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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Ridgway, PA, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Did a Bad, Bad Thing!

    Hello all,
    Today is a day of remorse and some self loathing. I did a bee removal yesterday, my first ever. My friend and I put up the scaffolding, borrowed a bee vac and got the new hive ready. We spent four hours carefully getting all the bees, comb and brood out. I twice checked the bees in the vac and they were collecting fast, but were doing well. It was hot and sweaty, but a success...or so I thought.

    After we were all done, I carried down the bee vac and decided to check my bounty before we cleaned up and that is when I noticed something was terribly wrong. While sucking up bees in and around the combs, I must have sucked up too much honey and covered the bees, essentially drowning 95% of the bees I then went to rubber band the comb and brood into empty frames and found that they now turned into one glob! I had them in the shade all day, but it must have been warmer than i thought.

    This morning, I dumped the dead bees into a shoe box and filled it to the top!!!!! I murdered approximately 8 pounds of very strong and productive bees.

    I know what I did wrong and it was just stupidity and lack of experience on my part.

    Joe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pickens, SC, USA
    Posts
    233

    Default

    Been there... done that... it makes you feel sick .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Default

    It's sad for the bees. But at least you got paid for the job so it wasn't a total waste, beyond the experience factor.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default

    Probably the reason they are covered in honey is that they overheated. When the bees overheat (which they often do with bee vacs) they regurgitate honey and that's why you have the sticky mess. It's actually the heat that kills them. The regurgitation is a reaction to the heat, apparently in an attempt to cool them off.

    I've made the same mistake. That's why I quit using bee vacs except in very specific situations. I much prefer to just do the cut out and rely on the brood and or queen to get them to move into the new hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Hillsboro,Ohio
    Posts
    193

    Default

    I did the samething with my one and only attempt with a vac. It made me sick when I opened up the vac to see all of the dead bees. Next year, I might try another one but I like to try to lure them out with the queen and brood. There are some nice ones out there but they cost too much for me. I would like to build one if I can find the time to do it.
    life is like a box of chocolates,you never know what you are gonna get

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Syracuse, NY (upstate)
    Posts
    247

    Default Same experience here too.

    I have taken some corrective measures since my first attempt:

    While Michael Bush knows a lot, my experience is that the majority of honey on the bees comes from sucking up honey off the broken comb. Here is my approach which works well now.

    1) setup new hive with about 3 frames of drawn comb for bees to cluster on (works better than foundation).

    2) brush as many bees into a 5-gallon bucket as possible from the exterior of the comb. Don't start cutting comb yet. Some water or THIN sugar water LIGHTLY sprayed on the bees before brushing will reduce the number taking flight.

    3) Dump the bees into the new hive onto the drawn comb. Cover with a screened inner cover so there is plenty of ventilation.

    4) Keep new hive in shade.

    5) Vaccum up bees on the exposed comb. Empty bee vaccum into new hive. Don't start cutting yet.

    6) Cut off the closest comb and wire/tie into an empty frame (swarm catching / hinged removal frames work best. See plans on this site). Place immediately into new hive.

    7) Brush bees off comb into bucket and dump into new hive.

    8) Vaccum again. Dump bees into new hive.

    9) Cut off next section of comb and put into frames. Put frames into hive.

    10) Brush next batch of bees into bucket and dump into hive.

    Keep repeating this process until you finish.s

    Some tips:

    A) Keep LOTS of luke-warm water around to clean tools, vac, bucket and yourself as you go. Don't let the honey build up on everything.

    B) Have a shallow pan / wash tub and some large piece of #8 hardware cloth to clean off bees. I rinse any bees stuck in the 5-gallon bucket or in the bee vac into the wash tub and immediately scoop out with the hardware cloth. Dump these bees into the new hive.

    See my other post on this subject:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222224


    -Eric
    Last edited by ekrouse; 09-16-2008 at 03:15 AM. Reason: Additional information

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default

    Certainly some honey may get sucked up. But if you take dry bees and shake them into anything and let them overheat you will get that familiar sticky mess from bees regurgitating honey. Once you've seen that you'll realize the honey you suck up is not required to make them all sticky.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oxford, Kansas
    Posts
    1,988

    Default

    if your sucking honey up into the vac you may have the suction set to high on the vac which will kill or injure bees. When I vac bees I never have trouble with honey getting into the box. I will get a little bit in the first foot or so of the hose at times. when this happens I either clean it or switch to a spare hose. The suction should be set where the bee just barly cant fly against the suction of the end of the hose. use a smooth 2" hose with the end reduced down using a cone to 3/4 of an inch. Use caution on where you vac the bees. try to avoid areas that have open nectar. I use a vac based on Iddees design Dead bees or honey in the box have never been a problem.

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