a possible,
    and never use a vac unless all else fails for a swarm.

    When catching a swarm, cutting branches, knocking them off a branch, scooping, brushing, or enticing them into a box with attractant are all preferred ways to catch swarms. I haven't used my vac for a swarm since I killed that big one years ago.
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  4. #4

    Default

    The instructions said you could add a 10' section of 1' pvc to it to reach bees in a tree..so that's what I did..it has 2 vent holes in the top, cover one to increase the strength, I left them both open.
    Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms should be a convenience store not a government agency

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
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    Default

    Probably packed to many bees in the box as well. My box is larger than a medium hive body and I never even approach filling it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Cleveland, Texas
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    Default

    What sort of "shock absorber" does it have at the back of the box. I use a peice of that "egg crate" looking memory foam stuff that they put on old folks beds to keep them from getting bed sores. It seems to give them a very soft landing as they tumble into the box. Also remember that if they are up pretty high, you have a gravitational component that will accelerate them as well, so you may need to consider elevating the box a much as you can too.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  7. #7

    Default

    Its the one that Kelley sells, it has some carpet padding in it I think..
    Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms should be a convenience store not a government agency

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
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    Default

    Watch for overheating after vac'ing.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Greenville, TX, USA
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    Default

    I also found that the catch box should have areas that are out of the vacuum stream. I changed mine from all screen to mostly wood with a small screened area at the front near the inlet to pass the vacuum stream. This gives the bees some peace after they get into the box instead of being continually sucked against the screens. They seem to be less stressed this way.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Kirkland, WA, USA
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    Default

    I have a mesh strainer (like the soft mesh kitchen strainers) at the bottom of mine, and when the suction is right I kill very few bees. I set it so that it will barely pull them off the comb. There's actually excellent suction at the nose of the jug, so I learned that it's sometimes possible to vacuum them without the hose at all. As Ross said there should be "vacuum free" areas, and I usually see them clustering at the edges. It takes longer to vaccum them up this way but I wind up with more live bees.
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Cleveland, Texas
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    Default

    I did not use the vac on the last removal I did. Just used water misting and shaking the bees into a shaker cage. When ever there was a large cluster I would just mist them a little and scoop them into a plastic cup and dump them into the cage. The removal went much faster and the bees were much less agitated making for a much more pleasant experience, also had basically zero kills. I think the vac tends to "blast" a lot of alarm pheromone into the surrounding area and the bees definitely respond. I am changing my thinking and probably from now on the vac will only be used in extremely tight quarters and to clean up the last few stragglers.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    5,159
    Quote Originally Posted by Gene Weitzel View Post
    I am changing my thinking and probably from now on the vac will only be used in extremely tight quarters and to clean up the last few stragglers.
    Another convert! Congratulations!
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Greenville, TX, USA
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    Default

    Yep, I save my vac for hot cutouts that are trying to kill me. Then I don't really care how many I kill.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Greensboro, N.C.
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    Default

    I guess if you can't master it, it's best to leave it alone. The last vac job I did had fewer than 10 dead bees. I used queen cells to start 3 nucs and a deep hive. A 9 y/o girl and her 11 year old sister watched and took pictures from 6 feet away. Neither got stung. A properly built and correctly used vac is a remover's best friend. Any equip. made or used wrong is a catastrophe.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Hays, Kansas, USA
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    Default

    Iddee,
    My brother must have the vac process down like you. He pulled a swarm from a tree two weeks ago. The owner didn't want the branch cut and the swarm was only 6' or 7' off the ground. In the end, there were a few dead bees, maybe 50 from this large swarm. Most all of the dead were in the one catch box that isn't padded well. We typically don't vac unless the situation calls for it. We placed a hive body with used drawn frames right under the branch, but didn't have lure handy. They didn't seem interested in it at all, so out came the vac to get the job done ASAP making the property owner happy.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Buda, Texas
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    Default

    <A properly built and correctly used vac is a remover's best friend. Any equip. made or used wrong is a catastrophe.

    Ditto. Best thing since sliced bread. I made my own and was able to make it work exactly the way I want it to; maybe the commercially available ones aren't as user-friendly. Mine looks kinda like iddee's, come to think of it.
    "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. " John 10:11

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Asheville, NC
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    Default

    I just finished making my bee vac, Here are some pics

    Bee vacuum


    Hose used to vacuum up bees.



    Inside where bees are collected, hopefully alive!



    removable collection box.



    bottom of collection box where you remove the tape and the screen and let the bees out into the hive you want them in instead of the Wall of the house.



    Inside of bee vacuum box.

    When your ship comes in, make sure you are willing to unload it.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    232

    Default

    I need to get some egg foam for the back of the bee container, and the suction I have at the end of the hose is pretty weak but I think just about right.

    I'll have to try it out an let you know how it goes.

    I have a cut out of a wall of a house I'm gonna do on the 14th of May 2008, so I'll let you know.
    When your ship comes in, make sure you are willing to unload it.

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