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Author Topic: Vacuum of death  (Read 6555 times)
ArmucheeBee
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« on: September 22, 2008, 08:30:38 AM »

I have heard you guys and girls talking about using a vacuum before so I tried this weekend.  This was my 4th removal.  It was tough because of so many bees in a tight joist void and then they went back over a brick wall--plus they were HOT.  So I used an old shop vac.  I was excited to get so many bees and so much honey but when I got home 98% had been killed by the 90 degree angle where the hose entered the can.  I almost cried.  It was just a can full of 10,000's of dead bees covered in gore!  So not to have this happen again this weekend at another removal, what kind of vac do you guys use that does not have to be mail ordered!  I assume it's one that does not have a 90 degree bend, but what about a varible speed.  My vac sucked, I mean really sucked.  Still learning.  This would have been my 3rd hive at house, I hope I can salvage something since I got a nice frame of brood, but only one.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2008, 08:41:21 AM »

Any vac should work,  You just need a by-pass port to regulate the suction.

http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/bee-vac/
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Bill W.
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2008, 09:16:29 AM »

Things I have learned about vacuuming bees:

* The farther you can separate the entrance of the container from whatever surface the bees hit when they enter it, the better.

* Padding the surface the bees hit seems to help some.

* Keeping the hose as straight as possible helps a lot.

* Switching to a smooth hose helps a bit.

But the most important two things are:

* Operate the vacuum only for short periods of time.  I try to keep it under 10 seconds.  I retrofitted my vac with a momentary on/off switch on an extension wire run along the hose, so I can just press with my thumb to vacuum.  This helped a lot.

* Keep the number of bees in your container no more than 25% of the volume of the container (although the specific percentage almost certainly varies with the size and shape of container).  Once I get past that point, I start seeing bees with ruptured abdomens.

I killed almost all the bees the first few times I used the vacuum, but I'd say deaths are down under 5% now.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2008, 10:12:25 AM »

Sounds like you just used a plain old regular vacuum?

You need a specially created "bee vacuum".  There is a type of cage that will hold the bees, and the "bee vacuum" is connected to a regular vacuum of some sort.  The "bee vacuum" regulates the suck of the vacuum, as JP mentioned, and also creates an area of soft landing so that the bees aren't pulverized upon entry.

Check out his pics for the details!
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2008, 10:23:52 AM »

Stephen, oh that must have made you so sad.  I really do feel badly for you, I can imagine how you must have felt. 

I have felt the same way when I have unintentionally killed bees, like when one colony starved.  Oh dear.  Well, yes there are so many thoughts here on the forum that will help you to safely vacuum out bees.  I think the biggest thing would be the light amount of suction, regulated suction.  It would not take much suction to remove bees, and the safe landing inside the container I would think would be very beneficial too.  Good luck with the next bee vacuum.  Have that wonderful and awesome day, Cindi
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2008, 11:03:47 PM »

Important things to consider, adjustable suction via regulator, ventilation, ventilation, ventilation, did I say ventilation? Don't overcrowd them. I use it as a tool but not to get every last bee vacuumed up, use it when dealing with aggressive bees or lots of bees getting enough out of the way so things are manageable and that you can see what you're doing.

If there aren't a ton of bees I keep them on the combs and transfer them just like that, and you don't stress the nurse bees then.

Once everything has been transferred you can vacuum away.


...JP
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2008, 08:21:43 AM »

Thanks Robo

Now another building project, yard work will have to wait.   I wonder if a leaf blower mounted on top would work.  I found out that the bees hate the noise of the shop vac and go after the motor.  They were attacking the motor and getting sucked into that vent and causing some "lightening"!!!  Thanks for the site direction.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2008, 08:31:38 AM »

I wonder if a leaf blower mounted on top would work. 

For what it is worth,  mine is from a Dirt Devil combo vac/leaf blower.
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Moonshae
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2008, 01:46:24 PM »

It took some tweaking, but I finally got my shop vac working without killing the bees. I screened over the drain hole at the bottom, rather than keeping it sealed, and I taped some big-cell bubble wrap to the surface that the bees hit when they come in from the tube. I also reduce the exhaust hole by about 3/4 with duct tape. I'm not using a smooth tube; the stuff I found that was smooth was super heavy and not at all manageable.

Buy extra tubing, too, so the vac is far from the hive. Mine came with a 7' tube, and I bought two more. I usually only use two, but if I need the extra reach, I add the third.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2008, 08:17:13 PM »

When bees get overheated they regurgitate the honey in their stomachs.  This is a large part of the problem with bee vacs.  The other is too strong of a vacuum and too sudden of a stop at the end.  People do things to mitigate these things, but all in all I don't find a vacuum necessary, so I prefer not to use them because of the losses from these causes.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesferal.htm#beevacuum
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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2008, 12:32:59 AM »

I used a modified shop vac at first but it could be touchy setup at times, I built one like the plans on beesourse, best vac and the most adjustment on can have. heres the plans

http://www.beesource.com/plans/beevac/index.htm
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2008, 11:57:05 PM »

I use a modified shop vac - from TwT's guidelines in a May 8, 2005 post "Bee vac = Shop Vac". 
*I put a towel around the motor/filter below the lid and secure it with zip ties.
* I stick a sponge in the out/blow hole
*put 3 's' hooks (from black rubber bungees) around the perimeter- between tub & lid - cuts the suction
GO SLOW and shake the bees down the tube.  When done, remove the sponge from the blow hole and put in the hose opening.  A smooth (clear!) hose would be an upgrade. 
  Get bees out ASAP.   Good luck - Gena   cheesy
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BMAC
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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2008, 11:42:04 AM »

I also modified a shop vac.  It seems to work fine. 

I dont much worry about finding the queen, usually I dont have time.  So after a cutout I will just shake all the bees in the vac in front of a weaker colony and let them climb in and strengthen that colony. 
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2008, 02:44:44 PM »

What if you had the queen in those you shake out?  and what about fighting between the colonies?  I thought that was the reason for newspaper combines--fighting.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2008, 04:32:59 PM »

What if you had the queen in those you shake out?  and what about fighting between the colonies?  I thought that was the reason for newspaper combines--fighting.

I would think the hive queen comes out on top the majority of the time. The drawback to this method is you loose any  feral traits, which is what most of us are after.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2008, 09:23:50 PM »

Why don't you put them in an empty box with frames and in a few days come back and more easily look for the queen on the frames?  Of course if you are doing this for a living you may not have the time, but in my case that is what I have done each of the 4 times I captured some.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2008, 08:07:29 AM »

What if you had the queen in those you shake out?  and what about fighting between the colonies?  I thought that was the reason for newspaper combines--fighting.

I would think the hive queen comes out on top the majority of the time. The drawback to this method is you loose any  feral traits, which is what most of us are after.

You are right ROBO.  Though I am usually not worried much of the feral traits in the more urban areas when I pull out bees.  I figure these are from small beeks...  When I pull them from trees and such way out in the country and the size of the colony is worth messing with, I will take much much more time in cutting out brood and such.  Then I rubber band that brood into empty frames and allow them to settle into their new home.  Most of the cutouts I do are small and in the city.  So I just dump them in front of the weaker hives and let the ladies (meaning queens) fight it to the death.....  I believe the resident queen will have many a worker on her side......
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« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2008, 08:08:44 AM »

Why don't you put them in an empty box with frames and in a few days come back and more easily look for the queen on the frames?  Of course if you are doing this for a living you may not have the time, but in my case that is what I have done each of the 4 times I captured some.

Im not doing it for a living yet, but well on my way.  So many times I personally dont have a great deal of time to do that after my regular work and trying to work bees.
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sean
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« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2008, 12:17:22 PM »

I do quite a few removals but i use an ordinary car vacuum with no modifications. The only tricky part is emptying it into the 50lb rice bags that i usually carry around. The only time i have had dead bees was when i inadvertently left them in the vacuum one day and the heat (i assume) killed them
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JordanM
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« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2008, 01:03:17 PM »

Has anyone made a vacume that you connest right to a hive and suck and the bees end up in the hive instead of having to dump them right into the hive?
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