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I recieved an unexpected call last week from a lady with honeybees in her house. It was an hour or so away so I drove up with my father in law last Sunday. Sure enough they had honey bees coming and going from a gap in the house siding between the first and second floor exterior. I put on my bee suit lit my smoker and went up a ladder to examine more closely. Luckily I had a roof to stand on while i removed some siding and sheeting with a sawzall and flat bar. I was able to expose the face of the whole nest, which was about 4 feet long and about 8 inches thick. It was typical honey brood honey layout. I saw many queen cells which I opened. Most were empty but I did find one with a well developed white nymph. I carefully rubber banded sections of comb that I cut to size with a utility knife into deep foundationless frames. I ended up with 11 of these and a few wal-mart bags of honey comb. I tried to brush piles of clumped bees into two nuc boxes with the old comb to pretty much no avail. This experience was quite exhilirating and I enjoyed helping this family remove a problem from their lives. They had little ones and the bees were getting inside their house and making outside enjoyment a little less enjoyable. Still these nice people had lived with these little critters for over 2 years and I thought it was so nice that they would rather have a beekeeper come and remove the bees humanely instead of chemically attacking them and poisoning their own house. My biggest take away was that I need to put together some sort of bee vac. I looked at some plans on here and will be putting something together soon. As a kicker, I opened up the bags of honey comb the next day after work to see about crushing and straining out some honey and as I lay out the comb on my back deck on wax paper, what do I spot but an unmated virgin queen crawling around all covered in honey. I put her in a box with foundation and one old comb and left her with some stray bees that were congregating in my trailer that I hauled them home with. Last night I pulled the trailer to one of my apiaries and when I got there I could not find her anywhere since the light was getting low. It was probably for the best anyway because I really had no where to put here and not much extra resources to pull from. If I had found her my plan was to give her a frame or two of bees and brood to see if I could get her going because I really wanted to mix her genetics into my bees since they had been going for at least 2 years untreated. I left the trailer open at the apiary. Do you think there is any chance she will try to fight her way into one of my hives or is she most likely doomed? IMG_1955.jpg
 

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Being covered in honey is probably a death sentence since the honey plugs up the breathing spiracles. I would have left queen cells alone and let them raise a new queen.
We do a fair number of cut outs and we have made several different bee vacs. The design I am happiest with is a wooden box the same dimensions of a deep box. I put a groove (saw kerf width) about an inch up from the bottom about 1/4 inch deep all around three sides. Then I cut a piece of sheet metal to slide into the groove. In the front I made the board stop at the top of the groove height then put another piece below where the metal slides in. This way I can set the box on top of a hive and slide the sheet metal out and drop the bees in to the hive with out them flying around. On the top of the box I put a frame with window screen about 1 inch down then weather stripping around the edges. I cut a piece of lexan to fit snuggly in the top. This seals the box but when you are done vacuuming you put the lexan off and the bees have plenty of ventilation. I glued a piece of pvc the size where my vacuum nozzle would fit snuggly over and put a wire mesh basket over that on the inside of the box. On the other end of the box I cut a hole that another vacuum hose fits snuggly in. This is the hose that vacuums up the bees. I also put a sliding door there so when I pull the hose out it drops in place to keep the bees in. I drilled another one inch hole on the side of the box and stapled screen over the inside. then I put a piece of wood with a screw thru it so I can adjust the opening to regulate the vacuum.
I put straps on it to make it easier to carry. just before we put the bottom on we wad up a bunch of paper towels and put them in the box. this gives the bees a little padding when they land, absorbs moisture and give the bees places to hold on.
When we get back to the apiary I use the blower side of another vac and use it to blow the bees down into their new hive. We usually set an empty box on top of the hive with frames. We find that most of the bees go right into the frames but maybe 20% stay in the box for a couple of hours. After they have settled down I pull off the empty box and remove the paper towels.
 

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Thanks for the detailed bee vac instructions. I have not yet had the time to build the vac box and I"m glad for your input. I really like the paper towel idea. I am doing some woodworking today so maybe I will have time to get cracking on this. I am pretty sure that queen is a goner and I agree with you that I should have left the queen cells intact. My first cutout was a serious learning curve so I appreciate the feedback as well. When I finish and test the vac box, I will contact all my local exterminators and try to subcontract some more cutout work in the future because I really enjoyed the experience.
 
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