Re: First hive extraction - problems?
A properly used vac does very little harm, but it's easy to not properly use one. Monitor the suction carefully and frequently. It should just barely pull the bees off the combs. If you find yourself wanting to turn it up to speed things along you're in the right range . I use a cheap router speed control to fine-tune the vac; the controller clips to my belt. My vac is one I made and it uses smooth-walled milk suction tubing, but I vacced with corrugated for years and the only problem I had was if the hose had a low spot bees would clump.
Monitor as you go along because as the cages fill with bees, the suction dynamics change in a beevac (typically lessening suction).
Also, vacs can get hot inside, fast. Once you turn off the vacuum the clock is ticking. I leave mine running anytime bees are in it as they can overheat quickly. As soon as I'm done (or a cage is full) I remove the cage, mist it with water and put in the shade. This overheating can seriously stress a vac full of bees and you'll get deadies later.
Also, and this one's a heartbreaker, but so many times I've cut out a colony for a homeowner who doesn't tell me this, but it's clear that they've tried to kill the colony by spraying Raid into the entrance . Naturally this didn't work, but many cutout colonies have been poisoned and THEN they call the beekeeper, all solicitous about the health of the bees . These colonies are hard to rehabilitate, and is one of the reasons I don't bring comb along when re-hiving (except enough brood to anchor them).
Bees, brews and fun
in Lyons, CO