Bees swarm. Not only do the bees themselves need to reproduce, the hives also reproduce. If there were only one hive throughout time, that wouldn’t bee very prudent. The queen bee mates with several drones from other hives at the beginning of her life. To multiply hives, the hive divides in two and half of it goes somewhere else. If handled correcly by the beekeeper, this is not a problem; you just get more hives. If handled correctly, as in my case, you end up with bees in the column of your porch
Now I need to get them out, which will involve opening the column and scooping the bees into a new hive.
One thing that Glen, the guy that taught the beekeeping class we took a couple months ago talked about was a contraption to enable vacuuming them into a hive box.
Here’s the idea, take the hose of a shop vac, cut it in half and somehow attach the hive box to the two halves. Since I rarely pass up an opportunity to build stuff, I made one of these utilizing an old dust collector that I’d indended to sell but never got around to.
Here is the part that the bees get sucked into. They go through the hole and then ricochet up into the hive. The ramp is dadoed into the box, as you can see from the cut in the second picture where I forgot to reverse the angle.
In addition to the dados, I also added support rails on the back side. The walls only 3/8 plywood, so the dadoes couldn’t be very deep.
Here’s the end that connects to the dust collector. The frame will have hardware cloth stapled to it to keep the bees from coming out the other end.
Here’s the finished product. Air gets sucked through the hose, up through the bottom of the hive box, and out the top through the mesh. It’s better to suck them from the bottom because the honeycomb frames have more space between them down there.
I added some masonite over the hardware cloth to keep the ends from frizzing.
One thing Glen wants to change in his one verion of this is to use a hose with smoother walls. Many of the bees don’t finish the trip alive. I’m thinking I’ll handle this differently by using larger hose. I only have a two foot section of shop vac pipe, which is fairly smooth. The air doesn’t travel as fast in the 4" hose due to he large cross sectional area.
2.25" diameter vs 4" diameter
3.97" squared vs 12.56" squared
a 3x difference in velocity once they’re in there.
One thing I’m thinking of doing is rigging up a way to reduce the suction further. Put a wye section on the collector hose with a blast gate. Haven’t done that yet. I think I have the parts for that laying around.