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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    584

    Default First cut-out: some things went well, and others did not

    Yesterday was my first cut-out. At the end of the day the bee vacuum almost worked, I almost had enough buckets, and generally, things went almost like I wanted them to. Most of the trouble I had was due to lack of experience, as opposed to any real problem. I do have a few questions for those more experience than I am. My biggest problem was the bee vacuum. its a brushkill copy and It seems clear that I need to seal the box seams. There almost no suction at the end of teh suction hose and the bees didn;t care about it one bit. Fortunately, one of the guys that works at the building lived close and got a much larger shop vac. this one, though way bigger than one should ever need, provided just enough suction to pull bees in if they were bumped a little bit by the hose. This worked great for a little while, then we lost suction. The bees clogged up in the suction hose (30' piece of 2" pool hose with a smooth bore) and it became pretty useless. Is this a problem for others? I think it started to clog as i was cutting out comb and honey began making a mess. My plan was to suck bees off one side of comb, cut it, then suck bees off back side of comb, thn lower comb out of hive. perhaps there is a problem with that method.

    At any rate, i got 10 deep frames full of brood, almost all capped, and half a bucket full of brood comb that didn't fint into the box. I suspect I did not get the queen, as she would have likely been on brood comb and i had no vacuum by the time i got to that part of the hive. To remove the bees at that point, i used a straigh bucket vac and felt bad for the poor bees getting banged around, but it was either try to suck them up, or spray them. not very many survived the straight bucket vac.

    That's a quick rundown of my experience. Any thoughts or criticisms are very welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Lynchburg, Virginia
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: First cut-out: some things went well, and others did not

    Congrats on the cut-out! I just use the bee-vac on guard bees, foragers, and for final clean up. The bees on the combs (usually just nurse bees) I leave alone, cutting the comb out with them on it, putting it in frames with them on it, and putting the frames in my box with them on it, because they don't cause a problem for me and they help keep the brood and eggs at the right temperature while the cut-comb sits in the box. In addition, I really like getting the queen into a cage and if you suck down bees indiscriminately you'll either (best case) suck her into the vac or (worst case) kill her.

    I don't really see a need for the vac except for to get any bees that get agitated and to get the remaining clumps of bees up. Once you start sucking down wax and honey with your vac you have already made a big mistake, IMO.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: First cut-out: some things went well, and others did not

    Ill have to post pics of the vac i just built for my first cutout i did 2 weeks ago.

    Basic design was a copy of this with some of my own mods



    The middle frame with the slide out 1/8th mesh i just replaced with 3/4" frame with window screen stapled to it. Top and bot were basicly as shown (although i did not cut up a deep box to build my sides, just screwed together some 1x)

    Bottom box has ramp in it, the bottom hole has no screen, instead it has a rotating sq like the vac adjust hole on the top.
    Bottom hole was to bees, top hole was to standard shopvac.
    Deep box inbetween was full of drawn comb so the bees had something to climb on/hold on to.

    I was not happy with the suction amount i had with the boxes all strapped together (i did not use any kind of door seal gasket between the vac parts) So at the site i duct taped the seem at the top and bottom and that sealed it up enough that i could use the vac adjust sq on the top between a fairly hefty stuck at full close and nothing at half open. I ran my with about 3/4" of hole showing which was enough to suck most bees off the comb although you had to help some with the vac nozzle.

    I had maybe 50 dead bees in the box and i think most of those were ones my buddy was vacuuming off the ground in the room. (he wanted to vac up EVER last bee!)

    <edit>

    OH i use "standard" 2.25" shopvac hose. not the little cheep 1" hose they seem to include in virtually all the shop vacs these days.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,659

    Default Re: First cut-out: some things went well, and others did not

    Air gaps and subsequent loss of suction is a problem. In building the vac box, make sure to glue all the edges before glueing. If (in your case) it is already assembled, you can still use glue to seal all the seams like you would caulk.
    Duct tape all of the components together which will help a lot. Shorten the length of your suction hose. The longer the length the more dead bees you will get. I run mine about 12' long, but my vac (unattached from the vac box) has a 20' hose. I can place the vac in another room or a distance away. Quiet as all get out that way.
    Most loss, like in schmism's vac box, will come from the screen divider. Painter's tape works well to seal the screen to the frame. I still use the 1 1/2" pool hose.
    Built this one 3 years ago.

    0708141548.jpg0708141549.jpg0708141550.jpg

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    584

    Default Re: First cut-out: some things went well, and others did not

    thanks for the picture and advice. I think things will go a bit more smoothly on my second cut-out.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    knoxville, tn
    Posts
    647

    Default Re: First cut-out: some things went well, and others did not

    Put foam weather stripping on the box edges, this will make a good seal and keep them from sliding around.

    Dump the 30' pool hose, use a 2 1/2" shop vac hose in the shortest length possible (you can always put two together). Most of them are in 6 or 8 foot sections. If you suck up nectar and honey, stop, wash out the hose to keep from rolling the bees in the sticky mess. They can handle a little water much better than a little honey. I almost always use the crevice tool on the end of the hose and take it off to wash the sticky out of often (this will also give the bees just a little moisture). Stay away from combs of fresh nectar, you will suck it right out of the combs. I have found that sucking big clumps of bees will clog even the 2 1/2" hose if not careful, take your time and vac few bees at a time.

    Only enough suction to barely get the bees into the hose. If it sounds like you are sucking up rocks from the driveway........dead bees!

    If you still do not have any suction then light your smoker and puff around the edges of the boxes.

    You will need to play with the adjustable gate to the desired suction.

    If you have cut the groove for the sliding top a little too big and even if you did not, take some bees wax and rub the edges of the sliding top where they run in the groove until coated well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    knoxville, tn
    Posts
    647

    Default Re: First cut-out: some things went well, and others did not

    Here is what I made. The only upgrade would be to use a propolis trap instead of the no. 8 hardware cloth in the shim. I personally do not use the shim because of rolling he bees that are holding onto the bottom of it.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: First cut-out: some things went well, and others did not

    G3- Thanks so much for making and posting the very informative video. Fantastic!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: First cut-out: some things went well, and others did not

    Quote Originally Posted by G3farms View Post
    Here is what I made. The only upgrade would be to use a propolis trap instead of the no. 8 hardware cloth in the shim. I personally do not use the shim because of rolling he bees that are holding onto the bottom of it.


    Now I want to build one!!!! Thank!!! ;-)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    knoxville, tn
    Posts
    647

    Default Re: First cut-out: some things went well, and others did not

    You all are more than welcome. I just do not think there is a better vac design.
    All of the credit goes to Rob at Bushkill Bee Blog for the creation of it.

    The ones made out of five gallon buckets seems like it could overheat if the sun got on it too much. The box in a box design just seems like too much extra added stress on the bees because you have to shake them out after having already been vacuumed up.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,659

    Default Re: First cut-out: some things went well, and others did not

    0608141119.jpg

    This design is about a simple as it gets with minimal air leaks. Just remove the top section, add your cutout brood comb super(s) from the removal above the screen section, install your inner cover and outer cover and pull the screen section out a couple of inches. The bees will immediately start moving up. The next day set the new hive on a bottom board and remove the vac box.
    The suction adjustment is on the back side of the top section.
    Typically the vac box does not have frames in it.

  12. #12

    Default Re: First cut-out: some things went well, and others did not

    I normally run a 10' but when I need it longer a one I add one more length.

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