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Very new to beekeeping and I'll be doing my first cut out in the spring. I was planning on making one of the 5 gallon bucket vacuums I've seen many videos of on youtube, however I watched a video last nite where a guy had a vacuum with probably 3 times the space of 5 gallon bucket and he plugged it full of bees before he could finish the job. Is that common? Should I plan for something bigger than a 5 gal bucket to be on the safe side?

The cut out I'll be doing is 3 stories up, in the wall of my friends apartment bldg. It's been there for years so I'm expecting something on the large size. The bees are coming and going through multiple entrances in the caulk between siding and bricks.
 

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You might consider a Bushkill/Robo vac which is much healthier for large swarms and which you can expand with more boxes as you vacuum up the bees.
 

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2nd that too. If you do choose a bucket style. Make sure you roughen up the inside walls of the bucket...also give them strutcure to crawl on. If you don't do this the bees will pile up on eachother and cookthemselves to death from body heat.
 

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I did my first second and third cut out this summer using a bee vac that I made, and the biggest thing I will tell you is be able the turn the vacuum down or you will kill a lot of your bees as I did. The less the better, just enough to pick them up. Good luck
 

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I too would recommend a bushkill style vac. You can make it as big as you need, vac them up, screen the holes and take them home. I built my own and wouldn't trade it for any other kind. Gives the bees frames to cling to and airflow to keep them cool.
 

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Most vacs have to small a space for the bees to drop out of the air flow before they slam into something hard. The air flow pattern should have 180 degree change in direction before it leaves the box. Most have to high a vacuum pressure and the bees are thrown into the box at to high a speed. Most of them also have a flexible suction tube from a shop vacuum instead of a smooth bore plastic tube. All these things kill bees. Most beeks run the vac at to high a pressure becasue they are in a hury to get the bees in the box. If you want to keep the bees alive the vac should just barely pull them off of the comb.
The Bushkill vac is one of the best on the market. It can be improved by removing the slanted landing board and replacing it with a cloth shop towel, the cloth is much easier on the bees and it tends to absorb some of the honey that the bees are carrying.. They don't end up on the bottom of the box in a wet gooey mess.
Regards
Joe
 

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I really like the bushkill design and will probably build one sometime or other, but in the mean time I use a 5 gallon bucket. Mine is really simple. Standard shop vac that has suction hose going into a hole on the top of the bucket lid. Attached a screen on the bottom of the bucket lid that looks like a funnel to keep bees away from where the shop vacuum hose attaches. Have a hole in the side of the bucket where my suction hose attaches. I use a 20 foot hose and have another 10 foot section I can add on (never tried that much yet). Another piece of screen is standing vertically in the bucket and I lay a piece of cloth on the bottom and up on the side of the screen facing the hole to soften their landing. I have 4 holes cut in the side that are 3 inch diameter and are covered with screen as well. I tape over these with painter's tape when vacuuming and just pull a small piece of the reduce suction. After playing a little I know how much to cover and still have enough suction to pull in bees.

When the bucket is full, I just yank of the tape over the holes and spray a few mists of water on the bees. So far they have been good to go with very little mortality after the first two cut outs.

I have seen a bucket design where the bottom of the bucket is almost all screen with a vent to adjust suction like on the bushkill. This bucket is dropped into another bucket when in use to create a sealed container. Just pull apart buckets and set it down when you are full and the bees have lots of breathing room.

I have a shop vac, get 5 gallon hydraulic fluid buckets at work for free :)eek: - nothing a little dawn detergent will not clean out). I can rig a new bucket in about 10 minutes. I can have 5 or 6 laying around. If I ever find something where I need more than that many buckets - Yike I am going to be happy.

Biggest negative about my set up is even when you band the comb into frames and move to your hive location, dumping those bees makes an impressive cloud of unhappy campers. Just make sure you have your suit on right. But they settle in around the comb and set up camp so far 100% success.
 
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