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  • Collected a Swarm with a Bee Vac

 #7240  by Japey Edge
 20 May 2020, 14:29
Hi everyone,

I received a call from a relative about the sky going black and bees clumping on their next door neighbour's bush. I got everything ready and loaded the car with all my kit as well as the bee vac I made last week, and a 6 frame nuc. This gave me options to think about on the journey there.

The collection went really well. Using a bee vacuum is a bit time-consuming but you're not shaking them about and sending them into the air.

They're in a shady part of the apiary now. I'll take my spare Abelo poly down and dump them in after I spray them with some water.

I'll post pictures up later and document this as much as I can. The idea is to make this thread useful to someone in the future. Please feel free to chip in with any pointers or comments - such as timings, treatment, how to keep them from absconding etc.
 #7242  by NigelP
 20 May 2020, 16:30
Use the queen excluder part of Maismore disc entrance....but check it isn't one of the old ones which was the wrong size and also excluded worker bees.
Be interested in some pictures of your bee vac....I need to make something similar.
 #7245  by Japey Edge
 20 May 2020, 23:11
They're in a full size Abelo (my last spare) and entrance is closed. Inspection tray is out.

I've had to read my thread from July last year to see what I did then! I need to get a QE under that brood box and open up the entrance by the looks of it :roll: will try to get up early so it causes minimal disruption.

Already stuck a feed on top :oops: :x might block it off so they use what they have first..

The things we forget!

Photos coming tomorrow. Was a fun, tiring day. Did not find the queen
 #7256  by Japey Edge
 21 May 2020, 14:08
Ok so here goes:

This is the Bee Vac:


It's a really simple two-bucket system that you just link to a normal vacuum cleaner with hose to get suction. It has an adjustable throttle on the lid which worked a charm.

Now for the swarm:
Image Image

They don't look that big but they ended up filling a brood box.

We vacuumed them as gentle as possible - adjusting the throttle regularly. They were easier to get if approached from underneath rather than over the top. This took some time and the heat didn't help. There is no way I would consider speeding up though, I'd rather minimise the trauma for the bees - considering they are going into a vacuum which can't be massive fun for them.


A mid-way peek into the bee vac bucket.

Unfortunately we didn't take any photos of inside the bucket when we were finished. We couldn't really as the bees were covering the two large rectangular mesh panels as well as the throttle mesh panel on the lid. Sure we could have bashed the bucket against the ground to get the bees down but again the trauma to them is not worth the photo opportunity.

So when we returned to the apiary we set up a brand new Abelo poly (with propolis-varnished interior) and placed a large cardboard ramp up to the entrance.

We removed the ridiculously small entrance quite quickly. The bees covered this ramp and it took seconds before the march started. We did this in hope of spotting the queen walking in. We did not spot her. Eventually we got bored of waiting so helped them into the hive.
The hive was set up with 9 frames of foundation and two frames of drawn comb with syrup stores.


And now they sit with two other full size Abelo poly hives and two 6 frame nucs. They will most likely need requeening as I can imagine they will be similar to the swarm I collected last year - pleasant to collect then progressively more aggressive as time went on.
There is presently a queen excluder beneath the brood box.

I'm tempted next time to set up a floor, queen excluder, brood box filled with frames, queen excluder and empty super - then dump the bees in there and try to filter out the queen. If that works in practice and can be done gently I do not know.
 #7261  by Japey Edge
 21 May 2020, 17:32
Exactly that Patrick - just a fine mesh I had ordered a while back and got completely wrong for something else. Turned out to be handy just lying around :lol:
 #7271  by NigelP
 21 May 2020, 19:56
Cheers for those photos Jaz...way beyond my technical ability to produce, but really well thought out. Well done.
Yes agree...requeen ASAP....already exhibited a trait you don't want...swarmy.
 #7272  by Japey Edge
 21 May 2020, 21:33
Nigel I sent you a link to the bee vac instructions via pm.
I mention that here because pm's on this forum are extremely stealthy :lol:

It was great fun to make and only a couple of hours. I'd be surprised if Steve doesn't make an 11 frame bee vac now he's finished his nuc project!