Bee Sucker. The Build!!
Hey everyone, recently I tried to remove a swarm during the day and with smoke. BAD IDEA, never before have I seen bees going that mad. If I didnt have a bee suit on I was a dead man. Much was learnt from that lesson.
For some time now I have been wanting to get a 'bee vacuum cleaner' It really should not be called a 'cleaner' as it does not clean bees, but suck them up from a feral hive to be re-housed in ours. None the less if you can think of a better name for it do let me know. Bee Sucker it will be called for now.
I recently posted a video of it in operation here https://steemit.com/dlive/@craigcryptoking/fb19f011-b985-11e8-8f16-0242ac110003
The top box goes inside the bottom box. The idea is that top box serves as as airtight lock to be able to pull air through the bottom box which houses the bees!
Now these units are really expensive R6000 $500 at that. So I decided well, I am sure I can make that, and so I did ;)
I made two boxes from ply wood one larger than the other. I then cut a hole in the side of the smaller box which will be the air exit point, I then closed this rectangular hole with shade-cloth. The bees are pulled in through the vacuum cleaner pipe totally bypassing the vacuum cleaner/blades etc successfully and gently housing the bees, to be moved to a hive later.
Many standard vacuum cleaners come with different motor sizes and performance technicals. In order not to pull too hard or weak one needs to make a 'choke' to regulate airflow and this is how I did it. A simple round hole in the side of the bigger box fastened with an easy release wing bolt, to adjust air flow and pressure.
This was the smaller inner box, I attached shade cloth against the back and fastened it to the ply wood with cleats and screws, it worked out perfectly. This serves a few purposes namely a 'landing pad' for when the bees enter this chamber as well as ventilation this box nicely for the bees which sit in here for an hour odd before we re-hive them. We made two of these inner boxes in the event that we need to remove two swarms at once.
I was initially worried about the 'vortex' the bees may experience with the wind passing through this box, because it has such a big exit via the shade cloth this is not the case at all which works out just perfectly for the bees.
Here I have the choke closed in the outer box. We made an exact same 'choke' on the inner box this however had a totally different use case. The choke in the inner box is used as a trap door, when the unit is in operation we put a pipe through the door which sucks out the bees. When the bees are in the box simply remove the vacuum pipe close the trap door keeping the bees safely inside for easy removal later!
I used two pieces of perspex one on each box, as lids fastened down with wingnuts to be easily put on and removed. The idea with the perspex was for visibility to see how the bees are doing where they are etc, this also works out really well. A very large swarm would more than likely be sucked into two boxes with these 'sight windows' we are able to see exactly where we stand!
This unit below is the bigger vacuum box with the choke closed.
These two very similar to the bigger box just that trap door/window with the wingnut is not a choke but a trap door to insert the suction pipe through when in operation and close off the bees once the job is done.
What I have learnt from this unit is, bees never need to be smoked when this unit is used and at night. Bees are scared of the noise it makes so go into the automatic 'flight' mode. They are also very passive at night which makes for easier feral swarm removal. I would not use this unit during the day and if you do decide to make one always smoke the bees in the day.
Bee-keeping and working with the bees I find is generally ALWAYS better at night as all the bees are in their hives and very passive. If you plan to do a day feral swarm removal because half of the bees are out and foraging you would end up losing half your swarm.
An easier way to remove feral swarms and nests of bees does not exist, this really is the answer and works exceptionally fast, efficiently and very low stress and turnaround time for the bees to be nicely settled into their new home!
Do ask any questions regarding this epic 'Bee Sucker' below!
Be sure to stay tuned for more of my epic bee-keeping adventures.
Have a super week.