It is time to kick up our bee rescues to another level. We typically use a shop vac to suck up as many bees as we can. Sometimes it works out well, sometimes we end up with a canister of pulverized bees. I think the swirling action of most of those vacuums breaks the bees up eventually. Enter, the bee vacuum box.
This tool goes in-between the vacuum and the hose sucking up the bees. It catches them in a screened section that should hold them and prevent damage.
I started with an assembled medium super. It is a good size to hold bees, and I built a lot of them a while back. A thin scrap of plywood forms a sealed bottom of the box. I made a small frame out of 1×2 and stapled on some 1/8th inch metal screening. I used a lot of staples because I figured the force of thousands of bees pushing on the screen could be high.
I wanted to be able to see how many bees we had and how healthy they were. A piece of clear acrylic sheeting across the top will be strong and allow viewing.
I used a 2-1/2″ dust collection gate on the front entrance. This should accept a standard shop vacuum hose, and can be shut once full to keep the bees from escaping. I attached it with a lot of silicon caulking. A standard port was screwed to the other end. This side will go towards the vacuum. It doesn’t need to be shut because the screen will keep the bees from getting out this way.
Once you have the bees captured you will need to let them out in their new hive. I used more thin plywood to make a small trap door. Tape will keep it from popping open in transport. Once at the hive, you can just pull the tape off and let it open as you put the vacuum box down on top of the hive. You could even completely seal the hive entrance with this method and leave the vacuum box on top for a day or two. This will encourage them to stay and setup shop before opening the hive entrance.
All of this sounds great in theory, but has yet to be put to practice. There is supposedly a tree that needs some bees removed from it, so we might be able to put this to the test soon.