EVERY Beekeeper needs a bee vacuum! I think this is the best one!
It's full functionality serves beekeepers well for
swarm removals and bee extractions.
1. It is simple. There are not many moving parts and the setup is not complicated.
2. It is cheap to make. As you will see, the use of some 1"x6" boards, some leftover window screen and some spare plexi-glass was pretty much all I needed.
3. It harvests the bees right into their eventual home. No messy hive transfers after arriving back from an extraction. After removing the top insert, the ventilation for the bees are adequate until you come back to your apiary to remove the top and bottom housings (replace with a top cover and a bottom screened board).
1. Bee Vacuum bottom housing.
This is where the bees will enter the bee vac.
They will walk up the ramp and move into the 2 stacked medium supers filled with frames.
2. Two Medium Supers
These two are stacked on top of the bottom housing.
These two boxes filled with frames will serve as the extracted (or swarmed) bees' new home.
If these two medium supers are too small for a large swarm or extraction, it is easy add another super or a change one medium super out for a deep hive body.
Since I like to let the bees build their own comb (without foundation), I insert a starter strip of foundation to help them get started.
There is no need to move them again!
Just let them get to work.
Often, by the time I've arrived back from an extraction, they have begun building their new home!
3. Top Housing
This section consists of...
A. 6HP Modified Shop Vac.
B. A top insert that is removable so that the bees have adequate ventilation during transport (& if necessary in your apiary for a short period of time).
C. A Vacuum pressure adjustment hole so that you can control how much suction you use when sucking up the bees (you want a gentle suction so as to avoid killing them).
D. Fiberglass/wire window screen to keep the bees from being sucked into the shop vac.
E. A strap to hold the two supers firmly between the top and bottom housing (you want to avoid gaps for bees to escape).
Without the hose and strap, here is what it looks like with the two medium supers sandwiched between the upper and lower housings.
The hose consists of THREE 8-foot lengths joined together. The 24'
length should be sufficient for most swarm and extraction projects.
If you don't want to build your own...
Here is a great resource. This website influenced
my decision on which bee vac to make.
They make both 10-frame and 8-frame models. Due to their popularity, they need to be back ordered from time to time. CHECK IT OUT!
Bee removals are extremely rewarding.
Not only is the beekeeper providing a service to the resident, but he/she is also saving bees and building up their apiary. An added benefit is the genetic diversity gained through the introduction of potential feral colonies.
Here are some of my recent adventures...