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Cut out at my bosses house


Well I just did a cut out at my bosses house. I can’t say it was enjoyable. I got stung 2 times through my “sting proof” suit. One on the inside of my elbow through the suit and the second on my cheek when the mesh pressed on my face haha.
But the comb in out of the cavity it was in and is held in the frames in my hive. And the hive is right up against the old entry and I hopping the bees will move across to their comb.


I needed a bee vac. I couldn’t get the bees out of the cavity so didn’t get any chances to cage the queen.


Why do you cage the queen?


If you get a chance to cage the queen in the new hive allegedly the workers will just follow their queen into the new hive.


I saw the palms in the background and thought you might have been close, but no. There is a lot of Queensland between us. I built myself a bee vac a year ago. It does make the difference between having a good chance to catch the queen and a random chance.


How did you build your bee vac? That might be the job for tomorrow. I just went and checked on them most of the bees are balled up in the house cavity still only a few in the hive.


I will try and remember to take some pics tomorrow. I needed to operate on low voltage because of the location so I’ve used little Chinese 12V blower motors to draw the air out of the device. The whole thing is about the size of a guitar but deeper.


Here’s one I built, it’s easy on the bees and I get no losses when sucking them up. I use it on my mean hive when doing inspections, by sucking up half the bees, it becomes easier to work them.



Ah I see
I thought it might be to keep her safe while you manipulate the frames into the new box


Here are the pics of my bee vac.

I have it standing on end for the pic but normally it would lie flat. The white tape looking stuff are strips of stick on draft excluders. A bee box sits on the tape and is hopefully sealed in. Whatever is used for a lid to the bee box must be sealed as well. I sized the bee vac to take either 5 frame nucs or 8 frame hive bodies.

The screen is not particularly clear in this pic but the hammer is leaning on it. Behind the screen is a baffle board designed to spread the airflow evenly through the screen. Seems to work OK. Both the screen and the baffle are set at an angle to even out the airflow.

The side view gives an idea of the shape. The whole thing was bodgied out of bits of ply and scraps of softwood. I wanted to make the vac as light as possible.

This is the vacuum tube end of the bee vac. I had trouble with bees making their way back into the clear vacuum tube after I had switched off the thing. I made up this light trap so I could run the vacuum through it and then turn it off. With no light at the end of their tunnel, bees were less inclined to wander out of their box.

Here’s the view into the vac from the open vacuum tube end. You can get an idea of the slope of the screen. It goes from full depth at this end to nothing at the other.

This is the motor end of the vac. I designed it for two air pump style motors but these were unsatisfactory. They use brush type motors designed for intermittent use and not really efficient enough for this application. I’ve bought some little Chinese 12V brushless blowers and am in the process of installing them. I use an 18V lithium power drill battery and on the right of the pic you can see the connector I bodgied up. The battery works fine. To start with, I ran the power through some ss wire to drop the voltage to 12.

It works OK but I bought a device called a “buck converter” to replace it. Only costs a few $$ and it makes much more efficient use of the energy in the battery. I have yet to install it and the additional, efficient blowers.

As you can see my bee vac is a work in process but I’m very slowly getting there.


If you place a frame of brood (especially a frame containing some very young larvae) next to the cluster of bees, it doesn’t even need to be standing upright. It wont take long for that frame of brood to get covered in bees. After an hour or so, you’ll most likely find the queen on that frame of brood. If you find the queen on the frame, place the frame in the box & put the lid on quick. After that, all the bees will go into the box… If you don’t see the queen on the frame because there are too many bees on the frame, just put it in the box. You’ll soon know if the queen is on there or not.


Hiya Jeff, if using a brood frame from another box as you mention above, how long can the frame be bee less before the brood dies? How do you transport the frame if the capture is away from home?


Hi Greg, I get away with an hour. I’m always aware of the brood possibly getting chilled. It depends on the outside temp as to whether I worry about how much I protect the brood & try to keep it warm. Keeping it in the nuc box flanked with other frames with the lid on will protect it from the wind.

If the frame of brood works & it makes catching a colony of bees easy, it would be still worth the effort of cutting the comb out & fixing fresh foundation at a later date, should the brood get chilled & finish up with chalk brood.

PS. I think of a frame of brood containing very young larvae as being similar to someone delivering a young unwanted baby to a hospital doorstep.


Wrapping the comb in a wet towel will keep the humidity up so that larvae and eggs don’t dry out. Capped brood is OK with little protection