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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had a swarm last year get quite tangled on a fence and some vine. Used my "Bushkill Bee Vac" with great success, and that entire swarm is still doing well >1yr later.

YESTERDAY late afternoon, found another swarm roughly in the same place. The overall Bee vac experience was far less successful with lots of dead bees (though I think I have the queen successfully hived).

I ended up with a "clog" of bees in the hose - using the weakest suction that I could get, and wouldn't clear even with greater pressure. Got to night time - and tried to tap and blow out what I could, and ultimately left the hose hoping they'd crawl back into the new hive. By this AM - lots of dead workers.

Anyone have smooth hose options? Any other ideas about how to manage? This was a 6' rigid W/D Vac with the usual hose.

Thanks all!
 

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Anyone have smooth hose options? Any other ideas about how to manage? This was a 6' rigid W/D Vac with the usual hose.
By "usual hose" do you mean about 2¼" O.D. flexible corrugated hose that is referred to by Shop Vac and perhaps others as "2½ inch hose"?
 

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I believe that the physics related to the friction and resulting slower speed of air flow along the sides of the corrugated hose relative to the faster (and thus higher total volume of air) moving through the center of the hose actually results in less harm to the bees in corrugated hose than smooth hose. Sticks or twigs are likely a different matter. Bees that have been smoked prior to vacuuming or that become overheated after vacuuming don't do as well, in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I believe that the physics related to the friction and resulting slower speed of air flow along the sides of the corrugated hose relative to the faster (and thus higher total volume of air) moving through the center of the hose actually results in less harm to the bees in corrugated hose than smooth hose. Sticks or twigs are likely a different matter. Bees that have been smoked prior to vacuuming or that become overheated after vacuuming don't do as well, in my experience.
Great point - makes sense. I don't think I got a stick in there, but thats certainly possible. Push comes to shove, I'll use it again, just hadnt had that issue before and it worked so well last year. I havent seen one of these "nicely loose on a low tree branch" swarms.

Need more traps built - I swore that was going to be a winter project, and never did....
 

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Why are you using a vacuum on a swarm?
They are looking for a new home with some place for the Queen to lay eggs.
I just use drawn comb. Take a dark drawn frame and place up beside or in the swarm and they will move right on to it.
When the frame is covered move it to the box you intend to move them in and move said box as close to the swarm as possible.
If the queen is on the frame they will start fanning. If so give the bush a good shack and in joy the thrill.
 

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Why are you using a vacuum on a swarm?
They are looking for a new home with some place for the Queen to lay eggs.
I just use drawn comb. Take a dark drawn frame and place up beside or in the swarm and they will move right on to it.
When the frame is covered move it to the box you intend to move them in and move said box as close to the swarm as possible.
If the queen is on the frame they will start fanning. If so give the bush a good shack and in joy the thrill.
This is a fantastic idea, and I'd never thought of that!... but like many of us... just getting started, we don't have any drawn comb... I'm just going into my second season with 2 overwintered hives that made it through... i have two hives that didn't make it, so this year I will have some frames to use... last year I had a swarm on a morning glory bush on the ground. I swept them up but had horrible clogging problems and killed many of the bees. The queen survived and they rebounded nicely tho... But I've been looking for a smooth bored vacuum hose since.
 

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Why are you using a vacuum on a swarm?
A nice clump hanging on a branch is an easy catch, no vacuum needed. I recently removed a swarm from an oak tree covered in english ivy. I spent approximately half an hour with a paint brush digging the bees out of the vines and into a dishpan which I then dumped into a nuc full of drawn comb. It was a successful capture but a vac would have made rhe job much easier.
 

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A nice clump hanging on a branch is an easy catch, no vacuum needed. I recently removed a swarm from an oak tree covered in english ivy. I spent approximately half an hour with a paint brush digging the bees out of the vines and into a dishpan which I then dumped into a nuc full of drawn comb. It was a successful capture but a vac would have made rhe job much easier.
Dounds like a hassle. If this should happen again, try a frame of open brood - works like a bee-magnet. Put it in place and walk away - come back in half an hour, and put 'em in a box either on the ground or on a step-ladder - the rest will follow in due course. We 'moderns' seem to have forgotten all about 'the old ways'. :)
LJ

PS - I made a Bee Vac a few years ago - encouraged a couple of hives to swarm in order to test it out - have never used it since. If anybody out there is passing by Boston, UK - it could be yours, as it's only collecting dust now.
 

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I have successfully used little john's method many times on ground swarms where the bees are all tangled up in long grass.
A few handfulls of bees in the box and the bees are fanning on the landing board in moments.
A few puffs of smoke will sometimes get them moving.
 
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