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I built one of these, 0 power tools other than a hand drill.

http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/bee-vac/

and it's awesome. I used an old electric leaf blower as the source of vacuum, mounted it right to the top.

Suck 'em right into the hive body, then go put it on a bottom board, add a lid, and done.
 

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Ditto on the RoboVac...great design. But, for swarm capturing vacuums aren't necessarily needed...I've caught 5-6 swarms but haven't needed a vacuum. They are fairly easy to manage without a vac. I guess for cleaning up a few stragglers or getting a swarm from a hard to get to place it might be handy. Have you experienced a swarm capture before? If you haven't already done so, I would suggest you check out some youtube videos of swarm captures....excellent instructionals. :)

Best wishes,
Ed
 

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I haven't found a better bee vac than the Owens Bee Vac from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. Been using it for 2 years and I love it and have never had a problem with it.
 

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Murphy says, "Just when you don't bring the vac, you'll find one like this." :)

swarm.jpg
 

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Exactly. I always pack my bee vac for swarms. You just never know. Poor friend of mine tried to collect one from the point of a tent that couldn't collapse or bounce. He actually got stung in the face a couple times.

Oh, and collecting swarms at night is even easier than the day time, for what it's worth, though they may not be around if you wait too long.

rob
www.mongrelbees.com
 

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Murphy says, "Just when you don't bring the vac, you'll find one like this." :)

View attachment 5015
Nothing hard about that catch without a vacuum.

Set a hive with it's entrance right at the bottom of the swarm so it's touching the upright post on the right.

A couple of drops of lemongrass oil in the hive. Scoop a few handfuls of bees into the hive top with your bare hands to get the bees started.

Put the lid on and watch them march right into the hive. Come back after dark to collect them.


I own several beevacs for cutouts but don't ever use them on swarms, swarms are easy.

Nothing funner than watching a swarm march into their new home. Pretty sure the girls are thrilled.




Don
 

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Well, apparently some do use vacs for swarms. I'm like DSemple - I use them only for cutouts. Swarms get handled, literally. I scoop them up a bit at a time and put the into the waiting box while searching for the queen. If I find her, I cage her in a clip catcher and rubber band the clip to a frame. Then close it up and wait until dark.

Oh, almost forgot: for the OP - I recommend the robovac. Just don't paint the sliding lid or get paint in the grooves for the sliding lid.

-js
 

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I admit I do use vacs for swarms cause I'm putting them right into a hive (robo design) and I don't want to come back. Only reason I won't use a vac is if I can't (if it's 25ft up, then it's a 5 gallon water bottle on a pole).

I admit though that march straight in thing is awesome. I will try that at some point.
 

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Yeah...I know. Not the best, but schedules are tough in the evenings to return, so if it's the difference between a free hive and not a free hive, I'm getting me some bees.
 

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Well, apparently some do use vacs for swarms. I'm like DSemple - I use them only for cutouts. Swarms get handled, literally. I scoop them up a bit at a time and put the into the waiting box while searching for the queen. If I find her, I cage her in a clip catcher and rubber band the clip to a frame. Then close it up and wait until dark.

Oh, almost forgot: for the OP - I recommend the robovac. Just don't paint the sliding lid or get paint in the grooves for the sliding lid.

-js
Same here. Picking up a large bare handful of swarm bees is a feeling like none other. All these plump little bees being scooped up is really a treat to experience. It is about the only, "warm & fuzzy" I get about beekeeping. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy what I'm doing but, I don't use it as my, "get back to nature/hectic stress reliever".
I suspect those in AHB areas will go about swarm collecting with more care as required.
As for a vacuum I've built one similar to the popular one posted here except the middle box I use is a 10 frame brood box. I also pull the vacuum from the bottom with the hose going on top. I don't know what, if any, difference this makes. When I do a cut out that requires a vacuum they go right into a hive body with comb. It is a one shot manipulation of the bees.
I strongly recommend trying the hive body as an integral part of the 3 piece vacuum. For the top & bottom "chambers" I use some self adhesive foam weather strip tape. Just make sure to put that bleed off, "valve" as part of the system so you don't kill a ton of bees-just enough vacuum to move the bees but not so little that you get more PO'd than vacuumed up. I made my valve by drilling a 2" hole and putting screen on the inside to cover this hole. On the outside I made a square, sliding, valve with a piece of masonite about 3". This square piece slides in a 3 sided "frame" I made with the same material using 3 sections of 1/2" X 3 1/4" stapled/glued to the chamber for the bottom & two sides and 3 pieces of 1" X 3 1/4" placed right on top of those attached to the chamber. This gave me a space the same thickness of the square valve for it to slide up & down in and allowed 1/2'' overlap to secure it. I drilled a finger hole in the valve and added a screw to the chamber to keep the valve from being able to fall out & get lost.
It cost about zero with a little scrounging and I use a $1.00 garage sale vacuum which I may have overpaid for.
Another thing I've found to be handy is an extra battery and inverter so I can go anywhere and have 110 volt A/C power.
Good luck-it is about the easiest DIY bee project out there.
 

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I use the same system as Challenger with great success except I have a square piece of sheet metal on a single off center screw over the "exhaust port" to regulate the vacuum velocity. It is very convenient to bring the deep back to the bee yard, put it on a BB and add an OC and you'r done for the day. With a 20 foot hose I can put the vac on the ground and climb a ladder with the nozzle. I also commonly use the bottomless five gallon water bottle on a painter's pole.

Steve
 

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Don't forget-the best time to treat for mites is as soon as you bring them back.
I use a home made formic treatment consisting of 3" X 6" meat pads with 10ml of 50% solution per pad. Each pad treats 5 frames of bees in a ,"flash" method.
All the phoretic mites are killed so it's a fresh start.
 

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Murphy says, "Just when you don't bring the vac, you'll find one like this." :)
As a professional landscape plumber that valve manifold makes me cringe. Must have been built by a hydronic boiler plumber. Lot of money wasted and items plumbed in the wrong order.
 

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I built mine out of 1/2 ply pretty simple and I used the basic ideas from others I saw on the net. I put a window in mine so I could see how the bees are doing while they are getting sucked in, also has a adjustable flow valve on the side. its agreeable that the vac is not the best way to gather the bees up but some times its the ONLY way to get to them. I did a cut out a few weeks back, the hive was in between the celling and the roof and about 4 foot in from the fascia. I had to cut the comb out with a putty knife taped to a broom handel. after it was all said and done I had 3 2' extension hooked up to get the bees vacuumed up. After I have all the comb setup in the frames I set the box on top and slide the lid out :)




 
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